dan wrote:The ridge top is not very wide. It's more like a spine if that makes sense. It is narrow and sloped off into the holler pretty sharply so I would be pretty close to the drop off... Also, same question I asked above. I don't know if I found the buck's bed or not and I do not know if I would know it if I walked right through it. Dan, why do think he was bedding close to the camera? Was it because he entered the field right at dusk?
You did not find the buck bed... You found a doe bedding area. Does bed differently than mature bucks, does tend to leave themselves more vulnerable however work as a group by bedding in a circyular fasion each looking a different direction. A mature buck will be in a location that covers most avenues of attack, where he will feel safe. The will bed based on wind direction, noise, or vision, and most often use multiples ( wind & vision etc. )
I believe the buck was bedded near where you were getting his pictures for two main reasons. 1st, they don't often move far from there beds in daylight unless they are where they feel safe which is generally within 200 yards of there bed. Seeing him in daylight on cam once or twice would be one thing, but often means your either close to his bedding or the buck is not very inteligent. 2nd, I believe he was bedded near your camera because the don't tend to bed low in the type of terrain your hunting. They bed in the top 1/3 of the hill. Generally there bed will be along the transition line right where the hill drops off the sharpest. If there is a point most likely the bed will be on the point...
With the buck bedding that close I would think your best time to kill him would of been morning. You said he was not consistant in the morning but there is a reason for that... Most mature bucks are bedded before daylight. The days that have the right moon phase for a morning hunt are the days the buck comes back to bed after sunrise. ( when the moon is directly above or below ) Or even better, the morning after an evening storm lasted till late at night and the buck got a late start on his routine.
I went back and looked at my pics. The mornings he was passing the camera in the morning during shooting light there was a Third Quarter moon. He was heading west. He crossed at 2:50 in the afternoon on the 29th and there was visible sideways rain on the camera on the night of the 28th that lasted until at least 4:00 on the morning of the 29th. I was amazed at finding that out after you said he would be travelling later if there was a storm the night before. I hadn't even thought of that. He then came out 4 1/2 hours later, heading east, at 7:24 pm on the 29th. So he is bedding for sure to the west/southwest of the camera I would think. My plan (thanks JRM6868 for the advice) would be to hunt close to the field edge (where I had the cam) along the ridge on the north side of his travel route when the first south/southwest wind presented itself. My only concern is entering the stand set. I would think it unwise to travel the left side of the field edge. On the aerial map you can see the barn where I park just to the north of the field. I think entering the woods to the left of the barn and walking straight down through the woods kinda parallel to the field would work? Climbing the hill where my stand would be set from the north side. I don't however know yet it the buck travels the north side of the ridge, the south side of the ridge or the top of the ridge itself. I guess I need to find that out before I make an intelligent plan but that's what I have so far... you guys, all of you are helping me more than you could know. If I only see this buck it will be because of what I have read so far. Many, many thanks.