Staging Area Discussion

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backstraps
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Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:44 pm

When you guys read topo maps, and determine your heaviest areas on the maps for potential buck bedding...are there particular topography you search around the bedding areas, that you may consider as potential staging areas?

I know that question is somewhat vague, but I dont know how to ask what I am thinking.

EX: Big woods hunting
You determined your bedding areas you want to hunt. Given the fact there are no fields around, just acres and acres of woods, what would you look for as a staging area?


Next thing I have been thinking about, in FARMLAND

When you put the boots on the hunting ground and your scouting begins, how do you determine an area is a staging area and not an area of night beds.

I know of an area that isnt 55 yards from fields that deer feed in. This area has 50 rubs per year put in it.
This area is also somewhat totally protected from humans coming in undetected! There are beds in this area, but the elevation isnt as taught via BEAST method, and as far as wind direction....I dont understand the beds at all. The wind constantly changes and swirls often there?!?!?!


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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:31 pm

backstraps wrote:
EX: Big woods hunting
You determined your bedding areas you want to hunt. Given the fact there are no fields around, just acres and acres of woods, what would you look for as a staging area?


Staging areas in the big woods have many things in common with staging areas in other environments- normally they are on the outer edge of what the buck was able to see / smell / hear while in the bedding area. He really doesn't know what is going on outside of that zone, and often will hesitate to go outside of it until dark. We all know there are conditions that will move a buck farther, but recognizing a staging area can be quite important.

From the bed itself, do your best to determine where the outer edge of that "safe zone" for the buck would be. He will likely move toward that edge near dark, whether it be toward a food source or does. Knowing "when" a buck is in the bed is very important- is it the lull, or the late pre-rut? When preseason scouting and locating this outer edge of the buck's "safe zone", or staging area there will often- but not always- be some buck sign at that location. It may be a rub or two, or a scrape for example. I set up to try and have a shot to this outer edge without tipping the buck off that I am there. Still having trouble locating the staging area? Tracks are available even in the absence of a rub or scrape. Try to put it all together.

Here is an example of a buck staging area in the big woods. The buck's bed is in the little pine stand to the center-left in the back of the photo. A transition line is at my back, where the super dense conifer swamp butts up against this marshy area. The buck has trouble hearing / seeing / and possibly even smelling much farther than where I am kneeling.

Image

Here are some rubs next to where I am kneeling, the buck likes to stage here:

Image

Big woods bucks like to bed and or stage near transition lines, just like this buck has done.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:01 pm

Very good info, thanks for the pics as well, they always seem to help me understand.

That helps me understand the transition line scouting as well. That actually helps me recall
a few spots like this. Recognizing the staging areas I feel are going to take some time for me
while in the woods.

:)

THANKS AGAIN!
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:40 am

looking forward to your reports this season, backstraps! 8-)
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby dan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:28 am

Don't expect a staging area or safe zone to glow... In a lot of cases, if not most, its not something you can physically see...
If you get in a bucks bed and look out at what he can see, think about what he can hear, and imagine what he can smell... The safe zone is the area the buck feels confidant that nothing unsafe will happen to him. Where if someone or something snuck in, he would know it...
The staging area is the area at the edge of the safe zone in the direction the buck travels where he don't want to go much farther till after dark.
My set ups are intended to "if at all possible" be outside of the safe zone and staging area border, but able to shoot them at the line.

Some people refer to field edges as "staging areas" and in some cases they might be, but in my opinion most mature deer stage within close distance to there bed most of the time...

There is not a magic line or a wall of rubs, its basically where the buck is leaving the area he feels safest in... Kind of like if you lived in the city and crime was rampant. You might feel safe in your yard, but down the alley 100 yards? You might not want to venture in the dark...
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby KLEMZ » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:06 am

At the scouting seminar with Dan the question about identifying staging areas was brought up more than once.
At one location he pointed out where the vegetation seemed more matted down yet wasn't the classic bedding area type cover...it was the staging area for that particular bedding area.
Another area, where he showed us where the stand tree was, he mentioned that the staging area is often at the first vegetation change as you leave the bedding area.
Dan can elaborate for sure, but those are two clues to staging areas that he taught us at the seminar.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:57 pm

Thanks for the replys guys.

Dan: Is your reply above talking about a chapter in one of your dvd's, where you used a red circle drawn around the buck bed...another red circle was drawn in the direction where you suspect the buck to travel, with the two red circles overlapping each others edge (like a figure 8).... is that correct?

Klemz: that is interesting points. So would I be correct assuming that the most of the time the staging area will be "close" to bedding...say within 50 yards or so? OR would that be dependant on the area the deer can cover inside his safety zone?
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:12 pm

I know from state to state, hunters may refer to hollors differently, ravines, valleys etc...

I think a staging area should more than likely the same throughout...however that isnt the case.

Where I hunt most people refer to a staging area as the spot on the edges of a field, etc where deer will hold up just until dusk to come out and feed.

Just goes to show, there is so much a hunter (especially like me) can learn :)
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby dan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:21 pm

B-STRAPS... I have not watched that video in a long time. I don't know what your talking about.
Staging should be, in my opinion, with mature bucks, within 50 to 200 yards from the bed. Depends on terrain, sight, etc... Just try and get as close as possible to the bed without spooking the buck, and don't worry about where the staging is... If your bucks are getting to you after dark, your to far back, if you hear a loud crashing noise and see a white flag bouncing away your to close... Its a game of inches.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:26 pm

dan wrote:B-STRAPS... I have not watched that video in a long time. I don't know what your talking about.
Staging should be, in my opinion, with mature bucks, within 50 to 200 yards from the bed. Depends on terrain, sight, etc... Just try and get as close as possible to the bed without spooking the buck, and don't worry about where the staging is... If your bucks are getting to you after dark, your to far back, [glow=red]if you hear a loud crashing noise and see a white flag bouncing away your to close[/glow]... Its a game of inches.



:D :lol: Thanks Dan...probably in the case of the highlighted above... the game of inches, would be a game of conclusion over that bedding area?
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby dan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:32 pm

If your getting close enough, every now and then your going to have that bad ending before your even ready to hunt... I can't teach "how close" only the deer can do that. Your going to make some mistakes. The key is when you do get to close, or you are to far, that you learn and adjust rather than repetitively see the same issues over and over.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby backstraps » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:34 pm

I understand. I am sure this season will come with many sad notes for me. I am hoping I can like you say learn from the errors, and get lucky enough to just send him to the next bedding area on my topo I have marked.

I know the best lessons I have learned throughout the years of hunting have been lessons of "hardknocks" Those seem to be the easiest to remember and not repeat.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:58 am

Trial and error, mistakes and missed opportunities are all a part of hunting. The successes are what keep us motivated...

If you mess up on an approach and blow the buck out, rest assured we have all been there. A few seasons back I was thrilled to see the tracks of a mature buck crossing a puny little creek en route to his bedding area that I had all scouted out the previous spring. I approached my stand tree and the bedding area was within sight, however I could not see the buck. It had rained that morning, so I took my time and had quiet footing all around. I carefully placed my sticks and stand and prepared to make my final climb into the stand. My left foot came to rest on the root of a large cedar, which ended up being like ice. My boot flew out to the side, and I did a five-step sideways shuffle into the dead branches of a windfall... making an ungodly amount of noise, as you can imagine. A King of the North jumped up from his bed, snorted once, and crashed off into deep swamp...

It's a bad feeling, but it happens.
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Re: Staging Area Discussion

Unread postby Stanley » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:32 pm

A staging area is an area where a buck can securely observe the activity in and around a feeding area before entering. The staging area size and exact location will vary, depending on terrain, cover and hunting pressure. It may be only a few yards wide or it may be 1/4 mile wide. The staging area may be right against the food source, or it may be a half—mile away from it. Staging areas seldom have definite boundaries and usually the staging area has thicker growth than the surrounding area.

A buck wants to be able to stand in the staging area and remain hidden while still being able to scent and / or sight- check the feeding area. Staging areas can be used as nighttime bedding areas where the deer can periodically return overnight to rest and chew their cuds. In the morning, as the deer head back to their bedding areas, they will often spend some time in the staging areas, usually arriving there just before first light.

Typically, a staging area has a lot of brush and small trees, but not so much as to severely limit visibility. Bucks want to be able to see out. The trees may be thick, there will be some moderate not heavy ground cover such as thick ferns or briars. Many of the staging areas I’ve found have young saplings and mature trees.

Look for these things in a staging area:

Cover: This is the most important part. The deer can stand still and remain virtually invisible while observing what is going on in and around the area they are approaching.

Food: Normally, as the deer mill about in the staging area, they will feed on available food sources such as mushrooms, acorns, leaves and other browse.

Rubbing trees: This, is a bi product in the staging area because of the buck activity there.


Pay attention to the deer trails. Often the trails from the feeding area to the bedding area will funnel down into the staging area, but within the area, individual trails may be difficult to find. This is because deer don't leave established trails in a staging area when moving around, leaving either faint trails or random trails.

It can be easy to confuse a staging area with a bedding area. At times, a staging area may serve as a daytime bedding area. Although often subtle, a bedding area is usually thicker, with more ground cover and is secluded by some feature of the topography.

A daytime bedding area will have deer in it during the daytime, whereas you’ll generally only see deer in a staging area in the evening, early morning, or over- night. A staging area is located between the feeding and bedding areas (this is key), often close to the edge of cover.

Normally an increase in buck activity will occur, in a staging area during the rut. The bucks can stand in the staging area and observe any activity in the feeding area. They can also intercept any does heading for the feeding area. As the rutting period begins, often you will see a flurry of sparring and rubbing activity in the area. A lot of the deer that live in the area pass through the staging area. Parallel trails often go through staging areas.

This pretty much sums up my findings in farm country over the years in relationship to staging areas.
You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.


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