Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

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AB_Vinny
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Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby AB_Vinny » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:51 am

I did some scouting for beds this season since I wasn't hunting and I plan on doing more scouting in May when the snow starts melting but isn't totally gone yet.

However my season starts September 1st for archery. Will many of the beds be cold until a certain time or should they be in these beds I discovered (in November and May) right when season opens?

I thought I read another thread on here once where a guy spring-scouted beds but the bucks never moved in until mid-season.


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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby dan » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:50 am

Some types of beds, and some bedding areas will only be used at certain times of the year, or certain years, others will get used all year.
If your finding beds "after" snow melt and they are worn beds, the sign was preserved by the snow, and your looking at a bed from before the snow...
There are other clues too... Some beds are set up just for a certain food source, if that food is not in, they ain't bedding there. There are "pressure beds" that get used more when deer receive heavy pressure. On some beds you will notice in winter without leaves, or with vegetation knocked down that the buck has to be bedding there early season... The very best bedding areas you will find are the primary bedding areas. Places where big bucks bed all year. There are usually multiple beds in these areas and the area will offer secure bedding all year long. Sometimes these are easiest to find by tracking in the snow...
You can expect to mis-read some beds, after all these years, I know I still misinterpret things. But, the more you do it, the better you will get. The real key to success is opening your mind and trying to notice the little things around you. The biggest mistake I see most hunters make when scouting is looking over an area way to fast. Take your time, and really think about why the buck would want to bed there, what wind direction would be preferred by the buck, which way is he facing, where is he coming from, and going to as he uses this spot, and how can you get close enough to kill him.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:08 pm

Excellent reply, Dan.

One of the beds I am preparing to hunt is a "pressure" bed. I found it this past spring and it was obviously a buck bedding area on a micro-island in a swamp. Without any previous experience hunting the spot I did not know when the buck(s) would begin using it. This is public land in a heavily hunted area. With heavy bowhunting pressure and leaf drop by the end of October, I really thought the bedding area would become active. By monitoring tracks and buck sign at funnel areas near the bedding island, I was surprised that it didn't appear to be used. I rotated to other hunting areas and this spot went on to the back burner. Last week I rotated through that area once again and was pleased to find oversized tracks on both of the primary exits coming from that island. I believe the pressure from our gun season finally forced a buck into the bedding area and he likely won't leave anytime soon. Our muzzleloader season opens Friday and the buck has a lot of good reasons to continue to bed there... security, nearby browse to hold him over until after dark, etc. Next year I will have this information ahead of time, but will monitor the area earlier in the season here and there in case pressure kicks a buck back there again. Spots like this are tough, and the bucks cannot be shined- figuring out when they use the bed is the key. If it isn't a primary bed good woodsmanship will be very important.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby AB_Vinny » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:50 am

Good posts guys. That makes a lot of sense as to determining a beds time of use. Below I bulleted a few more questions about beds:

  • Will September & October beds be void of leaves & vegetation?
  • Will a bed that is in the snow, but has leaves under be a bed only used during that time of year (i.e. November)?
  • If there are two beds pretty much touching does that mean the buck just shifted to lay on another side?
  • If I see doe & fawn tracks leading to a large bed that holds 2-3 deer within a small area (5ydsX5yds) but there is buck sign there such as rubs, could it be a buck bed that just has other deer passing through?
  • If one finds multiple beds along a bench just a few feet apart (side by side, not in a circle) and one of them has buck sign, could this be a buck just shifting around in different beds?

I have encountered many beds with buck sign but several near-by beds and that always confuses me as to what is going on.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby phade » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:05 am

dan wrote:Some types of beds, and some bedding areas will only be used at certain times of the year, or certain years, others will get used all year.
If your finding beds "after" snow melt and they are worn beds, the sign was preserved by the snow, and your looking at a bed from before the snow...
There are other clues too... Some beds are set up just for a certain food source, if that food is not in, they ain't bedding there. There are "pressure beds" that get used more when deer receive heavy pressure. On some beds you will notice in winter without leaves, or with vegetation knocked down that the buck has to be bedding there early season... The very best bedding areas you will find are the primary bedding areas. Places where big bucks bed all year. There are usually multiple beds in these areas and the area will offer secure bedding all year long. Sometimes these are easiest to find by tracking in the snow...
You can expect to mis-read some beds, after all these years, I know I still misinterpret things. But, the more you do it, the better you will get. The real key to success is opening your mind and trying to notice the little things around you. The biggest mistake I see most hunters make when scouting is looking over an area way to fast. Take your time, and really think about why the buck would want to bed there, what wind direction would be preferred by the buck, which way is he facing, where is he coming from, and going to as he uses this spot, and how can you get close enough to kill him.


Can you share some examples of mis-reads?

Was it more along the lines of movement related to the bed, or the bed itself?
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby Stanley » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:53 am

Great learning thread. To the top for more visibility.
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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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby dan » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:36 am

Will September & October beds be void of leaves & vegetation?

If I understand correctly, your asking if a bed scouted in winter that was used in fall will be void of vegetation? That would depend on the amount of use.


Will a bed that is in the snow, but has leaves under be a bed only used during that time of year (i.e. November)?
Maybe, maybe not..


If there are two beds pretty much touching does that mean the buck just shifted to lay on another side?
Maybe, could also be two does... Does bed in groups. Doe beds usually from a circle each looking a different direction. Bucks always look whichever way they need to, to stay safe personally, not as a group. Usually they face down wind.


If I see doe & fawn tracks leading to a large bed that holds 2-3 deer within a small area (5ydsX5yds) but there is buck sign there such as rubs, could it be a buck bed that just has other deer passing through?

Hard to say without looking at it. It could be a buck bed, but it also could be a doe bed, and a buck marked it during the rut. If the rub is right in the bed, most of the time it is a buck bed.


If one finds multiple beds along a bench just a few feet apart (side by side, not in a circle) and one of them has buck sign, could this be a buck just shifting around in different beds?

Probably bucks... Keep in mind though, that sometimes does use buck bedding areas too.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby dan » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:40 am

Can you share some examples of mis-reads?

Was it more along the lines of movement related to the bed, or the bed itself?

Most of my "mis-reads" come from timing. Seeing clues that lead me to believe a bed is used at a certain time frame, and actually it is used a different time frame. Like say I think its used early season and actually it picks up in rut.
Or you think a bed is related to a certain food source, when actually its not.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby backstraps » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:24 am

Excellent thread so far. Back to top for more discussions/views 

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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby adrenalin » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:57 am

Do you guys see bachelor bucks bedding together during the summer or beginning of September? If so how do they disperse to there own private bedding areas and when? I ask because I have found beds in September that are freshly occupied, Im basing this off of the way the bed looks. Fresh rubs and dead grass in them meaning the grass grew all summer but is dead now from a deer spending time in it. Just wondering if it is more likely a food source change or bachelors dispersing??

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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:25 pm

adrenalin wrote:Do you guys see bachelor bucks bedding together during the summer or beginning of September? If so how do they disperse to there own private bedding areas and when? I ask because I have found beds in September that are freshly occupied, Im basing this off of the way the bed looks. Fresh rubs and dead grass in them meaning the grass grew all summer but is dead now from a deer spending time in it. Just wondering if it is more likely a food source change or bachelors dispersing??

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In the areas I hunt, either scenario is a distinct possibility. Oaks dropping acorns in my big woods areas can get a shift in early September bedding to be near them. I also most often find the bachelor groupings of bucks in my big woods areas splitting up and bedding in different areas, with some velvet rub-outs and the bucks being less tolerant of each other in early September. It isn't uncommon for one of the bigger bucks to have a sentry- a younger and smaller buck bedding out around him during that same time frame in my areas.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby AB_Vinny » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:45 am

Here is another couple of questions:

1) On what occasions will bucks bed on non-leeward sides of slopes (as some slopes are gnarly enough to provide shelter from wind in all directions but they would lose the advantage of winding the field above)?
2) Wind directions are not consistantly one direction throughout the day. I find they change considerably some days 180 to 270 degrees. What would be the hunting strategy here, hunt whatever slope is leeward at the time you are going to hunt? (as I heard Dan say when they relocate they don't move very far so this could be difficult)
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby dan » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:23 am

1) On what occasions will bucks bed on non-leeward sides of slopes (as some slopes are gnarly enough to provide shelter from wind in all directions but they would lose the advantage of winding the field above)?

When he has other advantages such as sight and / or sound.


2) Wind directions are not consistantly one direction throughout the day. I find they change considerably some days 180 to 270 degrees. What would be the hunting strategy here, hunt whatever slope is leeward at the time you are going to hunt? (as I heard Dan say when they relocate they don't move very far so this could be difficult)

If your hunting rut, hunt leeward side. Outside of rut, try to cut off where he is going towards.
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Re: Time of Year to Hunt Scouted Beds?

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:11 am

Bump. Some great info here!
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