Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

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Ridgerunner7
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Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Ridgerunner7 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:45 am

Do you guys prefer hunting saddles that are narrow (20-30 yards across with one defined trail on top) or something wider like 50-80 yards? The narrow tops seem like you'd have less deer sightings just due to decreased visability but perhaps more in bow range? What are your experiences?

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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Southern Man » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:57 am

The saddles I see more activity on seem to be the wider saddles. Now I don't hunt big hill country but smaller hills. Elevation changes are at the most 150'. Deer seem to use the points just as much as the narrower saddles but throw in a wide saddle and it almost seems like a hub of activity.

Where I hunt the wider saddles seem to be more associated with the "heads" of the drainages, whereas the narrower saddles are more of a cut somewhere along the drainage. That make sense?

I prefer the wider ones only because of the amount of use. Even though they are wider, the bulk of the sign and use is still in a specific area and I still consider it a pinch point.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Ridgerunner7 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:08 am

Southern Man wrote:The saddles I see more activity on seem to be the wider saddles. Now I don't hunt big hill country but smaller hills. Elevation changes are at the most 150'. Deer seem to use the points just as much as the narrower saddles but throw in a wide saddle and it almost seems like a hub of activity.

Where I hunt the wider saddles seem to be more associated with the "heads" of the drainages, whereas the narrower saddles are more of a cut somewhere along the drainage. That make sense?

I prefer the wider ones only because of the amount of use. Even though they are wider, the bulk of the sign and use is still in a specific area and I still consider it a pinch point.

Makes sense. So on these wider saddles do you just set up on the side that has more sign or would you set up on the down wind side? Another thing I'm struggling with is what if the lee side cruising trail is lower on the side hill then the actual saddle top? What's the best spot to cover the most with out getting busted by wind currents?
A spot I recently scouted had the cruising trail about 20' below the actual saddle top. I shoulda also mention there are huge elevation changes in this area.

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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby dan » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:31 am

Every situation is different, but I would tend to agree with S-man that all things equal wider seems better... As far as set ups go, I try to hit the best trails without crossing them.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Southern Man » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:58 am

Ridgerunner7 wrote:Makes sense. So on these wider saddles do you just set up on the side that has more sign or would you set up on the down wind side?


Depends on what the deer are doin. It seems I find most of the sign on the downwind side anyway. The wider saddles seem to be a "hub" of activity and seem to be used for different things. If during the rut (all things bein equal) I'd try to set up with the most visibility of all areas of the saddle playin the wind as best I can. I'd rather be as close to the top of the saddle because it will tend to funnel the wind through it. The farther you get down away from the saddle wind will swirl in my opinion. Also, I think the sign in the surrounding areas is just as important as the sign in the saddle itself. I've hunted one particular narrow saddle for the last few years without taking the time to scout the surrounding area to the north (on one side of the saddle). I dismissed a wide saddle to the north because of where it was located and thought I had the deer pegged on how they were moving through the area. Lesson learned.

I scouted the northern saddle and the surrounding area last Saturday. I found a good trail going thru the saddle connecting the drainages on either side. The downwind drainage had more sign and showed deer (and bucks) moving thru the drainage along the creek. Also, the ridgetops, leeward side, showed sign of deer (and bucks) moving along it too, comin down into the saddle. Plus, on the northeast ridge I found a buck bed maybe 300 yards away alongside the drainage with a scapeline (50-100 yards away from the saddle) on the ridgetop, coming towards the saddle and a staging area right on the edge of it. On the southeast side on a liitle rise were what I think were several doe beds. All of this sign was on the downwind side of the saddle (normal winds) but that may be due to where the saddle was located. Lots of stuff goin on there.
Where I'd set up would depend on what time of year it was and what the deer were doin. Obviously, anything I do there will have to consider that buck bed and the northeast ridge. Hunting that saddle with that buck bedding where he does would exclude most of the setups I'd make. He'd smell me before I had a chance at him. You gotta appreciate how sharp those critters are :mrgreen:
Without the buck bed, I think it would be simple to hunt. Downwind side of the saddle and downwind side of the drainage along the sign. But I'm no expert. As Dan said, each situation is different. Did I get off topic?

Ridgerunner7 wrote:
Another thing I'm struggling with is what if the lee side cruising trail is lower on the side hill then the actual saddle top? What's the best spot to cover the most with out getting busted by wind currents?


Milkweed. Watch what the wind is doin. I've also used smokebombs in the off season to see what the wind will do.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:39 pm

I have no real preference....the suroundings make the saddle, the connections the saddle makes are more important than the saddle its self.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby UntouchableNess » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:45 pm

Autumn Ninja wrote:I have no real preference....the suroundings make the saddle, the connections the saddle makes are more important than the saddle its self.

I had a pretty impressive trailcam series on a saddle that was in a valley a few years back, I should try to find that series.

That said, I'd rather hunt down along the stream that saddle dumped into. The saddle was only one of the "feeders" that the bucks took to the creek bottom.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby PK_ » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:29 pm

Autumn Ninja wrote:I have no real preference....the suroundings make the saddle, the connections the saddle makes are more important than the saddle its self.


I don't hunt saddles but for the types of funnels I do hunt, this is gospel.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby BigHills BuckHunter » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:47 pm

I have a good "wide" saddle to hunt on my land. I have sat on it only 4 times in prime time for cruising in different years. Never seen a buck there though. :think:

Maybe Im hunting it wrong?
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby keb » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:29 pm

What do you guys do in super steep terrian, I am planning on hunting some hill country, the loess hills region in Iowa and its steep in many spots, looking at topos there are very few saddles.

There are some deep cuts, but trying to think outside the box on the steeper stuff, any ideas.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby dan » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:33 am

keb wrote:What do you guys do in super steep terrian, I am planning on hunting some hill country, the loess hills region in Iowa and its steep in many spots, looking at topos there are very few saddles.

There are some deep cuts, but trying to think outside the box on the steeper stuff, any ideas.

Rut? Hunt leeward sides of steep ridges between bedding areas.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby keb » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:29 am

Yeah, Rut hunt, I have a few spots picked out, will be making a scouting/turkey hunt 2nd week in April.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:34 am

PalmettoKid wrote:
Autumn Ninja wrote:I have no real preference....the suroundings make the saddle, the connections the saddle makes are more important than the saddle its self.


I don't hunt saddles but for the types of funnels I do hunt, this is gospel.

Amen to that. With terrain, structure or cover funnels, the more tangible factors you have (like bedding, food, water,hubs, points and many more factors) the better it will be/produce.

A great saddle can be defined with one word "access". If a deer has no reason to travel from point "A" to point "B".....It want.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby blizzardhunter » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:35 am

I agree, not all saddles are created equal. You want to find one that connects areas that deer want to travel between.
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Re: Hill country fellas, what's your preference?

Unread postby Buckfever » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:55 pm

dan wrote:
keb wrote:What do you guys do in super steep terrian, I am planning on hunting some hill country, the loess hills region in Iowa and its steep in many spots, looking at topos there are very few saddles.

There are some deep cuts, but trying to think outside the box on the steeper stuff, any ideas.

Rut? Hunt leeward sides of steep ridges between bedding areas.



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