Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
ERICBROOKS
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby ERICBROOKS » Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:24 am

At my grandmas farm I have a feeling I am overlooking a great spot to hunt by not hunting the abandon farm yard. It has apple trees and is really grown up. Last fall it was tore up with buck sign. Gonna put up a camera and see what is living there

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ZSV
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby ZSV » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:26 am

Thanks for posting this!

Last year (pre hunting beast) my stepdad, who doesn't hunt, called me while he was combining corn because he was so excited about a buck he saw. He wasn't sure about how big his rack was, but the body was the biggest he'd ever seen.
He took me to the spot later and we drove about 100 yards past an abandoned farmhouse and buildings to get to the open area he spotted the buck. The only trees were in small draws along the fence line on the neighbors property, so I assumed it was a fluke and was probably mostly at the neighbors and never tried to hunt the spot.

I will be going back there soon to see if I can find him around the buildings!

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nater
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby nater » Thu Jul 16, 2015 2:41 pm

I've walked enough of these during winter in SW MN to know that deer often use them quite heavily. There is ALWAYS rut sign, and often it is quite heavy. I'm talking about small patches of woods <5 acres, usually with prairie grass and/or wetlands surrounding it if it's public land. If it's private land then it's probably crops all the way around and minimum disturbance.

I have to imagine that use varies widely season to season, something like:

- Fawning area in spring and primary bedding in summer, with one or two doe families and possibly a bachelor group
- When velvet falls off, the bachelor group splits up and starts roaming, doe family group stays
- During the rut, bucks from the bachelor group return as individuals to check on the does that had been there; roaming bucks also check. If there is connecting cover (including unharvested corn) then the bucks come through during the day. If there is no connecting cover, bucks must be coming through at night.
- During actual breeding, some of these spots also have to be used for doe tending if they're not heavily pressured
- Once the snow falls, these areas get vacated UNLESS there is food nearby or unless there is NO good food within 15-20 miles. I've seen farmsteads that match all of those conditions, but there is always rut sign, even in the uninhabitated ones. If there's standing corn nearby, I've seen as many as 50-60 deer holing up in a single one. In both spots that come to mind there were a dozen or so farmsteads within 10 miles that were probably used earlier in the year and then vacated during the winter in favor of the one with food. I had two WMAs targeted last year for December muzzleloader but the winter was fairly light at the beginning and the deer just weren't there like they had been the year before. I'm looking forward to hunting a spot like this in a year when we get a foot of snow at Thanksgiving and the deer head to their winter ranges early on.

Would welcome thoughts on that "schedule."

I have seen a fair number of tree stands in these areas on public land, but they're often very close to the parking area. I've always thought they belong to casual hunters who live down the road or something.

In my area these farmsteads rarely have hard mast trees but they frequently have apple trees/hazlenut bushes/etc. If you're not great at tree ID, vising these spots in the summer can reveal a lot about hidden food source gold mines.
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Lockdown
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:10 pm

The buck in my profile pic was taken from a farm grove, with the farmer still inhabiting the place. Its a nice thick grove, and he doesn't own a dog. The deer get used to him mowing and doing random yard work. Its mainly does and little bucks, but once rut comes the shooters come running.

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Grabbed my digital camera and snapped a pic of him as I was getting my gear out of my car. He was cruising between the groves, saw me, and stopped in the mowed grass. I killed him coming into my decoy 2-3 hours later on the back side of the grove. That was 2011.

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It looks super dark but I killed this buck after he took 10 steps to his left. This is probably a 3 acre tract of land that is 90% grass. This was my 2010 buck.


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This was taken by the same camera in the same grove as my previous pic. This beast of a buck lived at the neighbors and would only stroll through in the middle of the night.


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This was taken on the North end of the grove where the farmer lives. (Same place as the 1st pic)


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Here's a buck I chased for 3 years. This is in the same farmer's grove. Had him under my tree in 2013 but he was chasing a doe and never offered me a shot.

I live in hard core farm country and you don't need a big property to kill big deer.

What I do is find the biggest bucks (and best properties) around, then try and find a sleeper spot next to a refuge or near a landowner who manages their land for big bucks. Then find something a mile away that looks useless. That's exactly where all of these pics were taken... in small miniscule groves that most people think hold only a few does and little bucks.

As always, especially with tiny groves, you have to keep pressure [glow=red]extremely[/glow] low.

All of my success in these groves was pre-beast, but my plan will probably be the same. Leave them alone until rut. One early season hunt probably won't hurt. Standing corn adjoining it or VERY near is a necessity IMHO. Most often they bed in the corn and come to the grove looking for does.

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Here is a pic of my 2010 buck following the corn edge. If you look in the trail cam pic, he scraped on the tree on the right hand side in the back ground. He headed the other way then I grunted him in.

Once the crops are gone, they likely head to bigger properties with more security cover. If not, they'll be bedded in the grove, and if that's the case, good luck getting in undetected.
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justdirtyfun
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby justdirtyfun » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:23 am

I'm letting the message sink in.


LOW PRESSURE. LOW PRESSURE. LOW PRESSURE.

Ok. My wife has a vegetarian friend with an overgrown 40 acres that really needs my trail camera on it. Well she might not need it but I do, lol.Farm country with narrow fencerows and pockets of timber/farmyards. Those narrow fencerows are probably highways for deer movement.

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Bigb
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby Bigb » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:18 pm

Great Pics Lockdown. I'm getting closer and closer to setting up a camera and/or stand by the old abandoned farm house where we park. We used to have a couple buildings there but an arsonist decided to burn them down last year. I've alway been convinced that I've been overlooking this spot.
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby WEEGEE » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:36 pm

30 years ago i spent one entire season after 1 buck. he was a 14pt drop tine monster.
this guy lived with this old sheep farmer and stayed less than 50 yrds. from his barn and feed with the sheep.
just ever great now and then would he venture very far from that wood lot /sheep barns.
i watched this guy stand with his back against the farmer as he was herding his sheep around, with two dogs chasing the sheep ,and never look at them. he would turn his ears back to listen ,but could pick me out with a spotting scope 3/4 mile away.

farmer's brother shot him out of a hog shed and wounded him.the farmer that lived there went after him and tried to tackle him and was about kicked to death . his brother finally got another slug in him. but i learned some tricks that deer displayed,that was eye opening.
so yes,i look at these old farms with both eyes when i go by....never know.
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hunter10
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby hunter10 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:24 am

neat story weegee
ERICBROOKS
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby ERICBROOKS » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:22 pm

ERICBROOKS wrote:At my grandmas farm I have a feeling I am overlooking a great spot to hunt by not hunting the abandon farm yard. It has apple trees and is really grown up. Last fall it was tore up with buck sign. Gonna put up a camera and see what is living there



And here are some results (dates and time are wrong)
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Zap
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby Zap » Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:31 pm

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"Forged in fire lit long ago. Stand next to me and you will never stand alone".
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Lockdown
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Re: Hunting abandoned farmyard bucks.

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:12 pm

Nice Eric!

And zap that is the sweetest thing I've ever seen!!!
Way cool!

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