success setting up over a bed

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rochester coops
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success setting up over a bed

Unread postby rochester coops » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:01 pm

Around here not much is moving in daylight now that we are well into gun season. Lots of pressure. Most of the main bedding areas have been pushed. I have a couple of spots left that have been pretty untouched, but the only way I think I could have success on these areas is to set up overlooking the bedding and getting in a couple hours before sunrise. I know the odds of getting busted are pretty high, but I don't think I could successfully hunt these another way. Have any of you had success doing this and what was key to not getting busted?


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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby Debo03 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:08 pm

I've never had any success doing it but I softly bumped a nice buck off his bed this afternoon and I'm gonna try to set up over his bed tomorrow morning.

It's too late in the year to tiptoe around

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby Lockdown » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:16 pm

Debo03 wrote:
It's too late in the year to tiptoe around

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x2 go for it!

Access is going to be crucial

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby JoeRE » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:38 pm

With a bow I assume? If you are using a gun no reason to set up on top of it. Try to get line of sight from a distance and shoot him in the bed.

The only time I have had luck setting up right on beds in the AM is when pressure is relatively low but I guess trying it is better than nothing. If there was any chance of an evening setup w/o spooking them I would go that route though. Later and later in the year you are less likely to catch a buck in daylight in the morning.
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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:25 pm

Just to add to JoeRE, am bed hunting is tough sledding. Evening bed hunting is your best bet. He will get up to feed winter patterns in shooting light. Be patient and play your odds. Good luck!

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:40 pm

Most of my better bucks have been killed in the morning as they returned to beds. Study up on JHooking as just about all mature bucks will do this when they enter their beds. I set up about twenty yards downwind of this jhook trail..... Which is usually the first good cover 50-100 yards downwind. There will seldom be anything but a faint trail as bucks want to scent check their bed and don't make rubs along these trails. I usually arrive at least an hour, usually two before sunrise. If he comes in before first light you can usually slip out quietly without alerting him and set up later for his evening departure knowing full well he is there. My experience is contrary to others, I have found pressured bucks seldom leave their bed, or very close proximity to it, in the evening until well after dark.... Where I hunt you are not going to sneak in close enough most of the time due to brush, thorns.... Just to noisy to get close enough in most cases. A marsh is a different story and you can get closer then. I find that older bucks often are a little lazy getting back to their bed after an evening with no threat. Just what I've experienced. Most of my bigger bucks have been killed right at dawn or around 9:00-10:00 when they often move from an early morning/pre dawn bed to an all day bed.

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby Bowhunter4life » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:04 am

DaveT1963 wrote:Most of my better bucks have been killed in the morning as they returned to beds. Study up on JHooking as just about all mature bucks will do this when they enter their beds. I set up about twenty yards downwind of this jhook trail..... Which is usually the first good cover 50-100 yards downwind. There will seldom be anything but a faint trail as bucks want to scent check their bed and don't make rubs along these trails. I usually arrive at least an hour, usually two before sunrise. If he comes in before first light you can usually slip out quietly without alerting him and set up later for his evening departure knowing full well he is there. My experience is contrary to others, I have found pressured bucks seldom leave their bed, or very close proximity to it, in the evening until well after dark.... Where I hunt you are not going to sneak in close enough most of the time due to brush, thorns.... Just to noisy to get close enough in most cases. A marsh is a different story and you can get closer then. I find that older bucks often are a little lazy getting back to their bed after an evening with no threat. Just what I've experienced. Most of my bigger bucks have been killed right at dawn or around 9:00-10:00 when they often move from an early morning/pre dawn bed to an all day bed.

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Just to touch on one part of this cause I have actually not really had much luck setting up right over a bucks bed but one thing that I have noticed and am paying more attention to is some bucks moving around the time the wind starts to blow in the AM. I have seen this many times, you get a calm morning and nothing is happening. Around 8:30 - 9 the wind starts to blow a little and all the sudden you see deer moving. Most often I see them heading into bedding and I have often thought they bed down in a spot in some cover, wait for the wind and then head to their bed according to wind direction. Doesn't often seem to be a real far move on their part and especially the more mature the animal is but I have witnessed this on multiple occasions.

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby JoeRE » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:17 am

Dave have you had much success in the late season setting up over beds in the morning? I have good success with morning bedding setups in the early season and through the pre-rut like you say, but after the guns start going off I find bucks are close to their beds well before first light most times. I know a lot of hunters in high pressure areas say morning bedding setups almost never work so maybe its purely a symptom of sustained hunting pressure.

Bowhunter4life that's an interesting observation. It makes sense. I will have to pay attention to that, haven't in the past.
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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:51 am

JoeRE wrote:Dave have you had much success in the late season setting up over beds in the morning? I have good success with morning bedding setups in the early season and through the pre-rut like you say, but after the guns start going off I find bucks are close to their beds well before first light most times. I know a lot of hunters in high pressure areas say morning bedding setups almost never work so maybe its purely a symptom of sustained hunting pressure.

Bowhunter4life that's an interesting observation. It makes sense. I will have to pay attention to that, haven't in the past.


You asked the very question I was wondering to Dave. Late season in my areas tend to be dismal morning success but evening movement on food sources is best. They are normally back to bed way earlier and out to feed in daylight evenings. I've heard a lot of guys who hunt late season swear it's the best time to find a mature buck. With late estrous does coming in, bucks needing to feed and cold weather, there patterns become easier to knock down and once food source is found that they are headed to, it's only a waiting game then. I'm usually tagged out by then, or have shot enough deer where I don't hunt late season much, but from what I've seen cut corn or soy bean fields will hold piles of deer.

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:27 am

Up north I can see late season food sources being better in evening..... In Ohio that can be most predictive time to pattern older bucks. In Montana I usually had better success in mornings. But, I seldom get to hunt in Dec as I've usually tagged out by mid Nov. But I personally would never give up on morning hunts catching bucks coming back to beds. You have to plan out approach and exit and you have to pay attention to how deer use the wind to enter beds.

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby JoeRE » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:21 am

Dave - do you find how bucks enter their beds changes as the season gets later? Just wondering if that would happen, do they J hook more and more after getting some hunting pressure all season long or does that behavior stay pretty constant through the season?

I agree figuring out the buck's approach makes or breaks a morning bedding setup. Depends a lot on terrain and just figuring out that deer's behavior. In hill country they like to loop around right below the point they want to bed on and then pop up on top from below. Often the right setup is not covering the trails coming right down the ridge and you just have to remember that those trails either aren't made by the target buck, or at least not made by him coming back in the morning. I vividly remember a couple hunts in past years where I got it wrong, and got busted by a buck coming in just out of range downwind. That will make a person cuss - getting it 90% right then blowing it. As I mentioned before I do like morning bedding setups just haven't had much luck with it late season...unless I am hunting with a gun, then its a lot easier when a person can just sit on the next ridge over. Plan on doing that some here in a few weeks in Iowa's late muzzleloader season.
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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:38 am

I think older bucks 5+ years just about always approach their bed by first scent checking it. I know around here, they usually walk in heavier cover and elevated if they can.... Think they like to scent and visually check their beds? Most of the time i look for any edge that is 50-100 yards down wind as this seems to be the most effective range for them here. I don't think pressure dictates their approach as much as what time they approach. If they get pressured they, 5+ year old bucks,tend to go nocturnal more than changed their routine. Now if you pound the bedding areas over and over then they will abandon it for one less pressured. I also think you can bank on this habit of J hooking more than you can rely on setting up on a single bed in evening hoping he is in that bed.... They just are not that consistent here. I rarely if ever set up on a specific bed.... I target bedding areas approaches and exits. These can range from 2 acreas to 20+ acreas around here. Big bucks here seldom use the same exact beds, cover is readily abundant and secure here. For me, the one thing that makes a bedding area a great buck bedding area is the presence of water (pond, lake, river, etc....). I seldom find the dominate buck further away then 200 yards from a reliable water source. I've seen them travel two + miles for food and does but I never see that in regards to water. Could be a southern thing but I find this true in most areas I hunt. A buck can go a long time without food source or a doe, they can find cover almost anywhere as they really are adaptable, but they can not go for long without water. They can and do get a lot of the water from dew and frost, in the early morning, but when it's hot and when they are rutting they need water.

So I look for beds in relation to secure water.... I then set up on approach to the water source, or in some cases between the water and beds.

Morning hunting may not work everywhere, but it's worked best for me everywhere I have hunted.... But that may be because I believe in it so well..... We all know mental/confidence plays a key role in success. To me a big buck leaving his sanctuary in evening during daylight is far more cautious and alert then a buck that's been out feeding all night with no troubles and is heading back to his home turf.... I just find that they relax more and are more active then a lot of people believe in the AM.

ALSO, I GET SET UP EARLY.... Can't stress that enough. I find that they arrive back to the core early but often feed, browse, spar, etc., well after daylight in their core areas.

All this is my personal experience. I think AM hunting is more of a precision thing and you don't get many breaks..... But once you get set up right it's pretty successful. There are some areas I would love to AM hunt but I can't due to approach, wind. Property boundaries..... I won't compromise until everything is just right.

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:50 pm

DaveT1963 wrote:I think older bucks 5+ years just about always approach their bed by first scent checking it. I know around here, they usually walk in heavier cover and elevated if they can.... Think they like to scent and visually check their beds? Most of the time i look for any edge that is 50-100 yards down wind as this seems to be the most effective range for them here. I don't think pressure dictates their approach as much as what time they approach. If they get pressured they, 5+ year old bucks,tend to go nocturnal more than changed their routine. Now if you pound the bedding areas over and over then they will abandon it for one less pressured. I also think you can bank on this habit of J hooking more than you can rely on setting up on a single bed in evening hoping he is in that bed.... They just are not that consistent here. I rarely if ever set up on a specific bed.... I target bedding areas approaches and exits. These can range from 2 acreas to 20+ acreas around here. Big bucks here seldom use the same exact beds, cover is readily abundant and secure here. For me, the one thing that makes a bedding area a great buck bedding area is the presence of water (pond, lake, river, etc....). I seldom find the dominate buck further away then 200 yards from a reliable water source. I've seen them travel two + miles for food and does but I never see that in regards to water. Could be a southern thing but I find this true in most areas I hunt. A buck can go a long time without food source or a doe, they can find cover almost anywhere as they really are adaptable, but they can not go for long without water. They can and do get a lot of the water from dew and frost, in the early morning, but when it's hot and when they are rutting they need water.

So I look for beds in relation to secure water.... I then set up on approach to the water source, or in some cases between the water and beds.

Morning hunting may not work everywhere, but it's worked best for me everywhere I have hunted.... But that may be because I believe in it so well..... We all know mental/confidence plays a key role in success. To me a big buck leaving his sanctuary in evening during daylight is far more cautious and alert then a buck that's been out feeding all night with no troubles and is heading back to his home turf.... I just find that they relax more and are more active then a lot of people believe in the AM.

ALSO, I GET SET UP EARLY.... Can't stress that enough. I find that they arrive back to the core early but often feed, browse, spar, etc., well after daylight in their core areas.

All this is my personal experience. I think AM hunting is more of a precision thing and you don't get many breaks..... But once you get set up right it's pretty successful. There are some areas I would love to AM hunt but I can't due to approach, wind. Property boundaries..... I won't compromise until everything is just right.

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Good post here!!

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:21 pm

Great thread. Dave have you noticed the bucks will pass by the bed in a manor that he will be able to visually see a tracker from the bed as it passes by following the bucks scent-track? On the j-hooks I have followed in thick pot hole areas the buck will pass the bed very close.. At maybe 20 yrds or so before he hooks back into the bed. I am wondering if the hook is tighter in tighter cover compared to open hilly bedding where he may have a better visual advantage?

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Re: success setting up over a bed

Unread postby DeerDylan » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:52 pm

Yeah this thread got heavy, quick! Good stuff fellas!

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