Staging opposite of food

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Lockdown
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Staging opposite of food

Unread postby Lockdown » Fri May 27, 2016 8:48 am

Last year the biggest buck I encountered didn't get up and head strait for food. Food was East and he headed North. I was actually tight up against a different bedding area (the one he came out of is 200+ yards away), and he came in behind me.

With this encounter and a couple hours of picking this area apart this spring, I'm pretty confident that a lot of the deer bedded here stage to the North instead of heading strait to food. Why? I think it's due to the fact that there are other bedding areas in that direction, and they're just checking in.

I've got a few bedding areas where my stand location is not directly in between bedding and food. Might I have the wrong set up? Very possible.

I thought this would be a good topic for discussion. I'm hoping to hear some first hand experiences from a few of you. How often do you see "lateral" movement when they're leaving their bed?

I can think of a few reasons for lateral movement. They might head to a lower pressure part of the field where people don't leave as much ground scent, they might want to scent check the field itself, or possibly utilize low spots/heavier cover for stealthier access. As mentioned before they might head to a community area or check a community scrape... Or maybe they're just killing time until it's safe to head to food.

Thoughts? Experiences?

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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Fri May 27, 2016 8:53 am

I personally believe that most deer encounter the most danger near food (and I'll include water here) sources - it just is a place where predators, and hunters, seem to focus on. Most predators are opportunist and large food sources draws more opportunity. Thus a buck/deer/prey animal, does not always get in a rush to head right to a food source. In my experience they get up for while and "wake up" before they head out and it is usually in a place close to where they feel the most secure. I could be dead wrong here but that is how my mind tries to envision it.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby dan » Fri May 27, 2016 12:01 pm

I see this all the time... But, when its not a rut move, I think they are headed for food. They don't always feed on corn and beans... There are lots of plants / food sources that all of us are unaware of... I can shine the marsh behind my house all night long during late summer and a lot of the time there is a known buck or two living in the swamp I don 't see anytime at night. I believe thats cause he is feeding in the timber, swamp, or marsh.
Many times I have observed bucks go inward toward some lush green plant, rather than out towards the fields... Some of it may have to do with safety, but I think the majority of the time its for a reason, and a destination.
Even when the feed in fields, they will prefer a certain field, and a certain spot in that field. But safety comes 1st with bedding and if that means they bed by a different similar field with a less desirable food, so be it, they will walk to the food.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Sat May 28, 2016 1:44 am

In Sept early Oct I do believe they sometimes prefer natural browse - if there are no acorns falling. Come mid to late Oct - food is not their only focus. I have witnesses far too many bucks lingering in staging areas - doing little more then make a few rubs, brush fighting and just hanging out - sometimes they browse, sometimes they do not. The buck I shot last year (9pt in mid Oct) got up and stood in the same place for over 30 minutes. Working a licking branch and never took a bite of any of the abundant browse.... he was in no hurry to go anywhere. Right at sundown - he started walking towards a wheat field and came right down the corridor I was hunting.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat May 28, 2016 1:45 pm

Good stuff Dave and Dan... One reason I brought this up is for farmland situations. The last few beds that I found were in fingers of trees that jut out into the ag fields. They can literally stand, walk 20 yards or less, and have a feast in front of them.

My set ups are going to have to be off to the side hoping they stay in cover and rub/scrape/browse toward me before heading out into the open beans or standing corn.

In my first post, the bedding (bowl in the cattails) has half a dozen trails they can leave on, none of which can be covered by one stand location. There are subtle rublines heading east toward food, and north toward other bedding and thickets.

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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Sat May 28, 2016 1:52 pm

Lockdown wrote:Good stuff Dave and Dan... One reason I brought this up is for farmland situations. The last few beds that I found were in fingers of trees that jut out into the ag fields. They can literally stand, walk 20 yards or less, and have a feast in front of them.

My set ups are going to have to be off to the side hoping they stay in cover and rub/scrape/browse toward me before heading out into the open beans or standing corn.

In my first post, the bedding (bowl in the cattails) has half a dozen trails they can leave on, none of which can be covered by one stand location. There are subtle rublines heading east toward food, and north toward other bedding and thickets.

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To me, one of the hardest bucks to get in on is one that walks from the field, into the wind and beds on the field edge on a finger. He will smell anything that comes in from the finger and can watch the entire field if elevated. Very tough to get in on in morning or evening. A mild push or nudge and setting up on a known escape route often is best bet there imo. Might have to push him once or twice to see how he reacts? If he is using a parallel trail u might can catch him there.

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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby dan » Sat May 28, 2016 2:51 pm

Lockdown wrote:Good stuff Dave and Dan... One reason I brought this up is for farmland situations. The last few beds that I found were in fingers of trees that jut out into the ag fields. They can literally stand, walk 20 yards or less, and have a feast in front of them.

My set ups are going to have to be off to the side hoping they stay in cover and rub/scrape/browse toward me before heading out into the open beans or standing corn.

In my first post, the bedding (bowl in the cattails) has half a dozen trails they can leave on, none of which can be covered by one stand location. There are subtle rublines heading east toward food, and north toward other bedding and thickets.

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Field edge bucks are tough for sure... The best way to get them if possible is to observe from a distance and watch for a kink in his plan, like crossing the field in daylight within range of a tree. Or getting close to a spot you can sneak too... Its also important to keep in mind field edge beds are often wind specific. A lot of the time they bed right on the edge watching the field when the wind is blowing from the woods towards the field... Most hunters wanting a wind advantage will try to hunt on those days and will get seen. When the wind blows from the field towards the woods they tend to smell the field and bed farther back at a transition and watch the woods. That makes the bad wind days the best days to hunt as long as he is still bedding in the close proximity on that wind. Thats where the "just off wind" tactic really shines. Patience helps...
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby mainebowhunter » Sat May 28, 2016 10:56 pm

I do believe Adam Hays talked about some of that same thing on this podcast here. (I think)
http://wiredtohunt.com/2015/08/28/wired-to-hunt-podcast-69-adam-hays-on-killing-200-bucks-and-the-moon-effect/

He was talking a bunch about hunting off winds. Talking about a buck walking parrellel to the field edge and then catching him when he made the turn to enter the field. But I believe he was talking a "wind in the face" as the buck entered the field. But it was how he observed the buck enter the field which made the determining factor how he placed his stand.

Outside of the rut, here in Maine, I don't really hunt many field edges and cover is typically always heavy. Really would be hard to see lateral movement coming out of a bed. Moving from a bed to a different food source...yep. But most times, I am not going to see it.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby DaveT1963 » Sat May 28, 2016 11:23 pm

My answer was specific to your example Lockdown where a buck gets up twenty yards from a food source, out of a timbered ridge, and walks right into a field he has been watching all day. These bucks will almost always walk into the finger with the wind in their face, do a 180 and then bed where they can watch the field. The wind projects their backside. I had many bucks do this in MT until the pre rut got them moving.

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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby JoeRE » Sun May 29, 2016 11:09 am

Lockdown I don't remember, what time of year was that?

Some good points made already...always have to remember agriculture is only a portion of a deer's diet even here in the corn and beans belt. Hard to say if they are heading toward food or not sometimes. Its all around. There's a McDonalds to the left a Burger King straight ahead and a Hardees around the corner.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby May-39 » Mon May 30, 2016 12:23 am

I have had bucks I'm watching change their routes after opening week. I contributed this to influx of scent in woods opening week and/or desirable mast (acorns or apples) available changing the pattern.
I'm much more inclined to believe it was all the human scent and fresh climbers that suddenly grew at the base of trees. This pattern shift is also accompanied by much later departure times from bed.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby Lockdown » Mon May 30, 2016 2:15 am

JoeRE wrote:Lockdown I don't remember, what time of year was that?

Some good points made already...always have to remember agriculture is only a portion of a deer's diet even here in the corn and beans belt. Hard to say if they are heading toward food or not sometimes. Its all around. There's a McDonalds to the left a Burger King straight ahead and a Hardees around the corner.


Joe I believe it was October 15th... Not impossible he was heading toward doe bedding to check things out, but the 15th is a hair early IMHO

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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby May-39 » Mon May 30, 2016 4:11 am

LOL...my last post seemed master of obvious now that I read it...I was trying not to type much.
OBVIOUSLY patterns change.
What I meant was I have observed pressure/scent and or acorns change about the same time of year (before pre rut/rut).
I was just reviewing my SD cards from last year and cleaning them out laughed about a couple examples of that.. real consistent exit right until the opener then gone or it's dark dark when they pass. Both of these are within 75 yards of bed. I also noticed the 1.5 year old bachelor groups lose partners pretty quick...poor buggers

Is it possible someone set up on the other routine route he had or small game hunted through it?
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby JoeRE » Mon May 30, 2016 2:25 pm

In mid October is when I see the first activity of mature bucks on primary scrapes. Not necessarily in daylight, but often these scrapes are positioned near major doe concentrations or in thermal hubs where bucks can scent the surrounding area to see how close does are to coming round. Anyway, to me mid-October is when I see the first shadowing behavior of bucks around doe groups. Particularly when the weather is right, seems to get them in the mood...as I recall starting about the 15th there was that major cold front that saw a spike in pre-rut activity all across the midwest. I would chalk it up to some early seeking behavior in your case. This is of course during the "lull" but if you are hunting right, there is no lull.
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Re: Staging opposite of food

Unread postby dan » Mon May 30, 2016 10:28 pm

I agree Joe... In the Midwest I start shifting towards rut hunting October 15th. You hear a lot of guys call that the "lull" but I would consider the lull prior to the 15th. Thats when I start shifting towards morning hunts and watching scrape behavior.


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