Winter bedding in hill country

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HunterBob
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Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby HunterBob » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:29 am

So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.


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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:24 pm

HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby KPnorthdakota » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:35 pm

ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.

This is fantastic advice and what I needed to read. I had a low acorn crop this year and early snow and the deer vanished early. This helps me know where to move to hunt.

Thanks.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby funderburk » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:12 pm

ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.


I hunt hill country myself and was planning to respond to your post...until I read ghoasthunter’s reply...which is exactly the correct response. Everything he said has been my experience, as well.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby HunterBob » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:22 am

ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.


Awesome, thanks a ton for the advice, which is exactly what I was looking for. I have been doing some scouting and have one spot where I do know does are bedding. This happens to be a swamp and also happens to be where I found a shed last year as well in the early spring. So appreciate the help, as this will certainly help me decide where to hunt in the next few weeks of season.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:55 am

HunterBob wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.


Awesome, thanks a ton for the advice, which is exactly what I was looking for. I have been doing some scouting and have one spot where I do know does are bedding. This happens to be a swamp and also happens to be where I found a shed last year as well in the early spring. So appreciate the help, as this will certainly help me decide where to hunt in the next few weeks of season.

no problem at all its the shift that most overlook everybody says the deer are all shot driven out buy pressure but in reality they are just moving too more favorable areas. i myself used too be baffled and frustrated with this. I figured all the deer i was hunting were gone only too get them back on camera the following year. another thing is if your running cams in the summer dont be surprised if activity is low in the hills. on low mass years or summer dry spells the bigger bucks take longer too get back in hill country and the does with fawns will stay inn thicker low areas till there fawns can escape predators. this year i had zero big buck activity in the high ground till early September big factor was dry low browse. bucks need lots of water and diverse green too grow there racks. hills just dont produce the calories a buck or lactating doe need till the mass. but once the acorns fell i was like a over night light switch. so never turn a good hill spot down too soon you might just miss a good pattern that occurs every year but just needs the right timing too unfold. in august i check the oak ridges every chance i get scouting for where the squirrels are chewing green acorns. and prepping setups its perfect time since your looking at the woods you will be hunting in a month or so. i try and get morning stands setup on oak flats on travel corridors on upper 1/3 between low pressure mass and bedding. and i like plotting all my setups for evening bedding in direct line too acorns. this is the time too remember where all the active ridge top scrapes are even if there not active you be surprised how much activity are around them early season remember bucks make scrapes for a reason and 95% of the time in hills its for travel up hill too acorns from bedding. i run cameras on these scrapes and as soon as i get buck activity i mark the spot as good and dont return till hunting time. for a week or so early you normally get a great window on the big bucks while they are in a daylight summer time schedule. contrary too what people say ive seen a good number of mature bucks in mornings early season in hill feeding on acorns till 10:00. the deer are pounding acorns in preparation for the rut at this time.

between mid September and early October is when most of the buck bedding get covered with rubs the bucks are starting too have there turf wars for best bedding. this can be a very great time and also very random on what bucks are popping out of what bedding.

mid October the scrapes start getting active and mature bucks are set in there pre rut battle grounds and are very consistent on bedding.
buy the end of october the mature bucks are up and taking walks and checking on does this is the best time too be hunting travel corridors between doe bedding areas.

once the chasing happens i get out of hills and down in the swamps again most of the does getting chased and bred are fleeing down in the thick stuff too escape so thats where you need to be too connect with the big ones. after the first breeding cycle is finished im running for the hills again and trying too connect on mature bucks on cruising level. once i see sign of second chasing 28 days later be from sighting or just alot of dead deer on roads im back in swamps and staying there threw my gun season being careful not too burn the pattern too soon since at this point it December and all the deer want too hide in the low lands. the only time i spend alot of time in hills in December is if i have a major bumper crop year then the deer wont leave the hills till all the acorns are gone.
so basically you are following food for 90% of the season.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby HunterBob » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:44 am

ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.


Awesome, thanks a ton for the advice, which is exactly what I was looking for. I have been doing some scouting and have one spot where I do know does are bedding. This happens to be a swamp and also happens to be where I found a shed last year as well in the early spring. So appreciate the help, as this will certainly help me decide where to hunt in the next few weeks of season.

no problem at all its the shift that most overlook everybody says the deer are all shot driven out buy pressure but in reality they are just moving too more favorable areas. i myself used too be baffled and frustrated with this. I figured all the deer i was hunting were gone only too get them back on camera the following year. another thing is if your running cams in the summer dont be surprised if activity is low in the hills. on low mass years or summer dry spells the bigger bucks take longer too get back in hill country and the does with fawns will stay inn thicker low areas till there fawns can escape predators. this year i had zero big buck activity in the high ground till early September big factor was dry low browse. bucks need lots of water and diverse green too grow there racks. hills just dont produce the calories a buck or lactating doe need till the mass. but once the acorns fell i was like a over night light switch. so never turn a good hill spot down too soon you might just miss a good pattern that occurs every year but just needs the right timing too unfold. in august i check the oak ridges every chance i get scouting for where the squirrels are chewing green acorns. and prepping setups its perfect time since your looking at the woods you will be hunting in a month or so. i try and get morning stands setup on oak flats on travel corridors on upper 1/3 between low pressure mass and bedding. and i like plotting all my setups for evening bedding in direct line too acorns. this is the time too remember where all the active ridge top scrapes are even if there not active you be surprised how much activity are around them early season remember bucks make scrapes for a reason and 95% of the time in hills its for travel up hill too acorns from bedding. i run cameras on these scrapes and as soon as i get buck activity i mark the spot as good and dont return till hunting time. for a week or so early you normally get a great window on the big bucks while they are in a daylight summer time schedule. contrary too what people say ive seen a good number of mature bucks in mornings early season in hill feeding on acorns till 10:00. the deer are pounding acorns in preparation for the rut at this time.

between mid September and early October is when most of the buck bedding get covered with rubs the bucks are starting too have there turf wars for best bedding. this can be a very great time and also very random on what bucks are popping out of what bedding.

mid October the scrapes start getting active and mature bucks are set in there pre rut battle grounds and are very consistent on bedding.
buy the end of october the mature bucks are up and taking walks and checking on does this is the best time too be hunting travel corridors between doe bedding areas.

once the chasing happens i get out of hills and down in the swamps again most of the does getting chased and bred are fleeing down in the thick stuff too escape so thats where you need to be too connect with the big ones. after the first breeding cycle is finished im running for the hills again and trying too connect on mature bucks on cruising level. once i see sign of second chasing 28 days later be from sighting or just alot of dead deer on roads im back in swamps and staying there threw my gun season being careful not too burn the pattern too soon since at this point it December and all the deer want too hide in the low lands. the only time i spend alot of time in hills in December is if i have a major bumper crop year then the deer wont leave the hills till all the acorns are gone.
so basically you are following food for 90% of the season.


You just put together about eight different puzzle pieces and described what I have noticed in my areas this season. Unfortunately, I am just learning this now and you are helping me to put it all together. Thanks for your wisdom and experience, you are certainly helping my learning curve. Makes me glad that I bought the bullet and paid for a lone wolf mobile system, as I am seeing more and more the need to be able to move to different spots once the sign changes. Thanks again ghost hunter!
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:55 am

HunterBob wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:
HunterBob wrote:So I have yet to fill a tag this year but have a few weeks left thanks to extended archery season here. Most of the bedding that I located in early to mid season seems to have been vacated due to hunting pressure and lack of cover with the trees being bare. Can anyone offer any advice to me on winter bedding in hill country? Are bucks still bedding on hillsides, or are they trying to find more cover wherever it exists?

We normally do not get snow here, so using that to track is not an option.

during late season i hunt swamps and river bottoms. i normally have my best luck hunting hills early season and during the rut. sometimes ill end up driving a hour or more too find what i want. there are defiantly still deer in the hills but its just a little easier getting in range of deer where you can conceal your movements better. and a lot of deer will transition into the wet spots for more food. i guess i would say hill deer can be kind of nomadic from end of rut threw the winter and sometimes threw the summer a lot of deer will leave the hills and travel for ag or lower lands seeking food. this varies from year too year mostly depending acorn crops low years you will see this shift sooner. if hills are all you have i would say take a day or two off from stand hunting get some light gear on and burn shoe leather bow in hand till you find the deer during winter you will find pockets where all the deer congregate even without snow the deer will all gather in these wintering grounds. once you find these areas dont forget them cuz they will use them year after year. when the deer suddenly vanish thats where they went. one thing that could help you is if you ever found any sheds over the years check those spots first.


Awesome, thanks a ton for the advice, which is exactly what I was looking for. I have been doing some scouting and have one spot where I do know does are bedding. This happens to be a swamp and also happens to be where I found a shed last year as well in the early spring. So appreciate the help, as this will certainly help me decide where to hunt in the next few weeks of season.

no problem at all its the shift that most overlook everybody says the deer are all shot driven out buy pressure but in reality they are just moving too more favorable areas. i myself used too be baffled and frustrated with this. I figured all the deer i was hunting were gone only too get them back on camera the following year. another thing is if your running cams in the summer dont be surprised if activity is low in the hills. on low mass years or summer dry spells the bigger bucks take longer too get back in hill country and the does with fawns will stay inn thicker low areas till there fawns can escape predators. this year i had zero big buck activity in the high ground till early September big factor was dry low browse. bucks need lots of water and diverse green too grow there racks. hills just dont produce the calories a buck or lactating doe need till the mass. but once the acorns fell i was like a over night light switch. so never turn a good hill spot down too soon you might just miss a good pattern that occurs every year but just needs the right timing too unfold. in august i check the oak ridges every chance i get scouting for where the squirrels are chewing green acorns. and prepping setups its perfect time since your looking at the woods you will be hunting in a month or so. i try and get morning stands setup on oak flats on travel corridors on upper 1/3 between low pressure mass and bedding. and i like plotting all my setups for evening bedding in direct line too acorns. this is the time too remember where all the active ridge top scrapes are even if there not active you be surprised how much activity are around them early season remember bucks make scrapes for a reason and 95% of the time in hills its for travel up hill too acorns from bedding. i run cameras on these scrapes and as soon as i get buck activity i mark the spot as good and dont return till hunting time. for a week or so early you normally get a great window on the big bucks while they are in a daylight summer time schedule. contrary too what people say ive seen a good number of mature bucks in mornings early season in hill feeding on acorns till 10:00. the deer are pounding acorns in preparation for the rut at this time.

between mid September and early October is when most of the buck bedding get covered with rubs the bucks are starting too have there turf wars for best bedding. this can be a very great time and also very random on what bucks are popping out of what bedding.

mid October the scrapes start getting active and mature bucks are set in there pre rut battle grounds and are very consistent on bedding.
buy the end of october the mature bucks are up and taking walks and checking on does this is the best time too be hunting travel corridors between doe bedding areas.

once the chasing happens i get out of hills and down in the swamps again most of the does getting chased and bred are fleeing down in the thick stuff too escape so thats where you need to be too connect with the big ones. after the first breeding cycle is finished im running for the hills again and trying too connect on mature bucks on cruising level. once i see sign of second chasing 28 days later be from sighting or just alot of dead deer on roads im back in swamps and staying there threw my gun season being careful not too burn the pattern too soon since at this point it December and all the deer want too hide in the low lands. the only time i spend alot of time in hills in December is if i have a major bumper crop year then the deer wont leave the hills till all the acorns are gone.
so basically you are following food for 90% of the season.


You just put together about eight different puzzle pieces and described what I have noticed in my areas this season. Unfortunately, I am just learning this now and you are helping me to put it all together. Thanks for your wisdom and experience, you are certainly helping my learning curve. Makes me glad that I bought the bullet and paid for a lone wolf mobile system, as I am seeing more and more the need to be able to move to different spots once the sign changes. Thanks again ghost hunter!

no problem being mobile is key ive spent a many hunts sitting on ground for this reason. you got too be able too and willing too hunt any spot at a blink of an eye. i like too think of my mobile system like a spec ops kit nothing that is not needed and everything serves multi roles. with time you will have everything figured out being efficient with gear and knowledge is the end result for success. when im going in the woods im setup too make it happen regardless of the situation and weather. im always evolving threw the years efficiency kills deer threw clearing the mind for task at hand.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby Capw12 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:06 pm

This was a really good read. Lots gained from this. Thank y’all.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby gunner24 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:45 pm

Ghost Hunter, great read. Well written post. I really enjoyed reading that. I more of a swamp/marsh hunter because that is what I Have close to home. But hill
Country is only a couple hours away and always peaks
My interest. I plan to do a bit of traveling this coming season to the hills. This is going to help me decide when to head for the hills! I appreciate you laying out your hard earned knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby johndeere506 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:43 pm

There seems to be some great information here. Has anyone else had experience with good bucks bedding down low from the hills late season? I have a thicket where doe groups are for sure bedding, and now has me wondering if the bigger bucks are down there as well. Ive been hunting more open woods up higher, and kept thinking last weekend,man, maybe they are ALL down low, especially with pressure and open woods up higher.
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:06 pm

johndeere506 wrote:There seems to be some great information here. Has anyone else had experience with good bucks bedding down low from the hills late season? I have a thicket where doe groups are for sure bedding, and now has me wondering if the bigger bucks are down there as well. Ive been hunting more open woods up higher, and kept thinking last weekend,man, maybe they are ALL down low, especially with pressure and open woods up higher.

i would defiantly be checking the thickest cover this time of year
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Re: Winter bedding in hill country

Unread postby Bigb » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:33 am

Boy, I might be in the minority here but if it's downright cold, south facing slopes seem to have deer for me. When its truly cold, there is one smaller south facing slope mixed in with some East/West ridges that holds deer most of the time where I hunt. I know you don't get much snow but if it does snow at some point, go out an take a look where that snow melts first. Then when it's really cold these spots may hold deer looking for a few degrees warmer than other spots, doesn't necessarily need to have snow when you hunt.

We have one spot where I hunt right along the road but about 50 feet above the road that if its cold during the day (below 10) there will be 10 or so deer sitting there. South facing slop and unless you know where to look you won't see them even though they are extremely close to the road. Never seen any bucks laying there but always does hanging out when its cold. I have no doubt in the rut some of the big bucks move through there and don't know why we don't hunt it honestly. Probably one of those overlooked spots thats either feast or famine.


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