Mountain Laurel

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timberwolf311
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Mountain Laurel

Unread postby timberwolf311 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:33 pm

How many beast hunt around mountain laurel? Have you found it is used by animals any different than any other cover? Trying to figure how mature bucks bed in it. I find it doesn’t setup exactly like thick brush or timbered areas when it makes up the bulk or all of the security cover. Thoughts on your experiences...


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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby csoult » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:08 am

Find the small openings, this is where the beds are. I've found single beds and group beds in it. It's almost impossible to hunt in it due to the noise that you make going through it. Scout it in the off season and know where you're going.

Hunt the edges where you can, it's a tough game. If there's no easy way in, don't go too deep during the season, it won't end well. Now if you've found a bed deep in, and can find trails in and out of them, it can be extremely productive.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby elk yinzer » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:32 am

Just to be clear we are talking kalmia latifolia? Cause I've heard some guys south of here call rhododendron mountain laurel. Totally different beast, that stuff.

It's hard to generalize mountain laurel although it grows in most places I hunt since I moved to Central PA. Never saw the stuff growing up in Western PA so it took a lot of trial and error to figure it out. I am getting better at hunting out here every year.

It definitely impacts bedding. It can also grow so thick and expansive that deer hardly use it except as extreme escape cover in rifle season. The patchier kinds tends to be best. I find big woods and mountain bedding in general to be less of a textbook sure-thing than some other types of terrains. Mature bucks tend to be nomadic. Food is everything and the forest types laurel grows in can vary a ton, so to generalize laurel as bedding doesn't really work either. Too dependent on other factors. It can be edge cover, and there can be edge cover and bedding deep within it. It can be textbook hill country terrain, or not.

It's a love/hate thing because it grows big bucks but it can really make access frustrating. You can use it to beat a lot of hunting pressure, but you have to really nail down your access to not spook deer busting through it. You have to zig-zag through it, you never walk a straight line in thick laurel. Like anything else you really just have to scout and put the pieces together on your own.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby timberwolf311 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:31 am

elk yinzer wrote:Just to be clear we are talking kalmia latifolia? Cause I've heard some guys south of here call rhododendron mountain laurel. Totally different beast, that stuff.

It's hard to generalize mountain laurel although it grows in most places I hunt since I moved to Central PA. Never saw the stuff growing up in Western PA so it took a lot of trial and error to figure it out. I am getting better at hunting out here every year.

It definitely impacts bedding. It can also grow so thick and expansive that deer hardly use it except as extreme escape cover in rifle season. The patchier kinds tends to be best. I find big woods and mountain bedding in general to be less of a textbook sure-thing than some other types of terrains. Mature bucks tend to be nomadic. Food is everything and the forest types laurel grows in can vary a ton, so to generalize laurel as bedding doesn't really work either. Too dependent on other factors. It can be edge cover, and there can be edge cover and bedding deep within it. It can be textbook hill country terrain, or not.

It's a love/hate thing because it grows big bucks but it can really make access frustrating. You can use it to beat a lot of hunting pressure, but you have to really nail down your access to not spook deer busting through it. You have to zig-zag through it, you never walk a straight line in thick laurel. Like anything else you really just have to scout and put the pieces together on your own.



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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:51 am

laural and rhododendron have gotten me more big bucks than any other type of cover deer eat both its awesome bedding cover and it makes so much noise going threw it that deer can hear you coming twords you for hundreds of yards. ive seen big bucks move threw some of thickest patches with zero issues. this is also where i find 90% of worn down to dirt beds in hill country and sheds late season. bucks love bedding on edges and just in from the edge. the most productive is the stuff is ones scattered with hemlocks with a good defined line of mast and brows. laurel typically grows better on western and northern sides of ridges where there is better shade threw out the day. ledges benches points and knolls are always the best bedding. rhododendron prefers wetter soil and is located in drainage areas in mountains lake shores and swamps. rhododendron also grows much bigger and is more palatable for deer. deer love eating the buds in late season and they chew the leaves year round. if you spend some time scouting these areas you can see a definitive brows line on them even with sign washed away you can find hot spots in these areas buy following brows lines. treat every patch as a transition and walk all the edges of them. i see a lot of mature bucks cursing threw these areas in daylight during the rut. heavy thick laurel and rhododendron are one of the safest, and best areas too find mature bucks.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby flinginairos » Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:38 am

ghoasthunter wrote:laural and rhododendron have gotten me more big bucks than any other type of cover deer eat both its awesome bedding cover and it makes so much noise going threw it that deer can hear you coming twords you for hundreds of yards. ive seen big bucks move threw some of thickest patches with zero issues. this is also where i find 90% of worn down to dirt beds in hill country and sheds late season. bucks love bedding on edges and just in from the edge. the most productive is the stuff is ones scattered with hemlocks with a good defined line of mast and brows. laurel typically grows better on western and northern sides of ridges where there is better shade threw out the day. ledges benches points and knolls are always the best bedding. rhododendron prefers wetter soil and is located in drainage areas in mountains lake shores and swamps. rhododendron also grows much bigger and is more palatable for deer. deer love eating the buds in late season and they chew the leaves year round. if you spend some time scouting these areas you can see a definitive brows line on them even with sign washed away you can find hot spots in these areas buy following brows lines. treat every patch as a transition and walk all the edges of them. i see a lot of mature bucks cursing threw these areas in daylight during the rut. heavy thick laurel and rhododendron are one of the safest, and best areas too find mature bucks.


This is spot on with my experiences with laurel. It seems to grow in 2-5 acre patches in my area, mostly on the north side of a ridge which sets up perfect with the S-SW winds we get in the early season. I tend to hunt the edges of these patches on the downwind side. I can usually find the exit trails by old rubs leading from the beds that are just inside the edge of it. The buck in my profile pic was killed exactly like I described in early season. Access can be tough but if you can find a way in and get close to the edge it can be an awesome setup!
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby Steelhead125 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:28 am

I hunt a pretty mature forest with not a whole lot of undergrowth. I specifically seek out hillsides that contain laurel. If it has oaks that are producing acorns that’s usually where most of the deer will be bedding. I hunt the outskirts of laurel from the begging of the season until the end. I try not to push through it and come in from a direction where I will not be seen or winded.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:36 am

flinginairos wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:laural and rhododendron have gotten me more big bucks than any other type of cover deer eat both its awesome bedding cover and it makes so much noise going threw it that deer can hear you coming twords you for hundreds of yards. ive seen big bucks move threw some of thickest patches with zero issues. this is also where i find 90% of worn down to dirt beds in hill country and sheds late season. bucks love bedding on edges and just in from the edge. the most productive is the stuff is ones scattered with hemlocks with a good defined line of mast and brows. laurel typically grows better on western and northern sides of ridges where there is better shade threw out the day. ledges benches points and knolls are always the best bedding. rhododendron prefers wetter soil and is located in drainage areas in mountains lake shores and swamps. rhododendron also grows much bigger and is more palatable for deer. deer love eating the buds in late season and they chew the leaves year round. if you spend some time scouting these areas you can see a definitive brows line on them even with sign washed away you can find hot spots in these areas buy following brows lines. treat every patch as a transition and walk all the edges of them. i see a lot of mature bucks cursing threw these areas in daylight during the rut. heavy thick laurel and rhododendron are one of the safest, and best areas too find mature bucks.


This is spot on with my experiences with laurel. It seems to grow in 2-5 acre patches in my area, mostly on the north side of a ridge which sets up perfect with the S-SW winds we get in the early season. I tend to hunt the edges of these patches on the downwind side. I can usually find the exit trails by old rubs leading from the beds that are just inside the edge of it. The buck in my profile pic was killed exactly like I described in early season. Access can be tough but if you can find a way in and get close to the edge it can be an awesome setup!

i think getting too that edge is when 95% of the people mess up on these spots and dont see deer when i find mature buck beds in laurel they can almost always see well over a hundred yards or they can hear you closing in from the side. getting in the beds and really visualizing how close you can get is important. i always like hanging a orange hat or TP over the bed and getting super dialed on the tree i can get away with. and when i approach that tree i keep it between me and the deer for as far as possible preferably using other ground cover between me and the deer. i also spend a lot of time glassing over the edge before i even try making my final approach.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby Steelhead125 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:16 am

ghoasthunter wrote:
flinginairos wrote:
ghoasthunter wrote:laural and rhododendron have gotten me more big bucks than any other type of cover deer eat both its awesome bedding cover and it makes so much noise going threw it that deer can hear you coming twords you for hundreds of yards. ive seen big bucks move threw some of thickest patches with zero issues. this is also where i find 90% of worn down to dirt beds in hill country and sheds late season. bucks love bedding on edges and just in from the edge. the most productive is the stuff is ones scattered with hemlocks with a good defined line of mast and brows. laurel typically grows better on western and northern sides of ridges where there is better shade threw out the day. ledges benches points and knolls are always the best bedding. rhododendron prefers wetter soil and is located in drainage areas in mountains lake shores and swamps. rhododendron also grows much bigger and is more palatable for deer. deer love eating the buds in late season and they chew the leaves year round. if you spend some time scouting these areas you can see a definitive brows line on them even with sign washed away you can find hot spots in these areas buy following brows lines. treat every patch as a transition and walk all the edges of them. i see a lot of mature bucks cursing threw these areas in daylight during the rut. heavy thick laurel and rhododendron are one of the safest, and best areas too find mature bucks.


This is spot on with my experiences with laurel. It seems to grow in 2-5 acre patches in my area, mostly on the north side of a ridge which sets up perfect with the S-SW winds we get in the early season. I tend to hunt the edges of these patches on the downwind side. I can usually find the exit trails by old rubs leading from the beds that are just inside the edge of it. The buck in my profile pic was killed exactly like I described in early season. Access can be tough but if you can find a way in and get close to the edge it can be an awesome setup!

i think getting too that edge is when 95% of the people mess up on these spots and dont see deer when i find mature buck beds in laurel they can almost always see well over a hundred yards or they can hear you closing in from the side. getting in the beds and really visualizing how close you can get is important. i always like hanging a orange hat or TP overall er the bed and getting super dialed on the tree i can get away with. and when i approach that tree i keep it between me and the deer for as far as possible preferably using other ground cover between me and the deer. i also spend a lot of time glassing over the edge before i even try making my final approach.


That’s some great advice. Especially using the orange hat. Thanks for sharing !
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby flinginairos » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:23 am

I've posted this video before, but this shows in detail how this buck was bedded and how I got in on him. He was bedded right on the edge of this patch of laurel. Interesting note....about half of the bucks on my wall were killed from this bedding area. It holds mature bucks year after year.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SKe4g5PNC0
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby Steelhead125 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:32 am

Great stuff !
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby Steelhead125 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:39 am

One thing I have noticed in my area is a lot of the laurel patches are not on the leeward side of the ridge. Any of you encounter this issue ? If so do you not focus as much on these types of places because they are windward ?
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby flinginairos » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:56 am

Steelhead125 wrote:One thing I have noticed in my area is a lot of the laurel patches are not on the leeward side of the ridge. Any of you encounter this issue ? If so do you not focus as much on these types of places because they are windward ?


I bet at some point of the year they are "leeward". I have a spot on a South facing slope that is great on a N wind which isn't the predominant wind for this area. I would scout them out and see what the sign tells you and hunt them based on the wind. Might be a spot you only hunt one time a year.
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:57 am

flinginairos wrote:I've posted this video before, but this shows in detail how this buck was bedded and how I got in on him. He was bedded right on the edge of this patch of laurel. Interesting note....about half of the bucks on my wall were killed from this bedding area. It holds mature bucks year after year.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SKe4g5PNC0

thats a good one bring memories of alot of hunts ive had over the years
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Re: Mountain Laurel

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:03 am

flinginairos wrote:
Steelhead125 wrote:One thing I have noticed in my area is a lot of the laurel patches are not on the leeward side of the ridge. Any of you encounter this issue ? If so do you not focus as much on these types of places because they are windward ?


I bet at some point of the year they are "leeward". I have a spot on a South facing slope that is great on a N wind which isn't the predominant wind for this area. I would scout them out and see what the sign tells you and hunt them based on the wind. Might be a spot you only hunt one time a year.

laurel does not always need leeward for bedding for holding big bucks there is enough advantage from cover and line of sight and sound that they can be any wind bedding alot of the year you can think of it swamp bedding patterns in hills in a lot of spots some do work better using hill country bedding tactics but its not always the rule when your dealing with that much cover.
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