Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

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Double Draw
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Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Thu May 02, 2019 2:38 pm

Overlooked spots get mentioned on The Beast a fair amount. I thought it might be nice if we could share in one thread examples of kills or observed mature bucks during scouting in overlooked spots. For our purposes a mature buck is relative to your location but probably 3.5-4.5 years old in most places. Share as much or as little as you would like. Stories are welcome. Varying examples of overlooked spots are encouraged if you have observed them. If able to do so, please describe the type of land you are giving an example for such as hill country, farmland, swamp, etc.

Here is my initial contribution for this thread...This example is for swamp bed hunting. Most of the places I hunt are fairly flat and wet with swamps scattered throughout a mix of hardwoods and thick undergrowth. Both during last hunting season and this winter/spring scouting I am regularly finding one big buck in the first swamp closest to the road/parking lots on public ground. I can think of at least 4 current public land properties that this is the case. Some of these swamps are literally right along the road/parking lot and a few are several hundred yards in but nothing beyond a quarter mile. Some of these swamps are only an acre and some are 10 acres. What I have found consistently in these locations is the mature buck bedding is usually somewhere in the middle of the swamp with mostly standing water surrounding him except for occasional 5'x5' to 10'x10' dry spots which is where he beds. In these cases there are usually deciduous tree(s) that help form the dry ground and thus the bed (no conifers in my examples). There may be one or up to five closely growing trees by the bed but nothing big as it is almost always surrounded by standing water even in summer. I have found success in locating these areas by walking the transition all the way around the swamp and looking for rubs. From rub locations I walk into near the center of the swamp and look for raised beds. Some of these spots show up on a topo as one contour line higher but many do not. If they do show up they are usually very small circles or ovals. In reality the mini islands may only be a foot higher than the water level but apparently that bumps it into the next 20' spot on the topo. These spots require still hunting as there aren't trees big enough to hang a stand on.

My theory on why I am finding these overlooked spots in these close-to-the road spots even in highly pressured PA public? My observations tell me 80% of hunters won't go deeper than that first swamp. However, they set up on the transition. No doubt these bucks have nerves of steel because they can certainly smell hunters around them. But they hold their ground because 'everyone' hunts the woods or transition and the water is like the Great Wall of China to most hunters (apparently). On the other hand, I think those who might enter such a location and stealth-like stalk a mature buck are walking past these spots thinking the mature bucks have been pressured into places that require a lot of walking. In most cases they are correct but not always. So to summarize, those who are in the right spot won't go into the immediate swamp deep enough and those that would are walking past it. This makes for a mature survivor of a buck.

Now it's your turn. Examples of overlooked spots where you've harvested a mature buck or seen one scouting.


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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu May 02, 2019 4:04 pm

I’ve KILLED deer near roads where there’s a deep ditch full of water near the road. Basically anything that’s not fun and uncomfortable to walk in= less human pressure. If it offers deer security by giving them a sight and smell advantage with an escape route you’ll find deer. The really hard part is accessing the areas without detection. Too often guys think “overlooked” means they get an easy hunt. That’s not been my experience. Creative access has lead to some of my easiest places to get to.
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Thu May 02, 2019 5:00 pm

matt1336 wrote:I’ve KILLED deer near roads where there’s a deep ditch full of water near the road. Basically anything that’s not fun and uncomfortable to walk in= less human pressure. If it offers deer security by giving them a sight and smell advantage with an escape route you’ll find deer. The really hard part is accessing the areas without detection. Too often guys think “overlooked” means they get an easy hunt. That’s not been my experience. Creative access has lead to some of my easiest places to get to.


Good example, 1336! Thanks for sharing. And your point is well taken that 'overlooked spots' aren't easy. My example requires stalking through water and shooting the beast before he sees me.
Last edited by Double Draw on Thu May 02, 2019 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Thu May 02, 2019 5:26 pm

Double Draw wrote:Overlooked spots get mentioned on The Beast a fair amount. I thought it might be nice if we could share in one thread examples of kills or observed mature bucks during scouting in overlooked spots. For our purposes a mature buck is relative to your location but probably 3.5-4.5 years old in most places. Share as much or as little as you would like. Stories are welcome. Varying examples of overlooked spots are encouraged if you have observed them. If able to do so, please describe the type of land you are giving an example for such as hill country, farmland, swamp, etc.

Here is my initial contribution for this thread...This example is for swamp bed hunting. Most of the places I hunt are fairly flat and wet with swamps scattered throughout a mix of hardwoods and thick undergrowth. Both during last hunting season and this winter/spring scouting I am regularly finding one big buck in the first swamp closest to the road/parking lots on public ground. I can think of at least 4 current public land properties that this is the case. Some of these swamps are literally right along the road/parking lot and a few are several hundred yards in but nothing beyond a quarter mile. Some of these swamps are only an acre and some are 10 acres. What I have found consistently in these locations is the mature buck bedding is usually somewhere in the middle of the swamp with mostly standing water surrounding him except for occasional 5'x5' to 10'x10' dry spots which is where he beds. In these cases there are usually deciduous tree(s) that help form the dry ground and thus the bed (no conifers in my examples). There may be one or up to five closely growing trees by the bed but nothing big as it is almost always surrounded by standing water even in summer. I have found success in locating these areas by walking the transition all the way around the swamp and looking for rubs. From rub locations I walk into near the center of the swamp and look for raised beds. Some of these spots show up on a topo as one contour line higher but many do not. If they do show up they are usually very small circles or ovals. In reality the mini islands may only be a foot higher than the water level but apparently that bumps it into the next 20' spot on the topo. These spots require still hunting as there aren't trees big enough to hang a stand on.

My theory on why I am finding these overlooked spots in these close-to-the road spots even in highly pressured PA public? My observations tell me 80% of hunters won't go deeper than that first swamp. However, they set up on the transition. No doubt these bucks have nerves of steel because they can certainly smell hunters around them. But they hold their ground because 'everyone' hunts the woods or transition and the water is like the Great Wall of China to most hunters (apparently). On the other hand, I think those who might enter such a location and stealth-like stalk a mature buck are walking past these spots thinking the mature bucks have been pressured into places that require a lot of walking. In most cases they are correct but not always. So to summarize, those who are in the right spot won't go into the immediate swamp deep enough and those that would are walking past it. This makes for a mature survivor of a buck.

Now it's your turn. Examples of overlooked spots where you've harvested a mature buck or seen one scouting.


Here's an aerial on one of the places I am describing. Notice the swamp begins right at the road. Blue is the transition line. Pink is his trail but it can't really be seen except where he crosses the mini high islands and with some effort the grasses that grow in the water. Rubs only begin on the dry ground. The buck icon is his best looking bed.

Image
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby matt1336 » Fri May 03, 2019 1:38 am

Double Draw wrote:
matt1336 wrote:I’ve KILLED deer near roads where there’s a deep ditch full of water near the road. Basically anything that’s not fun and uncomfortable to walk in= less human pressure. If it offers deer security by giving them a sight and smell advantage with an escape route you’ll find deer. The really hard part is accessing the areas without detection. Too often guys think “overlooked” means they get an easy hunt. That’s not been my experience. Creative access has lead to some of my easiest places to get to.


Good example, 1336! Thanks for sharing. And your point is well taken that 'overlooked spots' aren't easy. My example requires stalking through water and shooting the beast before he sees me.




That’s a challenge!!
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby G-Patt » Fri May 03, 2019 8:45 am

Public land, hill country. Right where everyone parks to hunt, there is a man-made trail that bisects a main vehicle road. You can hunt the land on both sides of the vehicle road. After parking, your first inclination is to walk the man-made trail way back into the woods presumably away from all of the other hunters. The problem is too many people do this. Last January (snow on the ground), instead of walking the man-made trail into the woods, I decided to walk the vehicle road that leads toward a lake about a mile away. While walking down the road, I saw large buck and doe tracks crossing and heading into the direction of a large ditch that forms part of a much larger ravine that runs into this lake (still in the designated hunting area). The head of the ditch created a pinch that funneled the deer traffic around the ravine. What a honey hole! This spot was located less than 500 yards from the parking lot and had no hunting sign or pressure. During my sit, I didn't see any bucks, but I saw a lot of does, some of which were within 15 yards.

I realize this doesn't satisfy your inquiry about large bucks, but this is an example of an overlooked spot, and had it been rut when I hunted it, I'm sure to find bucks cruising this area.
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:19 am

Another overlooked spot example I have encountered numerous times is created by railroad beds. Bucks will bed very close to the railroad tracks just off the stones used to make the raised area for the tracks. There are several reasons, I believe, why big bucks bed near a RR berm. First, the berm creates a good place for a slight elevation of security/backdrop behind the buck as the wind blows over the top of the berm. Second, RRs are private property so you can't sneak in on a buck very easily for this reason. Third, even if you did walk the privately owned tracks (and i have observed people do it) a buck can pick you off easily bc you are skylighted and walking on stones can be noisy.
Btw, my observations are such that trains don't really bother deer bc of the frequency with which they travel the tracks. They seem to have accepted them as part of their environment.
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby dan » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:16 am

This is a great article that shows a drawing of one of my over looked set ups...
Click on the link:
https://www.fieldandstream.com/articles ... xt-to-the/
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby <DK> » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:46 am

Overlooked spots are tough to find sometimes. Sure its easy to find some deer bedding around but finding great overlooked buck bedding is a difficult task for me. When I hear Dan talk about oldest bucks being in overlooked spots, it just sounded like an obvious statement. However finding these spots is not as easy as saying it. I find them much easier in flat land with thick cover. I do find hill bedding but I find it much harder to find a shooter buck or its difficult to read the sign.

Iv had great luck getting onto good bucks out walking other hunters, but by far the biggest beds and/or oldest bucks iv scouted have been in these spots. Both flat farmland properties;

*Image

This bedding area is only 1500ft away from the road. Its a high pressure, urban zone property with a popular boat ramp. I found it from driving but bc the map really didnt show its character. Once I saw it from the road, realized its potential but could not see it on a map the same way. It took searching for different map sites to see it properly on a ariel map.

I knew going in to take a cam with me and was right to do so. Not a single doe on camera in 4-5 weeks - all bucks. Notice the vegitation and how there is no trees to set a stand in. I found maybe 2 I felt was safe to do so.

These are the two best bucks on cam out of at least 6-7 different bucks
Image Image


*Image

This spot is pretty unique and I was really excited me to find it. Definitely the largest beds and tracks iv ever found. About 1/2 mile from access road BUT to get in w/o detecting deer its a difficult task. Even after being an aggressive hunter this long, its one of those spots that worried me to hunt it wrong. I felt like i only had 1 good chance to get it done. I did not set a cam here. The bedding, tracks, food/water and only 1 stand location made it very easy to lay off it. Its the coolest d*mn spot iv ever found.

Image

Image

Image Image

*My stand location and the bucks water location. He was able to eat, drink & sleep w/o a single person knowing he was around.

Image

Image
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:04 am

dan wrote:This is a great article that shows a drawing of one of my over looked set ups...
Click on the link:
https://www.fieldandstream.com/articles ... xt-to-the/


Thanks, Dan! I appreciate all that you do to share what you've learned. I don't hear this talked about on here much but you are a naturally gifted teacher. And a generous one, too.
Thanks for the example from the article.
DD
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby Double Draw » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:07 am

<DK> wrote:Overlooked spots are tough to find sometimes. Sure its easy to find some deer bedding around but finding great overlooked buck bedding is a difficult task for me. When I hear Dan talk about oldest bucks being in overlooked spots, it just sounded like an obvious statement. However finding these spots is not as easy as saying it. I find them much easier in flat land with thick cover. I do find hill bedding but I find it much harder to find a shooter buck or its difficult to read the sign.

Iv had great luck getting onto good bucks out walking other hunters, but by far the biggest beds and/or oldest bucks iv scouted have been in these spots. Both flat farmland properties;

*Image

This bedding area is only 1500ft away from the road. Its a high pressure, urban zone property with a popular boat ramp. I found it from driving but bc the map really didnt show its character. Once I saw it from the road, realized its potential but could not see it on a map the same way. It took searching for different map sites to see it properly on a ariel map.

I knew going in to take a cam with me and was right to do so. Not a single doe on camera in 4-5 weeks - all bucks. Notice the vegitation and how there is no trees to set a stand in. I found maybe 2 I felt was safe to do so.

These are the two best bucks on cam out of at least 6-7 different bucks
Image Image


*Image

This spot is pretty unique and I was really excited me to find it. Definitely the largest beds and tracks iv ever found. About 1/2 mile from access road BUT to get in w/o detecting deer its a difficult task. Even after being an aggressive hunter this long, its one of those spots that worried me to hunt it wrong. I felt like i only had 1 good chance to get it done. I did not set a cam here. The bedding, tracks, food/water and only 1 stand location made it very easy to lay off it. Its the coolest d*mn spot iv ever found.

Image

Image

Image Image

*My stand location and the bucks water location. He was able to eat, drink & sleep w/o a single person knowing he was around.

Image

Image


DK,
Thanks for taking the time to write up, illustrate and show pictures of your examples. They spur the hunter to imagine more possibilities and they communicate well the set up you have. You have some great spots there! Best wishes this season.
DD
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby justdirtyfun » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:47 pm

example.JPG


Here is a place that I found beds in the spring but did not hunt. From the busy parking lot to beds was under 100 yards. They could have wind over back, visual and sound observations of people and have a water barrier to minimize disturbance. Just for good measure of typical overlooked places, the hillside is also the property boundary.

The more of the qualities you recognize and find in one place, the better the chance of a high success rate. Boots on the ground did not indicate a slam dunk big buck hangout but I appreciate the coincidence of all the ingredients.
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Re: Overlooked Spots-Deer Harvest and Scouting Examples

Unread postby BBH1980 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:04 pm

Double Draw wrote:Overlooked spots get mentioned on The Beast a fair amount. I thought it might be nice if we could share in one thread examples of kills or observed mature bucks during scouting in overlooked spots. For our purposes a mature buck is relative to your location but probably 3.5-4.5 years old in most places. Share as much or as little as you would like. Stories are welcome. Varying examples of overlooked spots are encouraged if you have observed them. If able to do so, please describe the type of land you are giving an example for such as hill country, farmland, swamp, etc.

Here is my initial contribution for this thread...This example is for swamp bed hunting. Most of the places I hunt are fairly flat and wet with swamps scattered throughout a mix of hardwoods and thick undergrowth. Both during last hunting season and this winter/spring scouting I am regularly finding one big buck in the first swamp closest to the road/parking lots on public ground. I can think of at least 4 current public land properties that this is the case. Some of these swamps are literally right along the road/parking lot and a few are several hundred yards in but nothing beyond a quarter mile. Some of these swamps are only an acre and some are 10 acres. What I have found consistently in these locations is the mature buck bedding is usually somewhere in the middle of the swamp with mostly standing water surrounding him except for occasional 5'x5' to 10'x10' dry spots which is where he beds. In these cases there are usually deciduous tree(s) that help form the dry ground and thus the bed (no conifers in my examples). There may be one or up to five closely growing trees by the bed but nothing big as it is almost always surrounded by standing water even in summer. I have found success in locating these areas by walking the transition all the way around the swamp and looking for rubs. From rub locations I walk into near the center of the swamp and look for raised beds. Some of these spots show up on a topo as one contour line higher but many do not. If they do show up they are usually very small circles or ovals. In reality the mini islands may only be a foot higher than the water level but apparently that bumps it into the next 20' spot on the topo. These spots require still hunting as there aren't trees big enough to hang a stand on.

My theory on why I am finding these overlooked spots in these close-to-the road spots even in highly pressured PA public? My observations tell me 80% of hunters won't go deeper than that first swamp. However, they set up on the transition. No doubt these bucks have nerves of steel because they can certainly smell hunters around them. But they hold their ground because 'everyone' hunts the woods or transition and the water is like the Great Wall of China to most hunters (apparently). On the other hand, I think those who might enter such a location and stealth-like stalk a mature buck are walking past these spots thinking the mature bucks have been pressured into places that require a lot of walking. In most cases they are correct but not always. So to summarize, those who are in the right spot won't go into the immediate swamp deep enough and those that would are walking past it. This makes for a mature survivor of a buck.

Now it's your turn. Examples of overlooked spots where you've harvested a mature buck or seen one scouting.



Thanks for this topic... I am on PA public as well and I hunt exactly what you described. This was my first winter/spring bed scouting and I've walked a ton of transition. As you described some small swamps some bigger but always heavy cover and scattered throughout hardwoods/oaks. It's awefully temping to hunt those oaks or right at the transitions where the sign is. The best sign I found was close to the road near parking .. 0 hunter sign. Another spot was right on a small swamp transition looking up an oak ridge with a parking lot on top.... Like he was just watching for hunters to walk down I know there are very mature deer in there as it's a huge area. They basically run circles around hunters during the rifle season hoping from one swamp to another and it's so sense you just can't get a shot. I still haven't quite figured out how I'm gonna hunt the area yet lol. Any advice would be appreciated! One thing... I wasn't finding a lot of big rubs. Old ones yes but nothing real fresh. I know there's mature bucks in there but it's puzzling.


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