Stacked Hill Country Bucks-Critique My Thoughts

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Double Draw
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Stacked Hill Country Bucks-Critique My Thoughts

Unread postby Double Draw » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:20 pm

I have gone to dozens of hill country locations this spring to scout. I have found Dan's baseline theory - leeward side, wind over the back, 2/3rdsish up the hill to be spot on. I almost always find beds there especially when there are steep drop offs in front of the bed and/or heavy cover behind it. I like to think of it as the focal point from which to branch out looking for other beds. On hills where there is at least several hundred feet elevation change I am finding beds at almost every elevation where either a point (sometimes revealed on topo, sometimes not) creates a 'pillow' of flat ground for the deer to bed in especially above steep terrain. These places would be green locations on the accompanying random topo...(Disclaimer: I have not been to this location. All of it is private land. I just chose a random spot through onX. But it is a typical spot like I have scouted).
A couple of questions regarding how bucks and mature bucks bed in this regard:
1) It almost seems that bucks (not sure if I can say mature bucks confidently) stack themselves on the leeward side (the green locations on my map) wherever there is adequate cover behind-pink on my topo (good), an open, steep view in front (also good) or both (great). This means several bucks at various elevations could be simultaneously using the same hillside at different heights. I know the beds are there bc I have seen them so I know they are used SOMETIME. Do you buy this stacked bucks concept?
2) If the above is true it seems to me it would be the equivalent of the swamp hierarchy where the mature buck gets the secluded island bed and other lesser bucks bed 'around or near' him. On the hills, the mature buck gets the best bed that ideally has back cover, a good open front view and is nearest the wind/thermal tunnel. Everyone else takes there place based off of him. Have you observed this?
3) An alternative bedding scenario would be that bucks share the same leeward hillside but usually bed simultaneously at or near the same elevation line (yellow on my map). Does this carry merit in your opinion?
4) We talk about military crests and their importance. Maybe it is just the hills near where I live but it almost seems that there are a series of military crests on SOME hillsides. That is there is the true military crest near the top but you can't actually see the bottom bc of cover. Then a series of mini military crests, each with good bedding, as one descends the hillside. Some may call these benches but some are very subtle that I have explored that do not merit being called a bench. Some are just 'slots' in the hillside with gentle slope behind and steep drop off in front. Other locations are steep above AND below but have access from either side for a buck to walk in and bed. This creates the stacked scenario I hypothesize. Do you see this where you hunt?
5) Wind speed, weather and temperature seem to have a big impact on the best place on a hillside for a mature buck to bed. I know there are many, many other variables. However, have you noticed any trends that are noteworthy (i.e. windier=lower or higher on a hill; less temperature change from night to day and back means mature bucks bed higher or lower, etc.)?
Hoping to have a robust discussion! Share your opinions and especially observations. Thanks!
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Re: Stacked Hill Country Bucks-Critique My Thoughts

Unread postby dan » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:28 pm

Every situation is so different I think your going to get multiple answers, and I think many different answers will be right, or somewhat right... I think in some cases bucks shift bedding up the hill based on time of day / thermal activity... I also think does and lesser bucks often bed above or below the big bucks.
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Re: Stacked Hill Country Bucks-Critique My Thoughts

Unread postby Tennhunter3 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:00 pm

1 yes
2 yes
3 yes
4 Benches depend alot on steepness of the hill. In my scouting I only find obvious benches in steep terrain Usually on slopes very difficult to climb up from the bottom.

In every good buck I've seen leaving bedding had a transition to his back or side thick cover near the location. They don't always have back cover though I think they prefer it.

I know one mature buck that beds on a point with a very thick clearcut pine transition 30 yards west of him he has no back cover. This buck walks into the wind I think more then not leaving bedding. Though he uses this bed on a wind blowing torward the North.

Bed height I would think shifts alot depending on heat of the day and thermal pull.
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Re: Stacked Hill Country Bucks-Critique My Thoughts

Unread postby RidgeGhost » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:54 am

Good observations. I find beds in a similar layout. But I dont think its multiple bucks bedding together along a ridge. I think it's one buck moving beds for the exact wind conditions each day. I'm sure there are cases where its multiple bucks, but not in super low deer density where I am.

Lots of times the flats along the steep ridge are just old root balls that have filled in and flattened out over time. Just enough flat space for a buck to lay without rolling down the hill. If you can find a destination a long the same elevation as the beds it makes it much easier to hunt. Also possible to hunt above the beds if hes moving uphill when he gets up. But very difficult to hunt below one.

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