Clear Cut Tactics

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funderburk
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Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby funderburk » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:39 pm

What are your tactics for hunting thick and nasty clear cuts (4-5 years and up)?


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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby ThePreBanMan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:51 pm

There's a couple I hunt near and they are just too thick to even entertain the thought of trying to get into. They're managed by private land trusts who clear cut them every 10 or so years to facilitate thick heavy brush for nesting songbirds. The land is pretty well managed by the trust for wildlife and has a mix of clear cut, timber, and swamp. I've followed some deer trails through it a couple of times and found a couple of beds. So I know they're in there. No real way to hunt them though. No mature trees and really no way to get through it without a bulldozer absent using the actual deer trail. Even the deer trails are rough going as it's choked out with greenbriar. It's tight tight tight. Amazing the deer even get through it. You can cut a trail, clearing etc. to hunt and it's overgrown in a month. Do it any closer to the season and the deer will be gone. I've thought about the step ladder / marsh tactic. Absolutely no way to get it in there though. That greenbriar seems to grow a foot every week! I find it hard to hunt. The deer that do hang out in there are pretty good about not coming out until after dark. Once the leaves fall it empties out. Probably a combination of hunting pressure, chasing/rut and changing food sources. They seem to gravitate to the swamps at that point.
I've hunted the transition between the clear cut and the timber but they have never made it to me during shooting hours. The timber is pretty open and so they're in no rush to get to it during daylight it seems. There's a mix of white/red oaks, and maple with some holy mixed in. When acorns are dropping and the maple leaves are yellow and just hit the ground it's like an all you can eat buffet. You would think they would be all over those acorns and the sign is there. But they're just too wise.

Sorry I couldn't help. I've had my struggles with them too. I still hunt it from time to time though. I'm stubborn and I want to figure it out. But in truth - I think the deer have the hunter figured out. The other side of the clear cut (the prevailing upwind side) also abuts private which is posted. They know where they're safe it seems.
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby funderburk » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:00 am

ThePreBanMan wrote:There's a couple I hunt near and they are just too thick to even entertain the thought of trying to get into. They're managed by private land trusts who clear cut them every 10 or so years to facilitate thick heavy brush for nesting songbirds. The land is pretty well managed by the trust for wildlife and has a mix of clear cut, timber, and swamp. I've followed some deer trails through it a couple of times and found a couple of beds. So I know they're in there. No real way to hunt them though. No mature trees and really no way to get through it without a bulldozer absent using the actual deer trail. Even the deer trails are rough going as it's choked out with greenbriar. It's tight tight tight. Amazing the deer even get through it. You can cut a trail, clearing etc. to hunt and it's overgrown in a month. Do it any closer to the season and the deer will be gone. I've thought about the step ladder / marsh tactic. Absolutely no way to get it in there though. That greenbriar seems to grow a foot every week! I find it hard to hunt. The deer that do hang out in there are pretty good about not coming out until after dark. Once the leaves fall it empties out. Probably a combination of hunting pressure, chasing/rut and changing food sources. They seem to gravitate to the swamps at that point.
I've hunted the transition between the clear cut and the timber but they have never made it to me during shooting hours. The timber is pretty open and so they're in no rush to get to it during daylight it seems. There's a mix of white/red oaks, and maple with some holy mixed in. When acorns are dropping and the maple leaves are yellow and just hit the ground it's like an all you can eat buffet. You would think they would be all over those acorns and the sign is there. But they're just too wise.

Sorry I couldn't help. I've had my struggles with them too. I still hunt it from time to time though. I'm stubborn and I want to figure it out. But in truth - I think the deer have the hunter figured out. The other side of the clear cut (the prevailing upwind side) also abuts private which is posted. They know where they're safe it seems.


Never thought about the ladder tactic for cuts. That would work well for a few of the younger ones around here. Gonna have to try that.

I walked one the other week that was too nasty and thick for me to push through, let alone hunt. Can’t imagine anybody else trudging through it successfully. Hard to doubt that a monster or two might be living in there untouched...
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby Southern Man » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:06 am

I generally hunt the edge where signs of movement in and out are. Clearcuts here are somewhat small where I hunt. Maybe 10 - 15 acres in a cut. I scout in winter and if I can find good beds, I try to piece them together with movement patterns and if there is access where I can get in, set up, and hunt with out scaring everything out, I'll hunt those.
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby funderburk » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:50 am

Southern Man wrote:I generally hunt the edge where signs of movement in and out are. Clearcuts here are somewhat small where I hunt. Maybe 10 - 15 acres in a cut. I scout in winter and if I can find good beds, I try to piece them together with movement patterns and if there is access where I can get in, set up, and hunt with out scaring everything out, I'll hunt those.


Sounds a lot like what we have around here. Have you had more success early season, rut, or late season over cuts?
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby Ack » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:58 am

There have been several clearcut topics over the years if you do a search....this article also has some great information....

viewtopic.php?f=159&t=1550
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby funderburk » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:33 pm

Ack wrote:There have been several clearcut topics over the years if you do a search....this article also has some great information....

viewtopic.php?f=159&t=1550


Incredible. Thank you sir
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby matt1336 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:44 pm

Cattail Marsh rules usually apply for clear cuts as well
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby funderburk » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:02 am

matt1336 wrote:Cattail Marsh rules usually apply for clear cuts as well


Yep. I’ve recently started seeing the connection. Dan told me (and I paraphrase) water is the thing that keeps the swamps and cuts different (Dan, correct if I’m wrong).

With that said, would finding water sources in cuts narrow bedding and travel? I’m thinking creeks and drainages mainly...
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby matt1336 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:32 am

Bed beds in cuts....I’d look for elevation changes. Anything that would give a deer a sight advantage. The group of seed trees in the middle. Sometimes they’ll leave some oaks standing for seed. These are what I’d be looking for
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby Dalton916 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:35 am

The article linked to above is good, but take the time frames mentioned with a grain of salt. In the south, a winter clear cut will be chest high in vegetation and covered in browse by July. Also, you don't have but a handful of years to hunt it before it becomes a field of row cropped pines that are damn near impossible to hunt. The good news is; if you've hunted since it became a clear cut you will have all the knowledge you will need to be successful hunting the edges of it as the planted pines force you out.

For me the three things to look for in a clear cut are North-South ridges and draws, narrows in the cut that run perpendicular to the prevailing wind and small drains.

N-S ridges and draws will provide bedding cover that either hides or exposes the deer from the sun. Earlier in the season when it's warm they will tend to be on the west facing slopes to avoid the sun and later in the season they will be on the east facing slopes to catch the morning sun.

Narrows in the cut that run perpendicular to the wind will more often than not have bedding on both edges along the transition. Add something desirable to the deer on each end and it only gets better.

Small drains like intermittent creeks or depressions formed by runoff will become deer super highways as the cut matures. When it's first cut, they are denuded and any subsequent rain causes much more water than normal to run down them. This cleans them out and sweeps away most of the seed in the little bit of soil that is there to begin with. This results in a bare ground depression, the growth alongside of which gets accelerated even more. Soon you have a bare ground tunnel the deer can travel in the shade and unseen. They WILL use it to their advantage.

Lastly, we all see the summer time bean field footage of velvet bucks coming out of the midwest, well, as I believe someone mentioned above, these clear cuts are your bean fields in the south. If you have one you can hunt and it's easily accessible enough for you utilize this time of year take a camera and go sit on it and watch. Heck, take a topo map of the area with you and mark drains not shown on the 1:24 map and any deer sightings you see. Draw a track on the map of where the deer traveled while in sight because by the end of the summer, if you've made several sits, the lines you've drawn will really narrow down where the deer are bedding.

They're fun to hunt, but take a range finder and also spend some time this summer shooting out to 300yds.
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Re: Clear Cut Tactics

Unread postby Twenty Up » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:49 am

Dalton916 wrote:The article linked to above is good, but take the time frames mentioned with a grain of salt. In the south, a winter clear cut will be chest high in vegetation and covered in browse by July. Also, you don't have but a handful of years to hunt it before it becomes a field of row cropped pines that are damn near impossible to hunt. The good news is; if you've hunted since it became a clear cut you will have all the knowledge you will need to be successful hunting the edges of it as the planted pines force you out.

For me the three things to look for in a clear cut are North-South ridges and draws, narrows in the cut that run perpendicular to the prevailing wind and small drains.

N-S ridges and draws will provide bedding cover that either hides or exposes the deer from the sun. Earlier in the season when it's warm they will tend to be on the west facing slopes to avoid the sun and later in the season they will be on the east facing slopes to catch the morning sun.

Narrows in the cut that run perpendicular to the wind will more often than not have bedding on both edges along the transition. Add something desirable to the deer on each end and it only gets better.

Small drains like intermittent creeks or depressions formed by runoff will become deer super highways as the cut matures. When it's first cut, they are denuded and any subsequent rain causes much more water than normal to run down them. This cleans them out and sweeps away most of the seed in the little bit of soil that is there to begin with. This results in a bare ground depression, the growth alongside of which gets accelerated even more. Soon you have a bare ground tunnel the deer can travel in the shade and unseen. They WILL use it to their advantage.

Lastly, we all see the summer time bean field footage of velvet bucks coming out of the midwest, well, as I believe someone mentioned above, these clear cuts are your bean fields in the south. If you have one you can hunt and it's easily accessible enough for you utilize this time of year take a camera and go sit on it and watch. Heck, take a topo map of the area with you and mark drains not shown on the 1:24 map and any deer sightings you see. Draw a track on the map of where the deer traveled while in sight because by the end of the summer, if you've made several sits, the lines you've drawn will really narrow down where the deer are bedding.

They're fun to hunt, but take a range finder and also spend some time this summer shooting out to 300yds.


Devils in the details!

A lot of very good info here :clap:
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