Let's talk sign!

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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PK_
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby PK_ » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:08 am

Boogieman1 wrote:
PK_ wrote:It sounds like you are hunting the kind of ground I try to stay the heck away from. :lol:

Some terrain is just way harder than others. There is no way around it. In those landscapes where sign is not very visible or telling, I just hunt the terrain. I hunt where I expect to have an opportunity to kill a mature buck, sign or no sign means nothing to me. If there are no terrain features or ecotones to key in on either, then buddy you really have your work cut out for you, even more so with a bow, even more so with a stick bow...

Good luck.

Whatever the heck u do certainly works! Guessing those Kentucky road trips your hunting wind and terrain. I've got good terrain to give myself a close opportunity so I have no complaints. Guess it's just human nature to hear what others have going and assume u r doing something wrong. When in actuality its figuring out how to make lemonade with the lemons u have at your disposal

Lol

Well if there is terrain to work off of then any sign I find I will correlate to that terrain. Hopefully I can connect it with known or suspected bedding and hopefully a pinchpont or thick edge or something to narrow my efforts... as I am typing this I feel this is far too elementary to be the true nature of your question...

In terrain where bed and food is widespread and integrated, combined with low deer numbers it can be tough because those big older bucks seem very nomadic once their antlers harden. I believe it is because they range a long ways in order to maximize the amount of does they can breed in a season (this is purely anecdotal). I do think most of those old bucks do hold down a small core that we simply never find. But instead of a circuit, that buck might run 3 or 4 circuits, large circuits, in different directions if that makes sense. So you aren’t seeing him on a daily routine. It is more like once or twice a week he may come thru and when he comes thru it may be a 1/4 mile off where he came thru last time or it may be right in his old tracks.

Just to put it in perspective I have hunted some open terrain that fits this bill. Almost never will you sit there and see the same buck move along the same edge or do the same thing in a 3 day period(save for a buck locked down with a doe). But you will see multiple different bucks doing a similar movement pattern. This is why I focus on terrain or observed buck movement and I setup and let the buck come to me. Trying to hunt down a specific deer is real tough as far as finding sign and moving in on him I just don’t see it happen often.

The other thing I do is hunt doe groups. Idk why but those family groups seem to stick tight to home. You can watch them bed and feed day after day in the same spots. The bucks know where these doe groups are, obviously. If you see a good buck with a doe group take notice of the date. The same does seem to come in at the same time each year. It still isn’t easy and can take years to get enough intel to start to capitalize on, but it’s just another piece of the puzzle...

There’s my tangent.


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stash59
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby stash59 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:29 am

PK_ wrote:
Boogieman1 wrote:
PK_ wrote:It sounds like you are hunting the kind of ground I try to stay the heck away from. :lol:

Some terrain is just way harder than others. There is no way around it. In those landscapes where sign is not very visible or telling, I just hunt the terrain. I hunt where I expect to have an opportunity to kill a mature buck, sign or no sign means nothing to me. If there are no terrain features or ecotones to key in on either, then buddy you really have your work cut out for you, even more so with a bow, even more so with a stick bow...

Good luck.

Whatever the heck u do certainly works! Guessing those Kentucky road trips your hunting wind and terrain. I've got good terrain to give myself a close opportunity so I have no complaints. Guess it's just human nature to hear what others have going and assume u r doing something wrong. When in actuality its figuring out how to make lemonade with the lemons u have at your disposal

Lol

Well if there is terrain to work off of then any sign I find I will correlate to that terrain. Hopefully I can connect it with known or suspected bedding and hopefully a pinchpont or thick edge or something to narrow my efforts... as I am typing this I feel this is far too elementary to be the true nature of your question...

In terrain where bed and food is widespread and integrated, combined with low deer numbers it can be tough because those big older bucks seem very nomadic once their antlers harden. I believe it is because they range a long ways in order to maximize the amount of does they can breed in a season (this is purely anecdotal). I do think most of those old bucks do hold down a small core that we simply never find. But instead of a circuit, that buck might run 3 or 4 circuits, large circuits, in different directions if that makes sense. So you aren’t seeing him on a daily routine. It is more like once or twice a week he may come thru and when he comes thru it may be a 1/4 mile off where he came thru last time or it may be right in his old tracks.

Just to put it in perspective I have hunted some open terrain that fits this bill. Almost never will you sit there and see the same buck move along the same edge or do the same thing in a 3 day period(save for a buck locked down with a doe). But you will see multiple different bucks doing a similar movement pattern. This is why I focus on terrain or observed buck movement and I setup and let the buck come to me. Trying to hunt down a specific deer is real tough as far as finding sign and moving in on him I just don’t see it happen often.

The other thing I do is hunt doe groups. Idk why but those family groups seem to stick tight to home. You can watch them bed and feed day after day in the same spots. The bucks know where these doe groups are, obviously. If you see a good buck with a doe group take notice of the date. The same does seem to come in at the same time each year. It still isn’t easy and can take years to get enough intel to start to capitalize on, but it’s just another piece of the puzzle...

There’s my tangent.


So "hot" sign for an area like this could be like 3 days old.

Whitetails are very adaptable. So we must be too. If hunting varied terrains.
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PK_
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby PK_ » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:09 am

stash59 wrote:So "hot" sign for an area like this could be like 3 days old.

Whitetails are very adaptable. So we must be too. If hunting varied terrains.


I mean it could be. But for me to say that hunting 3 day old sign is better than hunting fresher or older sign would be quite a leap and nothing but speculation on top of what is already a completely anecdotal point of view.

Also if there is a guy who can walk up on a rub and know for sure it is 3 days old and not 5, 6, or 7 days old... honestly it isn’t me. I can tell when it is smoking fresh, <12hours old or 24-48hours old. But anything beyond that I don’t really know for sure and the margin of error can grow a bit...

I think what is trying to be relayed is that in some areas fresh sign is awesome to see but it isn’t the blinking neon sign telling you where that buck may be laying or where he may walk by again today, tomorrow, this week or even this season...

The only times I can really think of being able to really capitalize on fresh big buck sign is when I was able to spend enough time in the same area and the sign continued to show up in the same spots until it finally smacked me in the face.
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby jwangle13 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:57 am

I struggle sometimes finding hot sign. We have alot of draws where I'm at and when you do find a good trail it's hard to know when you have gone too far. Also lots of controlled burns so the low ground seems to be a highway for the deer.

Other times I follow deer trails into the thick stuff and then it seems to stop. It doesnt lead to a bed. My best guess is that is when they split off so no more defined trail. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby Divergent » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:36 pm

I also hunt a few areas that are dry and have hard ground. I’ve had a fair amount of early season success by this tactic I’m about to describe. This works best in early season when they’ve recently shed velvet. I walk the creeks and look for rubs. I’m not interested in hunting this sign. You can usually shorten your scouting time by going straight to a good hub where several ridges drop into one area. Once I decipher which direction a rub or rubs are coming from I’ll backtrack to a ridge with good elevation. Once I find that, I’ll walk the top 1/3rd elevation of the ridge and look for a cluster 2,3,4 rubs close together. This is usually in a location where they bed or stage in daylight. A lot of times there might be a hot white oak or some other type of food source there. This area can be a productive spot to throw a morning or evening sit at, but you stand the chance of getting busted in the AM. I’d suggest only hunting it in the evening. Here’s a video, I just self filmed, showing this tactic.
https://youtu.be/tVElTE_PXvs
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby treeroot » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:10 am

I'm not the best sign reader. My ability to read hot sign takes me 3 days to sometimes get into the running. Usually I like to see a combo, large tracks plus a rub or scrape. Typically I back track towards suspected bedding and setup between it and a destination point. Often I setup to far away and might get a glimpse. Day two I push closer if wind and thermals allow. If nothing happens day 3 I go right to where I think he beds. Usually by day 3 I'm either in the game or blown him out. I hunt a mixture of everything except cattail marsh.

I've had better luck predicting doe patterns and catching bucks setting up for does then just reading sign. Problem is it takes me a long time of observing to predict their movement.

Fast forward 6 years and two kids later I usually only get weekends to hunt. So I'm trying my best this year to go for broke each hunt. See sign I push as far as I dare and set up. I know I'll burn a bunch of locations but I don't have time to play games. 2 hunts in so far setting up 0 bucks seen. But hunt 2 I was close. Two faint trails leading out of bedding I set up on one. He came out the other. Soon as I got down and crossed the other trail there was his tracks and the stank of an old buck filled the air. Maybe catch you next time old chap.

I'm not the best hunter, but I'm enjoying the education.
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby Hawthorne » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:52 am

Who would have a better wall in 10 years. The guy hunting on fresh sign or the guy hunting terrain features? I’d go with terrain
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby stash59 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:20 am

Hawthorne wrote:Who would have a better wall in 10 years. The guy hunting on fresh sign or the guy hunting terrain features? I’d go with terrain


The person hunting both!!!!! ;)
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby Hawthorne » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:44 am

stash59 wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:Who would have a better wall in 10 years. The guy hunting on fresh sign or the guy hunting terrain features? I’d go with terrain


The person hunting both!!!!! ;)



I saw many different bucks and shot one last year hunting a terrain feature out of state. It was hard to see any tracks. Went back this spring and there was only one rub in a big area. Someone looking for sign would of passed it up. There wasn’t a hot doe in there. They were cruising. Most times I don’t look for sign on my way in. I’m going to a specific spot. Have shot nice deer doing that on public and private
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby buttonbuck » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:56 pm

greenhorndave wrote:Right or wrong, I am hunting areas with softer ground. I want to see a track of some relative age and some turds. I'm ok with looking at a beat-down grass trail, but it don't mean much to me when I see it cut through the grass but don't see any tracks in a 10-yard radius where it meets a dirt transition, especially when skirting/circling potential bedding areas from a safe distance. That, to me, says that nobody is home. Why on earth would I set up there? I might have in the past because I was sure something had to be bedding there, but I'm not doing it this year.


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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby Jmitch » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:51 pm

stash59 wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:Who would have a better wall in 10 years. The guy hunting on fresh sign or the guy hunting terrain features? I’d go with terrain


The person hunting both!!!!! ;)

This is exactly why its important to be flexible and adaptable as a hunter. Different tactics will work better in different terrains and times of season. Just because you hunting hot sign adjecant to buck bedding in a marsh or swamp may give you the best shot at a buck early season doesnt mean that hunting terrain in hill country wont be a better option during the rut etc etc. Thats why in my opinion a person should try and learn as much as possible and utilize whatever land options you have to the fullest. No use jamming a square peg in a round hole. What works in hill county may not be the best bet in a swamp or vice versa
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Re: Let's talk sign!

Unread postby greenhorndave » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:33 pm

buttonbuck wrote:
greenhorndave wrote:Right or wrong, I am hunting areas with softer ground. I want to see a track of some relative age and some turds. I'm ok with looking at a beat-down grass trail, but it don't mean much to me when I see it cut through the grass but don't see any tracks in a 10-yard radius where it meets a dirt transition, especially when skirting/circling potential bedding areas from a safe distance. That, to me, says that nobody is home. Why on earth would I set up there? I might have in the past because I was sure something had to be bedding there, but I'm not doing it this year.


“And some turds” I laughed out loud man.

:lol: :clap:
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