public land, rub interpretation

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public land, rub interpretation

Unread postby dv1 » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:21 am

Would like to pose a question to the group here.

There is a small piece of public land I hunt that is very thick, like the entire thing (250+ acres) could be bedding cover. It borders a brackish water marsh, which is mostly mud and muck, some water and no cover. There is only a small housed sized patch or two of frags. It holds some deer but sees tremendous hunting pressure. In the past, there has been a big buck or two wander through in the rut, due to the number of does bedding here. However, in all the years I've hunted this, (25+), I have never seen buck sign like I did last year.

I found a rub line, beginning in the 3rd week of October that had some of the biggest rubs I've seen anywhere. They were high on trees, waist to chin high on me. I'm only 5'6" but they are still some of the highest rubs I've seen, and the trees are not small trees. They range in size from the fat end of a baseball bat to 10+ inches in diameter. There were a few dozen rubs by Oct 27th, and a guy hunting about 1.5 miles away killed a 160+ on private land, so I figured that was him. It wasn't. By mid November, there were dozens more rubs on this path, including clusters of 6, 8 or 10 at a time in one spot. The piece was also full of scrapes and the line ended at a place a very active scrape line crossed it. The cluster at the end of the rub line was just incredible, huge trees, 16 of them, destroyed. The buck was clearly staging here prior to leaving the cover to check the scrapes in the more open terrain.

I've hunted 41 years, including some prime private leases in Ohio for 20 years, and monster buck lands in Maine, and never seen anything like this...and it's public land in NJ. There are literally dozens of stands in this piece, and along the rub line, 9 different ones, including what looks like a double set for a video crew. By Thanksgiving I was convinced it was fake, and it was someone playing games with the guys who had all the stands set up there, using a rasp to make high rubs on huge trees. And it still could be that, but they would have to be dedicated, because a few more showed up in January. I never did see any huge tracks here though. Some good ones, but nothing that made me say "holy cow", like those rubs did.

I did hunt it several times and never saw a buck but winter scouting revealed more of the travel pattern, and there is really only one good way to access it, and I wasn't using it, so I probably ruined my chance before I ever got in the tree. I have the right access this year.

Question is, assuming it's real, and I do now, do you think this buck could actually be bedded right in the middle of all that pressure? He obviously spends a ton of time in this area. Or is it nighttime activity? I'm reluctant to put cams in here as I've had a few of them, and 4 stands stolen here in previous years. Oh, and last week I did glass a buck in the mid 140's already on private land over a mile away. He could easily be traveling here. He came out of a 2 acre block between the marsh and some large fields. The rub line is in the biggest block of cover for a few miles, so even more convinced now the rubs are legit. But when is he making them?

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Re: public land, rub interpretation

Unread postby comeback_kid » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:57 am

I hear what you are saying about the pressure. Do you think the stands were put up there b/c others saw the rubs? Or were they there before?

I hunt a small farm with 10-15 dudes allowed to hunt as well. When I first scouted it I was concerned about the pressure , but over time I learned that a lot of those stands rarely get hunted during Archery.

Unless you can glass from afar it will be hard to determine if it’s day or night sign without using cameras. Could you buy a couple cheap Tascos and spread them out where you think he’s traveling? That should tell you when he’s in there....

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