Small property pressure and hunting the edges

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mheichelbech
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Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby mheichelbech » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:27 am

It's been said that smaller properties, less than 50 acres (???) or maybe even 100 (???) are highly pressure sensitive and it is best to stick to the edges of the property as well as hunting them infrequently with targeted hunts that you have the best chance of killing (rut, late season??). I am curious to know what everyone's experience has been hunting smaller properties and what would you consider to be the "edge" of a property. Assuming you had a defined woodlot somewhere with hard edges abutting agriculture fields, pastures or whatever, how far into the woods is past the "edge"? Does that mean the hunter should be right on the edge, only a few yards into the woods? I know there are a lot of variables here....cover along the edges, where trails are located, etc. but I'm just curious to know how far in you can typically go without having the same amount of pressure as if you hunted the middle or stands well away from the edge or if it even makes any difference.

Here is my experience....it doesn't matter. The deer will smell you regardless unless their typical travel in the woodlot is more than 20 yards away from the edge and even then I think you are in danger. I have observed does and even young bucks breaking off of a trail that was approximately 10 yards inside the woodline to walk over and smell where I crossed a fence into the woods. This is on a property with a neighborhood bordering one side. I have also seen that anymore than 1 hunt or 1 full day hunt per month will cause the deer to change the way they move through the property...either going more nocturnal or avoiding the property altogether. To me it seems like the deer are even more sensitive to pressure and human scent than on bigger properties even though the property may have other human movement/scent through it. Not sure why they are more sensitive to pressure but they definitely are. I had one place that went from seeing 14 deer in the first set to 0 the next day and just a few deer in the subsequent weeks.

Hope to see others' experiences and thoughts on this along with how you are able to most successfully approach hunting spots like this.


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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby bigbuckhunter88 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:34 am

I hunt a few small properties and many are narrow so even setting up on the very edge eventually the deer will always catch my ground scent or entry/exit after im gone. So I will have a rotation to not overhunt but when I set up it is to kill and not worrying about pressure. Some of these properties the deer im hunting might only come through once in a week or just waiting for a cruising buck to come through and those are when its hard because you're not seeing the resident deer to know if your pressure is effecting them or if no deer have been by to know you're even hunting them.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby mheichelbech » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:26 am

bigbuckhunter88 wrote:I hunt a few small properties and many are narrow so even setting up on the very edge eventually the deer will always catch my ground scent or entry/exit after im gone. So I will have a rotation to not overhunt but when I set up it is to kill and not worrying about pressure. Some of these properties the deer im hunting might only come through once in a week or just waiting for a cruising buck to come through and those are when its hard because you're not seeing the resident deer to know if your pressure is effecting them or if no deer have been by to know you're even hunting them.

Totally agree...when you don’t see the bucks is what makes it so tough I think. I’ve got a cell cam going on one but it doesn’t cover everything. I think that will be somewhat helpful. Next year I plan to run 2-4 Reveals if I can get my hands on more at a decent price. Think that will help. But as an example, Sunday and Monday I had bucks going through, was gonna hunt yesterday and didn’t. Glad I didn’t because the bucks didn’t show!
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:39 am

In my experience small properties require the hunter knowing what gives them the upper hand and only hunting it under such conditions. In 99% of my cases small property problems are mainly caused by a single entry point. Can work around this on private with your imagination.

Public.... Well give it your best shot and move on. I’ve hunted a particular small acreage private this year and tomorrow will make 29 times. Haven’t got busted once and production has never dropped according to pics. It’s 7 acres, but I use my imagination and give myself the upper hand
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby mheichelbech » Thu Dec 31, 2020 1:46 pm

Boogieman1 wrote:In my experience small properties require the hunter knowing what gives them the upper hand and only hunting it under such conditions. In 99% of my cases small property problems are mainly caused by a single entry point. Can work around this on private with your imagination.

Public.... Well give it your best shot and move on. I’ve hunted a particular small acreage private this year and tomorrow will make 29 times. Haven’t got busted once and production has never dropped according to pics. It’s 7 acres, but I use my imagination and give myself the upper hand

What are you doing to keep the pressure off? One thing that has hampered me is the wind switching around during hunts. The part I cannot tell is if my scent blowing through the woods is impacting them. The trail and access points I get but scent just blowing through the woods is hard to fathom it hurting them when people can be in their backyards or horse pastures 50-70 yards away.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:30 pm

mheichelbech wrote:
Boogieman1 wrote:In my experience small properties require the hunter knowing what gives them the upper hand and only hunting it under such conditions. In 99% of my cases small property problems are mainly caused by a single entry point. Can work around this on private with your imagination.

Public.... Well give it your best shot and move on. I’ve hunted a particular small acreage private this year and tomorrow will make 29 times. Haven’t got busted once and production has never dropped according to pics. It’s 7 acres, but I use my imagination and give myself the upper hand

What are you doing to keep the pressure off? One thing that has hampered me is the wind switching around during hunts. The part I cannot tell is if my scent blowing through the woods is impacting them. The trail and access points I get but scent just blowing through the woods is hard to fathom it hurting them when people can be in their backyards or horse pastures 50-70 yards away.

That I can absolutely relate. First, I will say the small places I am speaking of are private so Atleast I know the hunting pressure. And several are hunted but it permanent stands based off being able to see.

I also deal with unstable winds.Best odds I’ve ever found is look for a straight wind that blows it right out the mouth. For me, small property isn’t about finding the best spot on the place. But more about what can u sneak in/out of on the downwind edge without tipping your hand. I play numbers of hunts over 1 risky. I mean if u can make it in/out without leaving a trace it’s a waiting game and sooner or later the biggen is gonna slip up. In my area where the majority screw the pooch is with a need to walk to the back of the property. Never a good idea Imo.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby buttonbuck » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:25 pm

mheichelbech wrote:It's been said that smaller properties, less than 50 acres (???) or maybe even 100 (???) are highly pressure sensitive and it is best to stick to the edges of the property as well as hunting them infrequently with targeted hunts that you have the best chance of killing (rut, late season??). I am curious to know what everyone's experience has been hunting smaller properties and what would you consider to be the "edge" of a property. Assuming you had a defined woodlot somewhere with hard edges abutting agriculture fields, pastures or whatever, how far into the woods is past the "edge"? Does that mean the hunter should be right on the edge, only a few yards into the woods? I know there are a lot of variables here....cover along the edges, where trails are located, etc. but I'm just curious to know how far in you can typically go without having the same amount of pressure as if you hunted the middle or stands well away from the edge or if it even makes any difference.

Here is my experience....it doesn't matter. The deer will smell you regardless unless their typical travel in the woodlot is more than 20 yards away from the edge and even then I think you are in danger. I have observed does and even young bucks breaking off of a trail that was approximately 10 yards inside the woodline to walk over and smell where I crossed a fence into the woods. This is on a property with a neighborhood bordering one side. I have also seen that anymore than 1 hunt or 1 full day hunt per month will cause the deer to change the way they move through the property...either going more nocturnal or avoiding the property altogether. To me it seems like the deer are even more sensitive to pressure and human scent than on bigger properties even though the property may have other human movement/scent through it. Not sure why they are more sensitive to pressure but they definitely are. I had one place that went from seeing 14 deer in the first set to 0 the next day and just a few deer in the subsequent weeks.

Hope to see others' experiences and thoughts on this along with how you are able to most successfully approach hunting spots like this.


Problem ive experienced with bow hunting small properties is that after one trip in the mature deer scent check for you at 3-5 am from then on, when they are gonna bed there in the day. Ive used an area for access a few times and had them waiting on the trails at 5am, I almost stepped on a buck. So what I did this year is to get into the briar patch on a power line on top a hill between two houses overlooking the property. Or hunted out of the cow pasture. Hunt or glass from positions you wont be discovered. I Rifle hunted them for a season, but not shooting one every time. I watched em for a month before I put my buddy on his buck. Watching em from a far position has given me the ultimate advantage. I took 10 deer off a 25 acre piece 221 yards wide. Yeah they disappear for a bit when you go get your deer but they (or other deer) come right back. So the strategy now is to use my knowledge of their movements to bow hunt them in the future. Sure helps when you can say “ive never seen a deer go here” might be good access, or “that buck came out from the bedding a different way and would have scented me if I had bow hunted him”
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby <DK> » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:17 pm

buttonbuck wrote:
mheichelbech wrote:It's been said that smaller properties, less than 50 acres (???) or maybe even 100 (???) are highly pressure sensitive and it is best to stick to the edges of the property as well as hunting them infrequently with targeted hunts that you have the best chance of killing (rut, late season??). I am curious to know what everyone's experience has been hunting smaller properties and what would you consider to be the "edge" of a property. Assuming you had a defined woodlot somewhere with hard edges abutting agriculture fields, pastures or whatever, how far into the woods is past the "edge"? Does that mean the hunter should be right on the edge, only a few yards into the woods? I know there are a lot of variables here....cover along the edges, where trails are located, etc. but I'm just curious to know how far in you can typically go without having the same amount of pressure as if you hunted the middle or stands well away from the edge or if it even makes any difference.

Here is my experience....it doesn't matter. The deer will smell you regardless unless their typical travel in the woodlot is more than 20 yards away from the edge and even then I think you are in danger. I have observed does and even young bucks breaking off of a trail that was approximately 10 yards inside the woodline to walk over and smell where I crossed a fence into the woods. This is on a property with a neighborhood bordering one side. I have also seen that anymore than 1 hunt or 1 full day hunt per month will cause the deer to change the way they move through the property...either going more nocturnal or avoiding the property altogether. To me it seems like the deer are even more sensitive to pressure and human scent than on bigger properties even though the property may have other human movement/scent through it. Not sure why they are more sensitive to pressure but they definitely are. I had one place that went from seeing 14 deer in the first set to 0 the next day and just a few deer in the subsequent weeks.

Hope to see others' experiences and thoughts on this along with how you are able to most successfully approach hunting spots like this.


Problem ive experienced with bow hunting small properties is that after one trip in the mature deer scent check for you at 3-5 am from then on, when they are gonna bed there in the day. Ive used an area for access a few times and had them waiting on the trails at 5am, I almost stepped on a buck. So what I did this year is to get into the briar patch on a power line on top a hill between two houses overlooking the property. Or hunted out of the cow pasture. Hunt or glass from positions you wont be discovered. I Rifle hunted them for a season, but not shooting one every time. I watched em for a month before I put my buddy on his buck. Watching em from a far position has given me the ultimate advantage. I took 10 deer off a 25 acre piece 221 yards wide. Yeah they disappear for a bit when you go get your deer but they (or other deer) come right back. So the strategy now is to use my knowledge of their movements to bow hunt them in the future. Sure helps when you can say “ive never seen a deer go here” might be good access, or “that buck came out from the bedding a different way and would have scented me if I had bow hunted him”


Great post Button buck.

I agree w the underlined statement. I have dealt w that alot but not just small properties. Doe intersections and below doe bedding areas. Major scrape areas. Heck during peak of the rut they dont mind the side of the highway haha.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:29 pm

I agree some good responses. Guess I probably should have said what I consider “great” small acreage. I don’t want the bedding, and I don’t want the food. What I want is some kind of terrain feature that connects either bedding to bedding or bedding to food. Find I can get away with much more and deer pay way less attention to neutral ground.
“When standing on the walls of the Alamo the outcome has already been decided. All that’s left is to kill as many as you can.”

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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby Hawthorne » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:35 am

My 23 acres the best day is the first day I hunt it with a north wind in late October. Have killed many times now doing it. Set up
In the morning for an observation then I make my move in the evening. After one day they know something is up. I’ve tried hunting it with other winds and no success but I still see them and it’s a cat mouse game. Every small property sets up different
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby phade » Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:23 am

All we deal with here in WNY is small private parcels, with leases or permission. In most cases, you can see the hunting pressure, let alone "feel" it.

Balancing patience and aggression is the key. My hunting partner and I have taken six bucks the past two seasons combined with an average score of 130. One was killed on first time in, one was killed second time in, and the other four were after alot of pressure was applied. Not one tactic was exclusive to all six other than being smart about the plan - and we spent alot of time making our moves and reactions. The second time in kill was done after ripping down a 25' tree with an F250 to clear a lane on a field edge. Deer got by me on a Sunday evening due to other nearby deer not allowing me to get into position, we rested it Monday, and Tuesday, buck did the same thing and this time I was ready and done within an hour of being in the stand. On that Sunday evening hunt, I was surrounded by deer in the stand and had my partner come get me to bump off the field. Didn't give up the stand spot. They bumped off, and Tuesday was a kill day. That call, I believe was important to killing on that Tuesday. Hunt smart, whatever you do, in small parcels.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby treeroot » Fri Jan 01, 2021 10:11 am

I try to observe from a distance, then move in. It really depends on how the property is laid out. It also depends on what weapon you're hunting with.

What access you have can really change what you can do.

One property I hunt is 1/2 hay field 1/2 hardwoods. The only access is through the field. It is hard to not bump the deer when making a setup. It took me a few years to figure out how to get in without wrecking my hunt before it started.
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Re: Small property pressure and hunting the edges

Unread postby bigredneck61088 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:34 am

Key with small properties I have found is know when to hunt that specific piece aka best few days through history, and go in for the kill, historical camera data helps by running one or a few and letting them go untouched all year

Access is key for keeping it great

I have one piece of private permission like this that is 17 acres total but only maybe 8 Wooded, if I hunt the prime days for access (w wind, real windy, or rainy) I can get 3-4 sits right in the bedroom 50-75 from the beds, this is mid oct thru first of November is best here.

I got three sits this year and killed on the third, seen a shooter every sit one of which stood up at 40 but no shot, but accessing on any days other than these would have blown it for the season the way it sets up, just hunt your piece smart


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