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1.) Swamp Fox - 12/04/2014
...when everything becomes clear.

No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving, Pearl Harbor Day, Christmas, New Year's, whatever shopping days you're supposed to get up at 3 in the morning for, or Kwanzaa.

I'm talking about the time you spend these days scouting to pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute, or driving around listening to bad Christmas music because the only alternative on this stretch of highway is bad "country" music.

The whole time, thoughts of this year's deer and next year's deer dance in your head.

Also: The stands that looked high enough when you hung them, the locations you thought were high traffic areas, the food sources that never worked out, the thick cover that you didn't hunt but should have, the stands that you should have thought more about how you were going to approach and exit; how it all went wrong.

What's become clear to you, and what's bouncing around your heads about this year and next?
2.) bluecat - 12/04/2014
I need to find some better areas. This year was really tough. When I hunted the rut for four solid days, I saw two bucks for a total of two deer. Just haven't seen the deer. I don't think that the numbers are down necessarily but my areas suck. I really had high hopes this year. The season isn't done yet but I'm not very optimistic and optimism is paramount for a bowhunter.
3.) Wild Bob - 12/04/2014
What has become clear to me (more and more each year): Everything is in a precarious balance (relations, careers, health and how those things relate to our hunting) and it is incredibly easy to become indifferent to those things...I plan to take nothing for granted and refocus on living out my hunting adventures to the fullest with an emphasis on valuing the relationships that are an integral part of my outdoor experience.

OK...is it time for the swimsuit competition now...!?!? :-)
4.) Swamp Fox - 12/04/2014
[QUOTE=Wild Bob;27531]...OK...is it time for the swimsuit competition now...!?!? :-)[/QUOTE]

Not so fast, Nancy...

One more question: What is your solution for whirled peas?

Weird year here, too. I think a lot of the rutting activity was at night with the weather we had combined with the number of does available. I saw some chasing on Saturday, which means there's still hope that the rut trickles on for a bit longer. I was all over the does this year, but never could get on a buck. I'm hoping that now that a lot of the acorns are gone and food sources are dwindling I can get on a doe that might not have been bred. I'm also going to have to give up on one or two areas that never panned out (deer just aren't using them this year as in the past, for some reason), and seek out a couple of areas I've left alone.

One thing I did do right this year was fish the hell out of a pond I got permission on which I knew was a honey hole from fishing it years ago. When I got exclusive permission to it last fall (along with hunting rights on the surrounding 250 acres), I knew something was wrong because I'm just not THAT lucky, so I went after it full bore. I had a blast for a year, but sure enough, the property got sold out from under me in September.

Wild Bob's point about taking nothing for granted is well-taken. :tap:

5.) Deerminator - 12/05/2014
I learned that the opposite back corner across from my stand would have been a better spot:-)
6.) Forkie McRut - 12/05/2014
[QUOTE=bluecat;27530]The season isn't done yet but I'm not very optimistic and optimism is paramount for a bowhunter.[/QUOTE]

Whatever you do, give 100%. Unless donating blood.
7.) bluecat - 12/05/2014
LOL! I'll have to remember that one.
8.) Deerminator - 12/05/2014
That's a good one:tu:
9.) luv2bowhunt - 12/05/2014
Deer here are in the thick cover period. Moving into the densest jungle and creating a stand location was the best thing I did last Spring. Saw 7 different buck from that stand this year, just not the size I was looking for.

I have a new area that I'm also going to create for next season. That's the beauty of this sport. The reflection and anticipation are better than the actual hunting......most of the time.
10.) Swamp Fox - 12/05/2014
I've thought about invading my thickest covers but I have almost always talked myself out of it. We've had the conversation about sanctuaries before. I think the key is a good entrance and exit capability and strategy which most often I've felt was lacking.

I'll have to cogitate on it some more. I have no doubt that one of the reasons I saw the bucks I did this year (on camera) was that they felt safe in the several thick areas I never set foot in. The problem is where to set up on them when they come to "the edge".

The idea of hunting from the outside in, if you know what I mean...
11.) luv2bowhunt - 12/08/2014
I know what you're saying, but here on public land they are not likely to come out of the cover until dark. You either make it happen or hope you get lucky somehow. I prefer to be proactive and normally it pays off.

I agree, ingress and egress are the key. I've been cutting my own access trails in from directions I don't expect deer to be traveling. Worked great at the spot I was referring to in my last post. They had no clue I was there. I takes a lot of work to pull it off, but I enjoy doing it in the late winter/early spring.
12.) Swamp Fox - 12/08/2014
I agree, ingress and egress are the key. I've been cutting my own access trails in[B] from directions I don't expect deer to be traveling. [/B]Worked great at the spot I was referring to in my last post. They had no clue I was there. I takes a lot of work to pull it off, but I enjoy doing it in the late winter/early spring.[/QUOTE]

This is most likely the biggest problem here. In a lot of areas you can get a sense, but there's very often a degree of "they can come from any direction." Some places are more predictable than others. I'd say one place I hunt has a difficulty level of 8 for this, and another has a 3. The public land I'm on most often is a 10, LOL.

This is why I enjoy the maps in articles and books so much that lay out the bedding area, the feeding area and the travel corridor so nicely. :-)
13.) luv2bowhunt - 12/08/2014
It helps when you're hunting mountain or hill areas. Deer will normally be feeding out in the farm fields, orchards, or oak flats all night. In the morning they will move up the hills, looking to bed in an elevated area.

Always the same scenario. Wind at their backs, looking downhill, no way to approach them without them knowing. In these situations, you come in from the top in the morning or from the bottom in the evening.

Quit hunting the mud flats and find those hills in western NC. They're not that hard to see Tar Heel.
14.) Swamp Fox - 12/08/2014

You're exactly right. Flat land is a special challenge, especially where cover and/or food is everywhere.

I've done the rolling hills and mountain thing enough to know you are right on that, as well. One of my favorite tricks was to walk in on the spine of a ridge in the AM, so you would be coming in from above but also because a lot of the time even if you couldn't get a wind in your face you could get a crosswind that would blow over the mountain.

A lot of times I was walking in early enough (well before sunrise) I felt the thermals were moving downhill, though, so it wasn't perfect. A lot of swirling wind once you dropped off the spine, too, because of the preponderance of bowls and saddles vs. big flats or benches.

I rarely got a chance to walk in from the bottom because I was usually far enough back in each morning that there was no such thing as coming out mid-day only to reenter for a PM hunt. I think it's safe to say I prefer morning hunting on public land anyway. Well, I wish I could sleep in, actually, but I always had better luck in the mornings. LOL