During this portion of the season many folks experience limited daylight deer movement. It can be frustrating to see hit listers on camera only during the cover of darkness. One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How do I hunt these deer?”
There isn’t a clear cut answer that will result in harvesting a nocturnal buck. Below are the techniques we use when hunting nocturnal bucks.
One of the first things we do is cut the distance. We have designated sanctuaries at The Proving Grounds. Much of the bedding occurs within these areas throughout a season. When a mature buck has a nocturnal pattern we start to back track his movements. By using terrain features and known deer trails the preferred bedding areas can be located. Once we’ve pinpointed travel routes to and from the bedding area, we hang a Summit. By cutting the distance close to the bedding area the odds drastically increase.
Next, we sit and wait for the right weather. Cold fronts generally get deer up and moving earlier than usual. This is the time to slip into this stand and hunt, hopefully catching the nocturnal buck on his feet during daylight hours.
Another option, simply wait. If a buck is traveling through an area that is unapproachable then wait! Knowing when to hunt is often just as important as knowing when not to hunt. As the rut nears bucks will begin to travel more. Research out of Pennsylvania has shown bucks travel nearly three times as much during November as they do in October. With that being said, that same nocturnal buck will become more visible during daylight hours. To put the odds in your favor, it’s best to locate a heavily used pinch point in the area. Now you are in the best location to observe the increase in deer activity. Waiting until conditions are favorable is often the quickest way to success.
Remember, pressuring deer only makes them more nocturnal.
If trail cameras are lighting up after the sun has set, there is still hope! Depending on the buck’s core area and travel routes these hunting strategies can keep you in the game. Don’t give up on a nocturnal buck, there is a time and place when that deer will become harvestable.
Hold on to your seats, the rut is on the way! Within the next few weeks across much of the whitetails' range pre-rut activity will increase. This spike in deer activity can make for excellent hunting. To capitalize on bucks spending more time on their feet during daylight hours, you need to find the does!
At this stage of the game, most hunters have bucks on their minds. But, if you plan on filling tags during the pre-rut phase, it’s important to know where the does are. During this stage bucks are just beginning to search and pester does. As a result, does have not yet begun to alter feeding or bedding patterns. This means they are still on a routine. It’s important to study patterns that show up on trail cameras and adjust stands to accommodate them. If done correctly stands will be ready when bucks are most active.
Don’t think you are the only one picking up on these patterns though. Scrapes are a line of communication among deer. By using scrapes deer can determine which individuals are most active in certain areas. Bucks know where does are frequently visiting as well. They too will be concentrating efforts around doe patterns. This will eventually change once does start seeking denser cover to hide from bucks. However, during the pre-rut phase, does are an important part of putting the puzzle pieces together. Being prepared in advance to hunt locations frequented by does may result in sightings or even punched buck tags.
Last week Adam discussed the recent patterns of a buck we call Handy. We had predicted earlier in the summer he would shift to the center of the property. As of last week he hadn’t, keeping us on our toes. This week, the Reconyx captured Handy making the moves we’ve anticipated.
This great video of Handy working a scrape was taken in the center portion of the property. Boom Back is a portion of a ridge where Handy frequented the last two falls. We are confident Handy will remain in this area for the remainder of the season. This is exciting news for the GrowingDeer Team as we have been preparing our Summit treestands and Redneck Blinds for this moment.
Now that we are prepared it’s time to sit back and wait! This time we are waiting for the right conditions to hunt. This area is sensitive and tough to access. Therefore, we are waiting for cooler temperatures, high pressure, and strong winds to hunt. These factors combined tend to get deer on their feet and moving. The morning this video was taken was cold with a high barometer reading. We will be closely monitoring our Reconyx cameras and weather to determine if any more information can be gathered on this buck’s patterns.
Remaining patient for the appropriate time to strike is critical in this stage of the game. We will keep you posted! Be sure to follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages as we set out for Handy in the coming weeks!
The GrowingDeer Team has kept a close eye on our favorite hit list buck, Handy, throughout the summer. We watched him regularly frequent a food plot on the northern part of The Proving Grounds. As most hunters who have ever watched whitetails throughout the year know, the changing of summer to fall usually brings changes to deer patterns. The same is true for Handy and his summer pattern.
Our last pictures of Handy in velvet came in early September with his running partner Southpaw. After seeing Southpaw had already shed velvet we knew the pattern was soon to change. After those images we went two weeks without a single Reconyx image of Southpaw or Handy. Finally, we found these two bucks in a least expected food plot! North Field is a short distance from where we had captured Reconyx images of these two bucks all summer.
The great news about our MRI (Most Recent Information) is the location of our Redneck trailer blind. We had positioned the Redneck blind in North field a few weeks ago to help us harvest does. We often talk about not hunting mornings during the early season due to the arrangement of our road system to food plots. Fortunately, North Field is one of the few plots we can intercept deer going from feeding back to bedding during the morning hours. It looks like a morning hunt is in store!
Stay tuned to upcoming episodes and blogs as we’re in pursuit of Handy!
For Love of the Land and the Glory to God!
Just two weeks back we discussed how to keep tabs on deer movement throughout a season. We’ve already placed our Reconyx cameras overlooking fields. When we reviewed the most recent data there was a clear pattern on many of the food plots. Most evenings multiple deer were entering the plots and feeding until dark. On many occasions deer were entering these plots from multiple locations. A single camera overlooking a trail would not tell the complete story. This means possibly leaving you guessing on where to hunt!
Now we have a great pattern identified. It’s time to take the next step and capitalize on these movements. Resources or weather can change rapidly so we must react quickly to set the stage for a hunt.
One way we are able to move in quickly is by using Redneck Hay Bale Blinds. These blinds closely resemble a hay bale, therefore deer don’t typically associate them with danger. We often don’t have to wait for the deer to grow accustomed to the blinds. The blind can be placed and hunted immediately if the wind is right. In some cases, hanging new tree stands may require excessive trimming which draws attention to that area. The hay bale blind offers a subtle approach with limited disturbance.
The final step is placing the blind in the proper location within the plot. This requires forethought on which wind is needed to approach, hunt, and exit undetected. Some of our blinds allow us to leave the blind even when deer are present because of terrain features. Other blinds may require the hunters to be dropped off and picked up. Instead of the hunters spooking deer as they leave, a vehicle clears the field so hunters may leave cleanly.
Successful hunts don’t often come without work and a well designed plan. Efficiently monitoring deer movements, reacting quickly, and hunting smart are steps we follow each season. This multistep process can be repeated anywhere!
Safe and successful hunting,
Many states will be opening up bow seasons in the next few weeks. This is an exciting time for deer hunters to capitalize on late summer deer patterns. The days are long during this portion of season, therefore daylight activity is more common. A typical early season stand may be positioned near a food source where hunters have seen their prize feeding for months. This is typically a great location to be hunting when conditions allow.
As deer begin to shed summer coats and put on their winter coats, changes in activity can be seen. The food source may not change, but the activity level of deer do. Early season is known for its warm temperatures. As hunters we experience this as we attempt to not sweat, while deer may alter their movement patterns. Their heavier winter coats tend to make deer move more during the last few moments of light when the temperatures are cooler.
Just as the deer are adapting, we as hunters must as well. Hunting closer to the edges of bedding cover may result in more punched tags. Cutting the distance between feeding to bedding is a great option when the thermometer rises. Although this may sound simple, a few extra steps should be taken to ensure your success.
The approach and exit to this setup should not interfere with any deer. In some cases it may be the best practice to cut in a trail to the stand before season begins. Blowing out the trail of any sticks or leaves will result in a silent approach and exit. Being cautious of your scent is just as important. Just as you play the wind during a hunt, make sure the wind allows you to move safely without alerting deer.
Understanding and anticipating how deer will react to changes in conditions will make you a better and more successful hunter.
How well do you know the bucks on your hunting grounds? Taking time to get to know their individual personalities and patterns pays huge dividends during the season! Watch to see how the GrowingDeer Team works with past and present Reconyx images to develop strategies for intercepting mature bucks this fall. Then stay tuned for tips on how to capture your hunting adventures on video!
Are you catching the bow season fever? Check out Raleigh tag her first buck with a bow.
New Weekly Video Blog: Scent Control Techniques
You are ready for season, is your gear? Watch to see the steps we take to control our scent in the deer woods.
Tip of the Week:
You've practiced your form all summer, now it's time to step it up! Shoot from an elevated position.
Hunting during the early season can be tough. It is typically warm and humid, a scent cautious hunter’s worst nightmare. Despite the conditions there are a few techniques that can be used to reduce the amount of scent produced. Follow the tips below during early season for better success in the deer woods.
- Wear a lightweight t-shirt for the walk in.
- Wear a hiking boot instead of rubber boots, they are much cooler.
- Leave early, walk slow, and take breaks if needed to limit perspiration.
- Remove the t-shirt once you’ve arrived at the treestand and store in a scent tight bag.
- Apply field spray and use camp clothes once in the stand.
This week is filled with hunting strategies! We reveal a secret weapon for early and mid-season hunting. Plus, our new method to maintain that secret weapon for years to come. Watch as we share techniques to hunting small properties in cattle county. See deer in season when your neighbors aren't!
Test your eye! Can you spot the hit list buck in this clip?
New Weekly Video Blog: The Center Of Attention
Want to know why we let deer reach maturity? Adam walks us through the development of an impressive buck we call Handy.
Tip of the Week:
Back it up! Once you master the close range shots, step back and gain confidence at longer distances, extending your range this season!
Do you have your eye on any bachelor groups this summer? Go into deer season with a harvest plan! Watch as we'll show you how to build a hit list with the bucks your trail cameras are capturing now. Plus, see the progress of the key tool for our cold weather hunting strategy. The Hot Zone fence is a game changer for late bow season!
We are looking forward to the GrowingDeer.tv Field Days on August 12-13, 2016! Come join us for the best field event we've ever offered! Click here for more information or to register today. After registering we have several special sponsor discount offers that are available ONLY for Field Day participants. Don't miss out – Register Now!
Want to be a wildlife biologist? Here is our advice for you. This will get you the experience needed to work in the wildlife field.
New Weekly Video Blog: Hunting Strategies – Ponds!
Tip of the Week:
Is your hunting gear scent free? Now is a great time to treat, wash, and store your gear for success on opening day.