The temperature was 46 degrees this morning with a 1mph south wind. We’re hunting in a pair of Summit Stands just above a creek on top of a bluff.
Out in front of us is a strip of hardwood timber with a recent cedar cut above. The bluff and the cedar cut act as a great pinch point as deer travel through the hardwoods. (The screenshot of the OnX map shows our hunting set-up best.) Even though there is a south wind, the thermals are stronger.
The cold is sinking down the mountain and being carried to the south. Because this is an west facing slope, it will not receive sunlight until later during the morning. Cool air will continue to sink until the sun rises over the mountain. This will allow us to hunt this location longer than if we were hunting under the same conditions on a south facing slope. We’re hoping bucks aren’t on their feet this morning!
We expect deer to react to the shot (we’ve seen this over and over). We practice like we hunt. When shooting at a deer or target, we aim at the lower 1/3 of the kill zone. If the deer reacts/drops, the shot is still in the kill zone. If the deer doesn’t react, it’s in the heart and/or bottom lungs.
I aim at the bottom third of the deer’s chest whether they are 20 or 40 yards away. I rarely shoot at deer past 40 yards for fear the deer will move and I rarely worry about deer dropping below the flight of the arrow if they are much closer than 20 yards. There are multiple advantages to aiming at the lower third of a deer’s chest. Wounds here usually produce better blood trails because the chest cavity doesn’t have to fill with blood before it starts exiting the wound.
I practice aiming at the bottom third so it’s a normal sight pattern when I’m hunting! See this video that shows how aiming for the lower third pays off!
We’re very excited about this new hidey hole food plot. It will be located on top of a ridge on the edge of a hardwood timber and a south facing slope/bedding area.
This is a great travel corridor. Deer already naturally travel across the saddle in the ridge and along the edge of the timber and bedding area.
Adding an attractive food source will make this an ideal hunting location! We are simply terminating the vegetation with backpack sprayers and will broadcast Eagle Seed Fall Buffalo Blend seed right before or during a rain.
Folks often ask how high we place our Summit Treestands. There are many factors. One is cover.
When possible, we like to have cover (limbs and leaves) to break up the hunter’s silhouette and mask movement. We also consider if a tree will provide cover throughout the entire season (even after leaves fall). Cover varies from tree to tree and we adjust our stand height accordingly.
Most of the stands we hang for bow hunting are 20′ +/– high. If stands are much higher it’s very difficult to get both lungs if the deer is relatively close to the stand due to the angle. Some stands may be a bit higher or lower based on the topography near the stand.
If the stands are lower deer tend to pick up movement easier. There’s a neat explanation to the angles deer can see at: https://www.qdma.com/articles/deer-can-see-you-even-when-theyre-eating
Last fall, Grant was on the edge of his seat as he played cat and mouse with a big Kentucky buck!
The success of this hunt was the design of the food plot and the location of the Redneck Hunting Blinds.
This food plot was in the middle of a pine stand and ran along a ridge top. There were two saddles in this ridge (marked with white lines) and the Redneck blind overlooked the entire plot.
From the blind, deer were not alerted while traveling across the ridge or feeding in the plot.
When designing a plot and/or choosing a hunting location, consider how to approach, hunt and exit without alerting deer. You can watch this entire hunt unfold here!
Our friend Keith recently shared a great habitat update he’s done on his hunting property! After thinning pines several years ago, he used prescribed fire this past spring and saw a flush of native species.
This vegetation is offering great cover and palatable browse. This is a great example that opening up the canopy (in this case thinning the pines) with the use of prescribed fire can create quality habitat. What’s even more interesting is that Keith also shared a photo of thinned pines that was not burned.
This stand had many more woody species/saplings. Within a few seasons theses species will be shading the ground and browse will be out of reach of critters. If not addressed soon, this area could require a lot of work to convert it back to quality habitat.
Several years ago, we started using a BUCK CUFFS Deer Drag to drag deer from the woods. It quickly became one of favorite hunting tools!
It fits in a pocket or pack and makes it easy for a hunter to tote deer, hogs, and other critters out of the woods.
While we’ve been out checking cameras we’ve kept an eye out for acorn producing oaks and marking them in OnX Hunt!
We’ll be hunting in this area when this white oak starts dropping acorns! Let us know how the acorn crop looking where you hunt by joining us on social media and leaving a comment!
Native browse is extremely nutritious! We noticed an area where deer were hammering the giant ragweed. We collected a ragweed sample and had Waters Ag (same lab we use for soil samples) analyze the nutrient quality. Check out the results. This is one reason we work to improve native habitat! (page down to see the nutritional analysis)
The velvet antlers are growing nicely on some of the bucks in these ReConyx trail camera videos. The bucks get up close and personal with the cameras as they browse.
A healthy crop of fawns here at The GrowingDeer.tv Proving Grounds! Check out these vidoes of does with their fawns in May and June 2020.
If you want to get to see more bucks that are on your property – find a fruit tree that is producing now and place a trail camera nearby! Soft mast trees like peaches will draw in all kinds of critters – deer, possums, raccoons! We had not seen any of these bucks on our other trail cameras so this was an easy way to get more in tune with the local bucks!
A short video compilation of hen turkeys with their poults from late May to mid-June 2020. Listen to the hens purr as they walk along with their little broods!