View Full Version : Tough Deer Hunting Question...
The Whitetails in my area are getting smart now that they've been hunted for the last couple of months. The dumb ones have already taken a ride home in the back of a pickup truck. I've noticed that the deer no longer walk across open areas (ie. clearcuts, pipeline lanes, fields, etc.) during the daytime. They've learned that when they do that they hear a loud "BOOM!".
Anyway, what I've noticed is that majority of fresh tracks are now in heavy (and I mean HEAVY) scrub-type cover. This stuff is hard to hunt, because there are very few trees to hang a stand off of, and visibility through it is about 10 feet. The areas are covered in small trees (10-20 ft tall), and they are spaced every foot or so, with stickers and thornbushes growing up EVERYWHERE in between. In other words, it's pretty tough going to get through there.
However, that's where the deer are, and I need to figure out how to hunt this type of environment. I have thought about chopping a path into the middle of it with machete, and then setting up a tripod stand, but I think that the disturbance of doing that this late in the season, plus scenting it up, will just run them off somewhere else.
Anyone hunted this type of stuff before, or have any ideas?
You described South Florida to the Tee. You best bet is to look for a narrow choke that the deer will cross between cover. Think "Funnel" and setup and ambush deer their. You can also investigate where they bed down at night and during the day and might get a buck/doe off guard as he/she gets off bed to get food. Also getting in very early AM or late PM is when these deer will move.
One word of advice, I found that deer wise up to the hunters movement. During the mid-day when most hunters ( not me ) go to the camp for food, the deer slowly pickup on this and make their way out for a quick sniff, piss and bite. When the guys starts their atv/boats back up for the last 2-3hrs of evening the deer goes back into the brush/cover and bed down for those hours. I see more deer in my area from 10:00-13:00 then I do early AM or late PM.
sounds like my kind of terrain. here in the south, most bow-hunting is like this. i love it. there are several ways to take advantage of this type of cover.
first and foremost, if you don't bow hunt, you should! ;) you'll need a good shotgun. a rifle is no good in these parts. you'll just be tempted to take a shot through too thick of cover and create a bad situation for you and the deer.
second, use a ground blind. you can buy a ton of different models for around $100. these are great for people who can't sit still or are bow hunting. you'll want to set it up at the busiest intersection you can find. don't cut away a bunch of stuff for a "shooting" lane. leave it natural. clip a few branches and open a "window" or two. the great thing about hunting thickets is that you can really see where the deer are moving.
thirdly, try and stay as scent free as possible. the biggest reason is your going to have to use their trails to get into the area. if you go and try to make your own you will only do what you feared in your original post. deer feel very safe in these areas because they have a tremendous amount of cover, food, etc.
fourth, go early and stay late. for example, on a morning hunt, the sun is up around 7am. i am in the blind around 5am. i will stay until around 11am. most often these areas are used for bedding so they will be coming and going to find water, does, etc.
lastly, be still. move very slowly when looking. often times what i'll do when hunting this type of area is take a book. nothing will get within 75 yards of you without you hearing it. typically, if your not pre-occupied with something else you'll be rubber-necking the whole time or doing some kind of moving around. they will see you way before you see them. (obviously)
one last note, ground hunting leaves no room for error with scent. you have to use the wind whenever possible. in thick areas, there is typically very little breeze. you scent will just linger. the best days to hunt these areas are very windy days. for a couple of reasons: 1-deer like cover on windy days. most deer will bed down with wind over 12-15mph. 2-the higher wind will force a breeze through even the thick stuff. STAY AWAY FROM VARIABLE WINDS! i wouldn't even go into the area.
i have rambled on enough...HTH!
I'd try my dad's old favorite trick; Take along one of your old, smelly, work shirts/jackets and hang it upwind from your blind right in the busiest runway. In avoiding that article of clothing, deer will often leave deep cover and circle around it. I've done this while hunting thick swamps where those savvy bucks just out maneuver me. While I do not always see them as they break cover, they almost always do break.
Good luck and get that grillesmasher-to-be.
we hunt the mountain country of Se OK and it is extremely thick in certain areas..
also a vote for a geographic flow...type hunt.
deer are like any other critter..they are going to take the path of least resistance that is safe.
look for ridges, creek beds..rock flows..that intertwine in the cover.
slopes are a good one too..sometimes several of the deer runs will merge next to a geographical point such as these.
alot of the time..the cover looks very thick..but once you get into it..you'll notice small open areas..where the animals use for travelling..
we hunt 50% of the time from the ground..
i have learned that my favorite tool is a turkey hunting seat that sits about 2 inches off the ground and i carry a pad that wraps around the base of a tree..
i also use a gerber saw to cut soem cover for a rudimentary blind when i can put one up.
deer are huntable in cover..you just have to try and find an area to to hunt.
My tip is to take a A-Frame ladder in the the area that has movement.
Open that ladder up and put it right next to a tree for support and some cover.
Everyone else has the rest figured out.
Don't move I use these new hearing aid things...forget the name.But they turn up the sounds of the woods so you don't have to worry about turning your head to look .
I find the hearing aids and ear muffs to work great that have these mic. systems in them.
One word of advice, I found that deer wise up to the hunters movement. During the mid-day when most hunters ( not me ) go to the camp for food, the deer slowly pickup on this and make their way out for a quick sniff, piss and bite. When the guys starts their atv/boats back up for the last 2-3hrs of evening the deer goes back into the brush/cover and bed down for those hours. I see more deer in my area from 10:00-13:00 then I do early AM or late PM.(end quote)..
(quote).."alot of the time..the cover looks very thick..but once you get into it..you'll notice "mall open areas".where the animals use for travelling.. we hunt 50% of the time from the ground..(end quote)...
Both of these boys gave you real good advice!
In NW Okla. we have along the river on the ranch there, what are called "Tamaracks," in Tx. they are called 'salt cedar.'
This stuff is so thick you have to crawl on your belly (in certain places), the rest of it is walking in a crouched position, etc. The really big bucks lean their heads back and plow right through there.
Either find a good spot to set up, on the outside,' of the thick stuff, and catch them 'coming in to bed down', or 'coming out in the evening to begin to feed'.... "as Noway was suggesting." And "do not go in at noon," wait it out, spend the day... you will more than likely see deer eventually.
Or, as Muddydog said... 'find a clearing in the midst of the thick stuff, and set up on the ground, if need be.'
We have done this "both ways" and it works!
I have plowed my way through the thickest stuff you can imagine, and found a small clearing, set up in a good spot, on the ground, and waited it out... and most always got the buck.. "getting him out was a chore," but worry about that after you get him!
Either way, stay out there, and 'do not' let the thick stuff intimadate you... you will get your deer with 'either of these methods,' with much patients, and some planning.
Give it a try.....!
:) I've often hunted from the ground; and, yes, I've experienced the tough deer hunting conditions you've mentioned. You've already been given some excellent advice; I'll only add this:
Circle the cover, you'll notice a few faint paths were the deer are coming in and out. In the morning pick one that is upwind from where the deer are returning from. In the evening pick one that is upwind from the bedding area. Don’t forget to watch the thermals, too. (Warming air rises at dawn, and cooling air sinks at dusk.) You don't have to carry articles of old clothing; simply urinate anywhere you don't want the deer to travel.
The toughest hunting occurs later in the day because, no matter how quiet you are, the deer will hear you move onto your stand. This is why it's best to settle in well before 3:00pm. (Other hunters and noise will, sometimes, throw them off your presence.) I once followed three deer down a narrow peninsula onto a one acre island full of heavy brush. I actually spent a couple of hours trying to break them out of that brush. I must have literally walked on them a few times, too; but none of them ever moved a muscle. I swear I actually got to the point where I though I was hallucinating; but, they were there; I just couldn't find them.
You DON’T need any kind of artificial blind. Often when I ground ambushed, I just got myself comfortable in some kind of small depression, broke my silhouette with something, and fell asleep while waiting. Many times I have let my own ears do my, ‘watching’ for me. You’d be surprised just how noisy these creatures are once they start moving. ;)
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