I believe we as hunters actually spook more deer after we leave a stand because of lingering human scent, than we do while sitting in a stand during the hunt. My preferred times to hunt a bedding area are as follows: A mono culture busting habitat combination includes grass, shrub, conifer and hardwood regeneration.
That doesn't mean that every bedding area is actually huntable, but instead that there is no other location that a wise old monster is vulnerable within, than when he is in his most sacred portion of habitat; his bedding area. During the rut, mature bucks move several hours during the morning hours, and often an hour or less during the afternoon. I personally believe that bucks cruise more during the morning hours because of the drastic difference in temperature when compared to the hours of afternoon.
For example, a 27 degree start to the morning may still feature temperatures in the 30s at noon, even if the afternoon high will reach 58 degrees. As soon as the daytime high is fast approaching, I have experienced that mature bucks take a seat fairly quickly.
It may seem too easy to just simply conclude that you have several times more opportunity to harvest a monster during the morning hours than evening, however I have greatly enjoyed experiencing the morning wanderings of mature bucks for over 25 years, and it works! How does that have anything to do with hunting a deer bedding area?
Because although the distance a buck may bed may be a mile or more away from his evening food and social locations, he is most likely spending the majority of his morning and the rest of daylight hours, in his bedding area. Often a mature buck seems unhuntable, but it is often because hunters aren't bringing the hunt to the buck. While focusing on a hunting strategy that includes a buck's sacred bedding area, you can plan on the high potential of spending a greater amount of time in a deer stand within close proximity to a mature buck, regardless of where he feeds and socializes during the evening hours.
Slipping quietly into a pre-set tree stand like a deadly predator, is one of the best ways to ambush a "Nocturnal Buck". By catching him returning late to his bedding area during the morning hours, the element of surprise can be fully on your side.
Mature bucks are not nocturnal, they only appear that way because many hunters hunt too far away from a buck's bedding area to witness predictable daylight movements. Hunting a mature buck's lare is one of the best ways to turn a buck that appears nocturnal, into a daylight walking giant that crosses in front of your bow stand. Read these myth busting tips in, "Nocturnal Buck Strategies". Hunting a bedding area requires a much higher attention to detail than when hunting a daytime cruising area, or evening food source movement.
The details are within the exact location of the bedding area itself, which either needs to be highly scouted, or intensely created and defined. By finding a major food source and locating adjacent doe family group bedding areas you are on the right path for figuring out where a mature buck will bed.
I have experienced that a buck will nearly always relate to consistent doe bedding areas. He will typically bed away from, and behind the doe family group bedding areas; which is even further away from the evening food source. The natural deer bedding alignment often features an extremely defined structure of a major food source first, then doe bedding opportunities, and finally mature buck bedding. Once you recognize the orderly structure of bedding, it is time to hunt!
The more highly defined a bedding area is, the easier it is to hunt. While entering a pre-set hang-on stand it is critical to stay well away from the food and doe bedding portions of the natural bedding alignment. By first defining the exact acres or less that include the bedding area, your goal is to slip into the downwind edge or adjacent funnel, and wait for the sun to rise!
Now at times I may seem "anti-climbing stand" but I am not, having used climbers on over 20 sits on public land in OH last year alone, as well as a few in WI. However they often can be a very poor choice for the level of stealth required for hunting bedding areas.
Often a buck is already near or around his bedding area when you enter your stand during the morning hours, and your entrance can not include any unnatural noise. That includes during the walk in, the set up and the climb.
I live by the practice that one metalic ting or out of place sound, can spook a mature buck at least yards from the place of the noise, in effect ruining your hunt before it even becomes daylight. Hunting a bedding area requires absolute stealth I actually hunt that way no matter where I sit , with it being critical that you can get in and out of your stands while making little to no sound at all.
Using a climber is a disadvantage, but often on public land, in heavy hunter traffic areas, or due to last minute scouting findings a hunter has to use a climber. If you are going to try deer bedding area hunting, I would strongly recommend pre-set stands, including hang-ons, ladders and tri-pods. Not that you can't get the job done with a climber, but that in my experience you will end up with a lower level of overall opportunities.
The inviolate areas do not need to be large; 5 acres is enough, but 10 acres is better. Stay out of there and make sure that everyone that uses the land knows it. Minimal intrusion is a buzzword among land managers, but in this case, we are using a NO-intrusion policy. Whitetails will bed in areas with little to no grass, but they much prefer to lie down in a soft spot if one is available, particularly when it is cool.
During the hot summer months, they will often choose to lie in bare dirt, where a breeze can move around them and bugs are not as much of a problem.
But during the cooler weather of fall, when we have an interest in controlling their movements, a grassy bed is what they look for. Grasses will not grow where there is no sunshine. Letting the sunshine get to the forest floor can be as simple as dropping a few trees.
This allows the ground cover to grow up, which provides bedding cover and food. You can also seed warm-season grasses in this area to provide a nice mat for the deer to lie on. Keep in mind that bedding areas do not need to be large. In fact, putting several small improved areas in your inviolate area is better than making it all into bedding cover. Tom Mesnard, owner of Total Land Management , a whitetail habitat consulting and improvement company, told me that he has a acre piece of property that produces nice bucks year after year.
He has four small pockets of perfect bedding habitat on that property. He says that the biggest bucks will choose the premiere spots, and other bucks must have some place to go.
In order to keep the bucks on their property, those four small bedding areas allow them a place to go. A small tree cut just over halfway through drops to the ground and provides a backing for a buck to put his back up against. The tree will continue to grow and the branches will grow straight up, which adds to the thick look and feel of the area that a buck likes. It might be tempting to drop too many trees, but bucks can be a little claustrophobic — they do not like to be pinned in with no visibility.
They like to be able to put something at their back and see downwind so they have all angles covered. Keep this in mind as you hinge-cut, so you drop the trees the right direction and in the right locations. A whitetail blogger at www. He consistently holds big bucks on his Iowa farm year after year, and one of the ways he does it is by creating the actual beds. He put a trail camera on one of the beds he created just to prove that it works.
Jon says that a deer will lie where it is comfortable and will almost never lie down on a stick or a stone. By understanding specific spots where deer like to bed, he makes the bed for them. He picks out areas where they can put a log, bush or stump at their back and where they can have some visibility downwind.
He makes several beds for several wind directions. He clears out the areas so the beds are rounded and smooth. If he needs to drop a tree to create a backing log or hinge-cut a small tree, he will.
Then he trims brush downwind of the bed for visibility. The deer plop right down and take advantage of his invitation. Nothing will screw up the safe, secure feeling of a bedding area faster than having a predator cruise through it. That goes for both four-legged predators as well as the two-legged variety. Coyotes mess with deer, and the more you have of them, the less secure your deer feel. Fortunately, there are ways to control coyotes and reduce this problem.
Trapping coyotes takes time and skill. If you do not have the time or the skill to do it, you best find someone who does, because all you are going to do is educate the crafty canines and make them that much more difficult to control. If you choose to control them yourself, spend some time watching videos here on www. Check your local game regulations and make sure you are not restricted to a trapping season. In most states coyotes are not considered game animals, so you can trap and hunt them anytime — but not all states see it that way.
Foothold traps work well if set correctly with the right bait and lures. Many first-time trappers find it is easier to catch coyotes in snares by setting them in trails through thickets and in fence crawl-unders. If you or the neighbors have dogs that like to roam, take that into consideration before setting.
How To Hunt A Deer Bedding Area?
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