Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

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Msmithe21
 
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Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby Msmithe21 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:15 am

Hey guys, this will be my first hunting season and I have chosen to go after the deer with a bow. I have some basic knowledge on deer hunting and have become a fairly decent shooter with my bow. I live in New Hampshire and the woods I hunt in is owned by my family and is about 8 acres. The terrain of the woods is fairly thick no clear cuts or farmland, just big woods with oaks and pines. My question is how would someone like me try and hunt this terrain? I have tried looking for signs and such, but have found fairly decent amounts of deer droppings and tracks, but I mainly am wondering how I would find the main food places and bedding areas for these deer along with where I should hang a stand. Any help is appreciated.


Thanks,
Mike

Bowriter
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby Bowriter » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:54 pm

In eight acres, don't worry about a bedding area, just forget that completely. Concentrate on the oaks. When they begin to drop acorns, that will be your preferred food source. Whiteoaks are the most preferred but redoaks are close behind. However, even though a tree is dropping acorns, deer may not feed there. They have certain trees (magnet trees) that they prefer.

To tell if a deer is feeding on acorns and not squirrels, look for the cap of the nut with just a small notch cut out of it. Only deer do that and of course, look for droppings. On eight acres, you may find several trees they are hitting and unfortunately, oaks do not hold mast every year. Find the trees with acorns in advance...like right now.

Do not try to hunt the food source. Hunt the trail leading to it. With a bow, a deer may feed within 10-yards of you for 10-minutes and never give you a shot. The traveling deer is the vulnerable deer. Set up a good bow shot-maybe 20-yards-from the trail.

Also look for fruit trees such as persimmon. When they start dropping fruit, deer will often hammer them. There are two varieties of persimmon, early and late. The early trees drop fruit inlate August through October. The late trees drop after a few good frosts. Both attract deer.

On eight acres, you will soon learn what the deer are doing. Just pay attention. Look for any fence or creek crossings. Deer like low places to cross a fence, same as you and I and the same is true for a creek crossing. Look for a place you would cross. A year or two of bow hunting willteach you a great deal about deer. Enjoy it.

Good luck

Msmithe21
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby Msmithe21 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:24 pm

My question is though how would one find these trails leading to the food sources? what do they look like and how will I know if deer are using them?

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shaman
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby shaman » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:34 am

First season? You're asking a lot of the right questions. It's going to be hard to just come out and answer them. However, I have an idea.

First off, find yourself a place where you know there are a lot of deer. The county park near me is loaded with them-- same with the big cemetery. Go find yourself a spot and start observing.

Read my piece of speed scouting from last year:

http://genesis9.angzva.com/?p=2291

By finding a spot with a known population of deer, you can kind of calibrate your scouting sense. Look for what the ground looks like after deer have been feeding. Observe the scat, the prints, etc. Find beds in the tall grass. Find trails. See how deer set up on the edge of cover before coming out in the open to feed. Find where they cross creeks. Find the angle they generally take up a hill.

Pretty soon, you will be able to go onto a strange piece of ground and notice the similarities. I can remember being at your stage of game and hearing that Jay Bond, the owner of the archery store, could actually tell if deer had been walking across fresh-fallen leaves. I asked him how he did it. Jay replied " You just see it." Big fat help he was! Truth is, after 30 years, I can say he's right. I really can look out over fresh-fallen leaves and tell. It wasn't magic, but I'll be danged if I can give you a good explanation as to what it looks like. Truth is, it's just endless repetition. I've seen so many deer walk through leaves, I can just tell.

Eventually you'll get to a point where you can scout a creek bottom and find a place where deer cross. You will wonder where they go from there, and you will start walking aimlessly up the opposing hill. After 50 yards, the trail will have long petered out and you'll wonder where the deer went. You'll look down and there will be fresh scat.

That's where you need to be, and then you will be able to answer your own questions. That's what this is all about. Start with the deer you can see and work backwards.
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Bowriter
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby Bowriter » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:21 pm

Msmithe21 wrote:My question is though how would one find these trails leading to the food sources? what do they look like and how will I know if deer are using them?


A deer trail looks just like a human trail just less visible. It looks like where several animals have walked, going to or from the same place. Try scouting after a hard rain when the ground will hold fresh tracks. get in the woods before daylight, sit still and see what is going on. It is early enough it won't hurt anything.

Msmithe21
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby Msmithe21 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:56 pm

Thanks for all your help guys I think I am gonna try looking for some trails along the heavy acorn mast sections of the property I hunt and see if I can find something. It's just hard trying to start out in the sport haha, but I am sure like anything after a lot of trial and error you learn and master your skills just hoping that I can figure stuff out rather quickly.

jonboy1984
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby jonboy1984 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:18 pm

I would also suggest you find some public land to hunt on in addition to your 8 acres of private.

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lil wrangler
 
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Re: Finding Food Sources and Bedding Areas in Thick Woods?

Postby lil wrangler » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:30 am

i would also add, if it's legal, dump some corn or attractant or put up a feeder and a trail cam if you can. also, keep an eye out for any edges (woods to field) and pinch points. do lots of research, this sight is a wonderful place to find all kinds of good info. last....practice, practice, practice. the better shot you are w/your bow, the more confidence you will have when the time comes to make a shot..be realistic w/your shots, get perfect at 20yrds. most of your bow shots will be 30 yrds. or less. good luck!
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