Wisconsin Late Season

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Washburn
 
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Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Washburn » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:20 am

I hunt approximately 450 acres of private land in northwest Wisconsin. The land is a mix of hardwood ridges, softwood thickets (popple) with a few small swamps. Bordering this land to the west is a large section of land that was clearcut two years ago. I don't have permission to hunt the clearcut proper. The mast crop is good this year.

Everyone says you need to hunt the food sources during late season, but we have zero agricultural fields or food plots that we can hunt. There are grass fields and some standing corn about a half mile or so away. The deer I've observed the last 2 weeks are still active in our area. They seem spread out, feeding on browse and acorns. But, deer movement is way down, and sightings are way down too.

Given this description, where do you think is the best place to hunt late season?

I am leaning towards setting up along the edge of the clearcut. There is lots of old buck sign along this edge, the clearcut provides food, and the acorn ridges and flats are close by. The western/southwestern exposure provides some thermal advantage, too, I suppose.

I also have stands in the hardwoods, but with the snow and cold and groundcover knocked down, these areas feel really empty.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Washburn
"As the light grows dimmer and the trail begins to fade, my sweetest dreams are those of yesteryear, at deer camp."

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ranwin33
 
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Location: Kansas and Missouri

RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby ranwin33 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:14 am

Field edges are always good.  Here in Missouri after the farmers harvest they don't leave much in the fields, but the deer still hit them looking for any leftovers.  Also, the old stubble does provide browse for them and deer like the edges. 
 
As for the clearcut, if you hunt the edge, can you recover any deer that may run there after being shot, since you don't have permission to hunt it?  Just something to consider.
 
If you've got snow on the ground, look for heavily traveled trails, find merge points heading to and from what may be food sources and set up on those. 
 
Good luck.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

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Goose
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Goose » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:48 am

I would think the clearcut would be good especially if its 5yo or less.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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Washburn
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Washburn » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:14 am

ranwin33...good point on permission to retrieve a deer. I do have permission to do that, just not to hunt the land. Which isn't a big deal, since there isn't a tree big enough to hold a stand on the enter 100 acres.

Deer are moving in and out of the clearcut to bed and feed. So my thought is to set up in an area that has a rub line, old scrapes, and near an oak flat that is loaded with acorns. The cover is kind of open, but I figure early and late I might catch deer moving in or out of the area.

Washburn
"As the light grows dimmer and the trail begins to fade, my sweetest dreams are those of yesteryear, at deer camp."

keystonehunter
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby keystonehunter » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:24 am

You mentioned swamps on the property. Give these a VERY close look. If these are low and thick, and out of the wind, the deer will be in there.
you never shoot a buck from the couch

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Washburn
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Washburn » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:55 am

ORIGINAL: keystonehunter
You mentioned swamps on the property. Give these a VERY close look. If these are low and thick, and out of the wind, the deer will be in there.


What do you think makes more sense; sneak in before first light and set up for deer heading to the swamp to bed for the day, or set up in the evening hoping to waylay one leaving the swamp to feed? The one swamp I am thinking of is very thick (tamaracks) but also very small...less than an acre. But I can sneak close to it if the wind cooperates.
Thanks.

Washburn
"As the light grows dimmer and the trail begins to fade, my sweetest dreams are those of yesteryear, at deer camp."

Nubs
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Nubs » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:14 am

What do you think makes more sense; sneak in before first light and set up for deer heading to the swamp to bed for the day, or set up in the evening hoping to waylay one leaving the swamp to feed? The one swamp I am thinking of is very thick (tamaracks) but also very small...less than an acre. But I can sneak close to it if the wind cooperates.
Thanks.


I would say both are good ideas, just play the wind right and try not to get busted. After a few months of hunting pressure I am sure the deer are skittish and will not tolerate much more human intrusion.

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Washburn
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby Washburn » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:07 am

I set up along the edge of the oaks and clearcut for 3 sits this past weekend; saw deer every time out. Sunday morning was a challenge with a driving snow that began overnight and continued all day, dropping about one foot as of 6PM. Visibility was really limited, but deer were moving during the morning.

Saturday was calm with 2 inches of fresh snow on top of 4 inches of older snow. I found 13 beds and 5 opened scrapes, plus numerous areas where deer had been feeding on acorns. These areas looked like someone had used a leaf blower to clear a patch of the woods. Amazing.

No good shots but lots of action and pleased to see all of the sign after a long hunting season.

This 'new' spot along the clearcut will be a place I plan on setting up on during next season's rut.

Washburn
"As the light grows dimmer and the trail begins to fade, my sweetest dreams are those of yesteryear, at deer camp."

DeanoZ
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby DeanoZ » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:01 am

With the fresh snow, now would be a good time to follow the tracks in the swamp and get a sense of where they entering/ exiting the swamp.  Of course you don't want to get to close in and spook'em, just far enough to get a sense of where to set up.  be interested to hear what you find.

beagleman23
 
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RE: Wisconsin Late Season

Postby beagleman23 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:46 am

I would also look at the heavier cover.  Deer movement in New York changes with the onset of sustained snow.  Traditional areas are vacated.  Any south facing slopes?  They always hold deer in the winter in NY especially if there is a combination of food and cover.  Last week we moved 27 deer on a south face with good cover(mix of evergreens and briars with apple trees(good crop this year).  The deer had vacated their fall pattern of a sheltered ravine and mixure of hard and soft woods in the flats.  It was due to 8-12" of snow that started falling Nov. 16 and never melted which is unusual so early.  At one point this property had 20" before some melting and settling occured.  Typically in this western NY region we don't have sustained snow of this depth until mid to late December.

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