The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 29, 2012, 02:06 PM   #1
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Bowhunting: I'm doing it wrong.

Hope you guys can help me here.

I live in a heavily wooded area, but have houses near me - too near to comfortably use shotgun to hunt. (Rifle is illegal in this area, and I don't mean to irritate the neighbors.) I got a bow, practiced up, and thought I'd try bowhunting. It's a tiny little spit of land - 'bout an acre.

So I put up a stand, and made a nice clearing. I've seen does walk past once this season, and I shot on one and I think I either hit a branch or clean missed her - but it was only at about ten yards through cover, so my guess is that I nicked some foliage.

However, I keep 'bumping' the deer on the way in. I can't seem to move quietly or slowly enough - I ALWAYS seem to make some noise, and nearly every morning I go out, I hear a big ruckus as all the deer clear out. I then sit uselessly in my stand for five or six hours, hunting the spot where all the deer used to be.

Today it snowed, and I am getting to the end of the season and still have not filled my tag, so I thought I would try stalking a bit. I managed to wake up four does - I think the same ones I've seen already. They upped and took off. They were too far for me to shoot at with any degree of accuracy, and because this area is so densely wooded, there's brush EVERYWHERE. A clean shot would be like threading a needle.

I'm pretty sure the times I have gotten out and haven't heard them take off they are bedding down in the same spot, which is just too far for me to shoot, and too wooded to get near them quietly.

Any advice? I feel like waking up early, scaring off deer, and then freezing my cookies off isn't the greatest game plan. I was hoping a greybeard could give me some advice here. I really just want to hunt with a rifle... maybe I'll have to get on that.
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 04:02 PM   #2
buck460XVR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 2,072
Sounds like a tough scenario. With the limited amount of information given, I'm thinkin' your little "spit" of woods is the preferred bedding area or sanctuary in the area. Most times deer will not tolerate being kicked outta their bedding area more than once or twice without completely abandoning it, at least for a while. If the deer still use it after being bumped outta there numerous times, I'd figure they have no other suitable place to bed.....or they are accustomed enough to humans that they are not being spooked badly. This happens regularly with urbanized deer. Since the deer are already bedded in the area before you get there and you claim you are getting up early, they apparently are completely nocturnal. Since you cannot beat them to the spot in the morning, you either have to find another spot or figure where they head when busted and go sit there and have someone else walk thru the woodlot and push them to you. Small woodlots surrounded by houses/humans are tough because many times even when the cover is thick, the deer are situated where they can see danger approach from far away. This is why they are there. Since they are nocturnal, they wait till dark to leave and are back long before the sun comes up. Unless there is another reason for them to move during daylight hours(such as rutting, breeding, bad weather or being kicked up by man or predators) they won't. They'll lay there and alternate between sleeping and chewing their cud until darkness falls. Being more than one there just makes them all the more wary and difficult to approach. Since they are not retuning to your woodlot within 5 or 6 hours after being kicked up, I'm thinkin' they have an alternative safe spot they head to. Go out during daylight hours and watch where they go when you bust them. Then find a spot on that escape route or the other woodlot they head to and place your stand. You can either wait there and hope someone/something comes along to push them to you or better yet, use a friend to do the pushin' for you. If you set up far enough away from the bedding area, and the push is gentle, the deer will have slowed down to a slow cautious walk by the time they get to you. This will work at anytime of the day and once you know where they head it can be done is a short amount of time without freezin' one's butt off. If you cannot get permission to hunt anywhere on that escape route/alternative safe spot, you may be SOL.
buck460XVR is offline  
Old December 29, 2012, 07:11 PM   #3
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Great advice, thank you!

I've been thinking on having someone drive them to me if I can get permission from the landowners nearby.

These deer are, I think, pretty obstinate about staying nearby. I think they're reasonably unafraid of humans. They've seen me in stand, tried to figure out what I was, and rolled off pretty nonchalantly. I don't wear camo or scent, so I am sure they had a good idea that I was not a tree.

Maybe I'll see if I can't drive 'em out of there some.
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 02:13 AM   #4
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 4,354
"about an acre"

Here are my thoughts. First, if you got a shot from your setup, you did OK. Next, an acre to hunt beats no land to hunt, so hang in there. Some really big deer have been killed on these urban parcels.

What are you doing about the wind? It must figure into your approach and stand site selection. Yeah you have city deer used to human smell, but urban deer still play the wind. If you are approaching the same way every AM and the wind is at your back, blowing your scent ahead, you are 4/5's beat to start.
You must try very hard to approach your stand with the wind in your face, and your "shot" area upwind of you. There may be some wind conditions that will not allow you to effectively hunt your set up as is.

I would look very hard at the fringes of the site and multiple stand locations, allowing you to approach with the wind in your favor and just barely enter the woodlot. On a north wind, you hunt stand A, south wind stand B, etc. Again on some wind conditions, you may not be able to hunt. Since the tract is tiny, pre prepared ground blinds my be an answer. But hunting from the ground will require you to be very wind aware,and movement conscious. I'm a fan of climbers due to the flexibility they offer in picking stand sites, and they can't be stolen, you walk out with it, nobody else can slip in and hunt it in your absence, etc. but a climbing stand may be to noisy for your bitty spot.
Since the tract is so small, you may be able to circle and approach from upwind easily. Try to pick stand sites that will only require a very limited travel distance from the woods edge to your stand. I'm talking just 10-20 yards or so....into to cover and on stand very simply.

An acre is not very big. If the deer are bedding there, they do not stay on the ground all day. They will rise and mill about a bit, and you may get a shot resultantly.

Good luck in Philly. I was detailed there 13 months, and on site about 9. Had my pickup stolen 1 week in. Met my wife there (another displaced southerner) and got the truck back to boot! ( Twenty-Second and Race Sts) Rough, but I kept the truck another 10 yrs! Still got the wife too!

I would escape the city to state land in Adams Co, and COE and SGL in Huntington CO, about 2 and 4 hrs drives.
bamaranger is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 12:09 PM   #5
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Sadly, the wind blows W --> E. I'm upwind of them. Nothing I can do about that, based on how the property is set up and what surrounds me. That said, they HAVE to be ignoring the wind - there's people all over. If they are jumping up and taking off every time they smell Tide, they're gonna be running their little deer keisters off! Seriously, I think it's me... when I make a noise - a snapped branch, leaves, whatever - they take off. I can't move any slower or quieter, so lately I just get in stand as fast as I can. Sometimes when they're not there, it works. However, I have to be in stand crazy-early - like, an hour and a half before sun-up. Maybe that's normal for bowhunting; I don't know. It is, to me, overkill for the rifle world.

I have thought about 'ringing' the area with stands, and that will happen next year as I clear the brush and landscape my shooting lanes in. The problem I am having with that is that the woodlot is thick enough that I have very limited shots unless I cut in the lanes. Trying to guess where the deer are going to funnel to and from is like reading tea leaves, but I think my setup next season will look better than it does now.

We did move out of Philly, actually - we're up in Macungie nowadays. I have a buddy in SC PA, and I think I am gonna try to go rifle hunt his land this week. I'm also gonna go hit the SGL and squirrel hunt this week, too, so I don't feel so skunked.

As always, I appreciate the advice! I always seem to be learning around here.
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 03:09 PM   #6
buck460XVR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2006
Posts: 2,072
Regardless of which way the wind blows, deer using small areas of heavy cover like you describe will bed with the wind to their back and their eyes downwind. This lets them smell danger they can't see and see the danger they can't smell. In an urban setting where there is open ground all around, this is a very safe situation for them. If the winds changes during the day, they will change their position accordingly. Since they enter the area long before legal hunting hours and don't leave till after, ringin' the area with stands ten yards apart will do nothing to improve your chances of success. In these types of setting with human habitation so close, of course the deer become accustomed to the smells of humans. But they do relate to the relative closeness of said smells and associate darkness with safety. That's why they'll feed in the garden ten feet from the back of the house at night with laundry hangin' on the line. One scenario that may prove successful would be during the breeding season where bucks are actively seeking does in areas they normally bed. Even if you kick the does outta that small area, a buck on the prowl will most certainly come and check it out hoping to find a hot doe. Another scenario may be to put a blind a short distance from that area in hopes that will become accustomed to it and may move by it in the evening on their way to feed. Even nocturnal deer will occasionally move early because of inclement weather either coming or already gone. Also deer cannot count, so if two people walk to the blind and only one walks away and disappears in the distance, they think all the danger is gone. If there is snow on the ground you don't need to see where the deer go when spooked, their tracks will speak for themselves.
buck460XVR is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 03:30 PM   #7
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
All excellent points. Next year is a different year, and I will do things differently. I tracked them right off my property, so I had to sort of stop at that point.

Here's hoping the rut next year works out in my favor!
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 04:37 PM   #8
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,071
Tried evening hunting yet? Catch them on their way to the bedding sites...

also another caveat of a tiny plot and a bow hunt is that the shot deer may be several parcels away when it falls... Do you have permission to blood trail off the plot you shoot the deer on?

Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 05:35 PM   #9
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,719
When you're walking in try taking two or three steps and then pausing for about the same amount of time. It will take longer but chances are they will still be there when you get in sight. If you act like they do they're less apt to run. They will have taken note of your approach tho and will be very wary. When you see them, stop and stand completely still until they go back to browsing. If you do spook them they will usually just run a few yards and then look back to see what spooked them.
Hawg is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 06:30 PM   #10
Zen Archery
Member
 
Join Date: January 30, 2005
Posts: 95
if you are bumping them that means you know where they are bedding. wait for a super windy day thats in your favor. they will lay their all day long. stalk up on them and sling the arrow.
__________________
Video Hunting Library
Zen Archery is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 08:48 PM   #11
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Quote:
Tried evening hunting yet? Catch them on their way to the bedding sites...

also another caveat of a tiny plot and a bow hunt is that the shot deer may be several parcels away when it falls... Do you have permission to blood trail off the plot you shoot the deer on?

Brent
Brent, I have hunted morning, afternoon, and evenings alike. It's just murder to get them to be where I am. In the evening, I think they are waiting for SEVERE dark to get up and out. I have never once heard them run spooked when I am coming out - and I will stay in there pretty late; there have been a few times coming out where I realized I couldn't shoot on something because I would be unable to ID antler count.

As far as the land, it's got four sides. One side it backs up to is mine. One is a neighbor, who knows I hunt, and we're friendly with. A second neighbor has the third side, and he has a feeder up in his back yard, which, oddly, the deer seem to ignore. I keep trying to get over to see him - I have stopped in twice with six-pack in hand - but he never seems to be 'round. The deer seem to avoid heading in that direction, so I haven't gotten too crazy with it - I probably should. The last side backs up to a huge plot of land, and I cannot figure out who owns it. As far as the parcels bordering THOSE parcels... well, I haven't asked the whole county - I don't really want to clue in more people than I have to that I am hunting this land. I was sort of hoping for the best, and hoping that a knock on the door and a polite request would get me what I was after. If that's a bad plan, then I suppose I can abandon it, it just severely cuts down the amount of hunting I can do.

Quote:
When you're walking in try taking two or three steps and then pausing for about the same amount of time. It will take longer but chances are they will still be there when you get in sight. If you act like they do they're less apt to run. They will have taken note of your approach tho and will be very wary. When you see them, stop and stand completely still until they go back to browsing. If you do spook them they will usually just run a few yards and then look back to see what spooked them.
I have attempted that. As soon as they hear me, they're gone. I'm not tromping all around, but from my front door to stand is maybe a hundred yards. I've stretched it out to a fifteen-minute sojourn before, and they've heard me and took off. I am presuming that is slow; please tell me if I am being too fast at that speed! I'm familiar with them spooking, and going back to what they are doing; these deer are not doing that. They are laying in thick cover, and the only thing I see is white tails - they're gone!

Quote:
if you are bumping them that means you know where they are bedding. wait for a super windy day thats in your favor. they will lay their all day long. stalk up on them and sling the arrow.
Totally. Right now, it's too thick. It took me a hell of a long time to get through. I need to landscape it pretty hard to get it so I can do that. I need to also clear out some leaves nearer to where they bed; I've got leaves crackling underfoot, brush blocking my vision, and branches blocking my shot in that area. I'm gonna try and clear some brush and timber in the fall, and maybe set up my clearing with a feeder to help direct the deer traffic where I think it should go.
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 11:32 PM   #12
shortwave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2007
Location: SOUTHEAST, OHIO
Posts: 5,937
Quote:
Right now, it's too thick. It took me a hell of a long time to get through. I need to landscape it pretty hard to get it so I can do that. I need to also clear out some leaves nearer to where they bed; I've got leaves crackling underfoot, brush blocking my vision, and branches blocking my shot in that area. I'm gonna try and clear some brush and timber in the fall, and maybe set up my clearing with a feeder to help direct the deer traffic where I think it should go.
Don't know your surrounding area but you may be making a huge mistake heavily landscaping your area. More then likely, 'Thick' is the reason the deer chose to bed there in the first place rather then someplace else. My experience has been if you go in a known deer bedding area and start cutting out many thickets you will push the deer out as well. Case and point...your neighbor has a feeder the deer never visit.

Someone earlier posted about hunting your area during rut. I wish I had an area, such as yours, size wise, in which I knew the doe's were religiously bedding in to hunt during the rut.
Again, as was earlier stated, regardless of whether you run the doe off as you enter, you can bet Mr. Antler knows those does usually bed in your spot during the day and he will be there lookin for them at some point during the day.
If I couldn't figure out a way to hunt there through the rest of the season, you can bet I'd be sitting all day in my stand during the rut and I'd get into my stand plenty early. I wouldn't disturb the cover any more then I had to to get a shot off. And I would cut those shooting lanes about mid summer.

This doesn't help you now but you may have a 'honey hole' come next rut with a chance of a real wall hanger.

Quote:
and I shot on one and I think I either hit a branch or clean missed her - but it was only at about ten yards through cover, so my guess is that I nicked some foliage.
FWIW:
You probably did hit foliage but just thought I'd mention just in case you didn't know. If your bow is zero'd from the ground and you are shooting from an elevated stand, you will hit high every time. Ideally, you need to zero and practice the way you are going to hunt. Either on the ground or elevated...or have separate pins for each scenario which can get a bit confusing during 'crunch time'.

Last edited by shortwave; December 30, 2012 at 11:49 PM.
shortwave is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 07:55 PM   #13
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
You know, that's a good call.

It took me forever to line up a bow and practice; I didn't start hunting it til well after the rut. I suppose part of my lack of success is my own ineptitude and inability to be prepared to hunt this season.

Maybe I'll chalk this season up to a loss and go at it next year a bit wiser.

On a separate note... how would I zero my bow for a treestand? Am I supposed to practice from a stand?
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 09:34 PM   #14
shortwave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2007
Location: SOUTHEAST, OHIO
Posts: 5,937
Quote:
On a separate note... how would I zero my bow for a treestand? Am I supposed to practice from a stand?
I hunt mostly from an elevated position so that is where my bow is zero'ed from and where I practice from.

The yard here is on a hill and the deck wraps around to the sides of the house. The back of the deck is 18' off the ground so I set my targets out in ten yd. increments out to forty yds.

When I lived in town, I would shoot from the garage roof or set my ladder stand up in the tree in the backyard. My neighbor(and hunting partner) lived in a two story house and shot out of his bedroom window.

Caution: if you have house's close by make sure you have very secure backstops. Surface rocks or other hard objects will make arrows do some crazy things and your neighbor won't be to happy with an arrow stuck in his siding.

When I first built the climber I've got now, I would practice out of it as I wanted to get the feel of shooting from the platform. I've had it for about 15yrs now so I'm comfortable shooting from it. Too, would highly recommend a good safety harness to be worn religiously.

My neighbors son(now in his mid twenties) has been in a wheelchair since he was 15 due to a fall from a tree stand.

Last edited by shortwave; December 31, 2012 at 09:43 PM.
shortwave is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 10:25 PM   #15
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Huh. Never would have thought of a lot of that.

I'ma think on all that for a bit. Thank you.
govmule84 is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 10:45 PM   #16
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,054
Quote:
On a separate note... how would I zero my bow for a treestand? Am I supposed to practice from a stand?
Yep you should. That stand you hunt from would serve the purpose.

Lots of brush having to deal with: Cut some shooting lanes early in the Fall. Only for the distance your comfortable with. (to accommodate your shooting ability & nothing more)

Tip: When I practiced and during the warm months. To and from my Archery Range. I'd look for those little yard utility flags used to mark utility entrance lines across someone's grass. I'd stop & ask the people who's yard they were in if I could have their permission to take them or ask politely to have them saved for me to pick up at a latter date. "Never once discouraged or incurred a problem from those I asked."

Took those little wire flags and placed them at different distances all around my stand and going down each shooting lane if I had enough. Never needed one of them expensive range finder gizmos. So long as I knew the range. I'd pick out the proper sight pin. (only had two) Release! >spot on!!
Practice practice and more practice.

Is it legal to grain in your state while hunting govmule84? Whole corn works. If not. Molasses drizzled on shrubs out in front of your stand some. Is a attractant deer will show some curiosity towards.

As far a stalking on the ground. Or as it was called years ago "Still Hunting." Hawg Haggen & shortwave know how its done. Look to their threads for that (old school knowledge) on how its done correctly._
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old January 2, 2013, 06:18 AM   #17
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Nah, baited areas cannot be hunted until 30 days after food pick-up.

I will start practicing from above!
govmule84 is offline  
Old January 3, 2013, 12:25 AM   #18
misterE
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 2009
Location: Benton, Arkansas
Posts: 186
Man you are in a pickle. Late season deer are almost impossible to sneak up on. Even if they haven't been hunted that hard, they have a lot more going for them. Loss of foliage means they can see us better. They can hear a lot better when the foliage is down in the winter. Even if smell is not the issue, deer are extremely sensitive to sound. I swear, I've seen deer on a blustery windy, noisy day take off at the sound of my bow nicking the edge of my metal tree stand which barely makes a sound.

My advice- do the best you can with the wind, scent. You are going to have to clear a trail into your stand and maybe belly crawl to it. That way they won't hear or see you - maybe. A tunnel would be best. Or a zip line from top of your house into tree stand. ( sorry, but this is the kind of stuff I sit in my stand and think about).

If you are able to make it to your stand undetected, I don't know what kind of stand you're in, but the higher the better. Say about 30 feet if you can do that safely. Even that high, any cover you can have around your self in stand will make a huge difference. Seems like deer walk around the woods looking up into trees more once the leaves drop. You definitely need to practice shooting from stand height. Not only is point of impact different, you need to practice the body angles you'll have to use.

Don't get discouraged either. You are learning many hunting tips the hard way which seems to be the only way I learn the,m. Also, next year, early fall should be much more successful for you.

Good luck!
misterE is offline  
Old January 5, 2013, 03:17 AM   #19
Gunplummer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2010
Location: South East Pa.
Posts: 1,450
I used to hunt where a couple fencerows came together in open fields. Houses were close and the deer moved in the middle of the day during the week. On Saturdays, the deer changed patterns to early and late movement. The deer can tell when it is the weekend by the lack of noise in the morning (Cars starting, people going to work, stuff like that). Get out during the week if possible. Deer walk around in back yards during the day because no one is around.
Gunplummer is offline  
Old January 6, 2013, 04:46 PM   #20
govmule84
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2005
Location: Up on a hill
Posts: 398
Lotta good advice in here, lotta stuff to think about. Thanks, everyone.
govmule84 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:37 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13354 seconds with 9 queries