The woods had been select cut at some point in the past. It was more like a park than a forest and I went up the ridge with the heaviest stem count. Even being the thicker ridge, it was fairly wide open. This area might be a heck of a squirrel hunting spot- big trees, lots of oaks. As I neared the top, I found my first bed and decided it was from an elk. Some of the hairs in it were super long and elk colored, there was a big pile of elk scat nearby, and there wasn’t a whole lot of cover around it.
I unknowingly veered off course onto some nearby private land as I followed the ridge. There were no posted signs or fences, but I knew something wasn’t right when I saw an old steel bath tub laying upside down on the side of a hill. I walked up to it, kicked it right side up and a dang porcupine was just inches away from my legs, puffed up and ready for battle. I jumped back about 5 feet, laughed at myself, and got some video of it climbing up the closest tree. I flipped the tub back over so it could have its home back and got myself back on track towards the public.
There was a long north facing point that drew me to the area in the first place cyberscouting. From what I could tell, there were multiple spurs and ridges coming together on it. I found a rub, then a bed, then realized that what I saw on the topo was right, it was a crossroads. Still not a ton of cover though, but possibly a decent spot to catch a buck cruising during the rut. There was a dead materials ground blind a little further north, looked like a gun setup. 100yds north I finally came into some thicker cover, and it was littered with rubs. Some of them were really high off the ground and I had to really study them to figure out if they were from a mature deer or a smaller elk. A couple were really tough to decipher. I’ve found the easiest way to make this call is to look at the branches higher up on the tree- when present. If they’re broke off over chest high, its probably elk. Conversely, if the low point of the rub is below knee height, its probably whitetail. I think these rubs were all made by a mature whitetail.