Sunday, August 11, 2019

DS19 Part 6: Diving into a Prime Bedding Area

About halfway through the week I decided I needed to go into a spot I've been hunting for a few years and go back a little further than normal to a place I suspected was a bedding area. I was really torn about going in and possibly disturbing the area, but I decided to go for it with the season still being seven weeks out and I just needed to know how this little nook looked on the ground. On the way in I decided to move the camera I set last week to a spot that could monitor deer that might be using this particular bedding area- at least if they entered or exited it to the south. The check revealed 8 deer, one small black bear and either a bat or a flying squirrel that had walked by it over the last week. Unfortunately, the picture quality is terrible. There are three deer that looked bucky, but its not clear one way or the other.

So there is a long ridge that leads to this point that I want to get to, its basically a peninsula. Over the last few years and even during spring scouting, this area was covered in mature trees so I was kind of perplexed to see a lot of daylight coming through the woods as I got closer. They logged it this spring, almost a complete clearcut, but they left some scattered oak and beach trees. At this point I was really happy I decided to scout this spot one more time before season. As I stood on the high ridge overlooking the clearcut, I was disappointed at first, but this is going to be really fun to hunt as it goes back through succession. Its not just a big square clearcut, its almost "8" shaped, but the 8 is sideways facing, kind of like an east/west infinity symbol with the center just south of the end of the peninsula- which runs north/south. I was thinking deer would be using those points tht create the center of the 8 for bedding in conjunction with the end of the peninsula, giving them multiple bedding options for different winds very close to one another. I started to walk the skidder tracks out into the clearcut towards the end of the peninsula and stopped to check out some deer tracks. When I looked back up, I spotted a deer standing about 50yds in front of me. It was a small buck. I pretended like I didn't see it, regretted not bringing my binos, and started to walk kind of towards and away from it and it took off. I stopped and decided to go check out its bed and after about three steps towards it, another buck jumped about from about 10yds to the left of where the original deer was and followed it NW down the same draw. Nothing to lose now, I thought, and went over to where they were. It was interesting, even though I knew exactly where they were bedded, it was tough to find both beds. In fact, I only found the one from the original deer.

From where I was now at, I could see the end of the peninsula. I was surprised to see how high the elevation gained towards the end of it. It was basically a small hill at the end of the peninsula, about twice the height of the center of the peninsula. Where the two deer jumped up was- I would really love to draw this out for you, but I don't trust you :) The wind was out of the west, but because of the terrain, it was coming over there backs from the NW and they were watching over the clearcut to the south. 50yds behind them the little hill started to rise towards the end of the peninsula. I walked back to it and circled to the downwind side and made my way around it. Going in I thought the deer would have bedding for three different wind directions, but because of the shape of the little hill, they could bed here on any wind. I ran into multiple buck beds, some down to the dirt.

I sat in each and looked around to see what the deer could see and realized that I will have my work cut out for me to get close to this spot in the fall- especially after the leaves drop. I hemmed and hawed about how I should approach it- do I stack the deck and throw a few hunts in close proximity to it- one at the base of the peninsula, one on the opposite ridge to the north and then one basically right where those deer jumped up, hoping they aren't bedding there when I come back and are using the hill beds, or do I just go right at the hill? I'm still not sure. While the leaves are still up, I am confident I can get to where those deer jumped up today and hang a stand. I feel that is the direction of travel and most likely spot any deer bedding on the hill will probably move through as they exit their beds in the evening. The other option is to throw the ghillie suit on and stalk as close as I dare to that point, and take cover in some of the brush piles left over by the loggers. I think I need to just go right at em if I get the right wind in early October. I hung my camera at the base of the peninsula on the way out. This time it will sit until I'm back in the area to hunt it.

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