Monday, April 20, 2020

DS20 Part 15: Hidden Hills

Scouted a hill country spot yesterday. I’ve never physically been to this section of land though I’ve driven past the area a million times to hunt nearby. Despite being somewhat familiar with the area, I was kind of surprised by how big the hills were once you got away from the road. It was like a slightly smaller version of southern OH.

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.

I couldn’t find any beds in this area of thicker cover. There were a few spots that were kind of iffy, but nothing that was a for sure bed. I felt like there had to be a buck bed in the area, I just couldn’t find it. I have no clue if the deer that made those rubs is still alive. I’m tempted to throw a trail cam up somewhere nearby to this rub cluster, but not so close I blow the spot. Still scratching my head on where the best place for that would be. I’d rather not have a camera up and hunt it blind than have a camera, find the buck is still alive, and blow it. I think this is a good spot for a easterly or southerly wind. The south facing and east facing slopes were basically wide open. No water anywhere I could see. Still a lot to learn about this section. Despite all of the oaks, I didn’t see a ton of leftover acorns which makes me suspect last year was an off year, and this year could have a good crop.

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DS20 Part 15: Hidden Hills

Scouted a hill country spot yesterday. I’ve never physically been to this section of land though I’ve driven past the area a million times...