Northcountryman

Lessons learned from the 2020 Season

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Well, another ones in the books ! A very enjoyable season for me -sort of a respite from all the craziness in the world goin on around us-and hopefully for you as well. In terms of success though , certainly not a good season for me as I ended up empty handed . I did , however , learn a thing or two which, to me , is a success in and of itself ; and hopefully I can build on that for next Year!! Here , in no particular order , are my observations / lessons learned from the 2020 season:

1) NEVER go into the woods during hunting season without your gun!! ( did that a few weeks ago scouting a new area to fill my doe tag and kicked one up; coulda had a decent shot ; not definite but pretty solid : damn!!)

2)Just because you see some sign earlier in the season, doesn’t mean the spot you picked is a good spot!! Consider the big picture before committing to a spot and erecting a stand !! Last year , I erected a ladder stand in a spot on a flat where there were a couple rubs and a scrape . Because of this sign, I erected my ladder stand there . As it turns out ,?this stand location sucked !! Was facing in the wrong direction , was way off any regular trails that deer were actually using and I only ended Up seeing one little doe out of it . Definitely jumped to conclusions on that one !! 
3)Give a spot a real chance before you live your stand !! One of the things I kept doing was moving my climber 100 yds this way, then back 100, etc and kept giving up on the area. In the end , I think I raised too much of a ruckus in that area , wasted time adjusting when I should have been hunting and didn’t really give the original spot a Real chance !! 
4)Sometimes , an aggressive approach may actually work!! This is speculative in my part , but , the way they disappeared after Thanksgiving , I regret that I didn’t try still hunting more in some spots where I suspected bucks were holding up. At that point , what did I have to lose ? At the very least , may have at least learned something from the experience, and , best case scenario , filled my tag!!!! 
5) Be flexible in your approach and attitude , and , be willing to modify and adapt. I am preferentially , an early morning hunter but , as it turns out , the major spot I’d scouted for this season appeared to be more of an afternoon / sunset spot which I am more reluctant to do. In retrospect , with better planning , I Should have Tried that spot in the pm at least a few times . 
6)deep / remote spots don’t necessarily equate to “ better” spots in terms of productivity . Some of the area that the guys in my club regularly hunt is much more accessible and closer to the road . I discounted these areas , thinking they would be unproductive due to the Consistent pressure . Although I still feel that is somewhat true, it’s also an oversimplification because I feel that if A parcel of land comprises everything a deer requires , it’s attractive for them to use regardless of pressure . They may go nocturnal as a consequence of the pressure and be much more skiddish , yet , they may also still be there !!! 
 

Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays to all , here’s hoping for a better new year  all around !! 

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I usually hunt from the ground and when I do I like to brush myself in well.  I feel that cost me a doe on the last day of regular season because of clipping a twig while shooting through my brush.  I need to think of a way to get brushed in and have a few holes to shoot through.  I almost want to bring a pair of clippers with me and trim stuff when I get settled in....

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Wyoming county   9H and 9N

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The number one lesson for me last season was that squirrels dont snap twigs.  

Not paying enough attention to that sound, on a rainy morning on opening day of gun season, up in the northern zone, cost me a golden opportunity on a big Adirondack buck.

I was in the right place at the right time, with the right gun.  Ignoring that sound, about 2 seconds before the big buck popped up from this gully, 15 yards away, cost me a shot.  I have never seen a deer move as fast as he did, when he saw me lift the rifle from my lap.

The only small consolation, was that I was able to punch my buck tag on opening day in the Southetn zone, a month later.  

 

20201230_074819.jpg

Edited by wolc123

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These are from Fred Bear...

1. Don't step on anything you can step over.

2. Don't look for deer; look for movement (and remember, it's what they're looking for, too).

3. Always approach downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.

4. The best camouflage pattern is called, "Sit down and be quiet!" Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.

5. Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.

6. A rainstorm isn't a reason to quit the hunt. It's a reason to stay.

7. Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.

8. Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.

9. Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you'd imagine them to be.

10. Next year's hunt begins the minute this season's hunt ends.

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3 minutes ago, dinorocks said:

These are from Fred Bear...

1. Don't step on anything you can step over.

2. Don't look for deer; look for movement (and remember, it's what they're looking for, too).

3. Always approach downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.

4. The best camouflage pattern is called, "Sit down and be quiet!" Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.

5. Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.

6. A rainstorm isn't a reason to quit the hunt. It's a reason to stay.

7. Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.

8. Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.

9. Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you'd imagine them to be.

10. Next year's hunt begins the minute this season's hunt ends.

 

I've seen this and always wondered if some of these are like a bit of the telephone game. Do you think he'd really say 4 in that context? About Grandpa? Fred Bear died in '88 and while camo was a thing; it wasn't a point of conversation like it is today. Plus it wouldn't be grandpa back then as that much time hadn't elapsed. Some great advice in there though!

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TRUST YOUR GUT... Based upon past observations and cams, I hung a set in early October in an area I believe to be a buck cruising area between thick bedding during the rut. Not a ton of buck sign, but usually a couple active scrapes nearby. There was only one suitable tree without causing a stir in the woods with having to cut lanes, etc. etc. so I settled...  Being a longtime gun hunter and new bow hunter, I have found myself setting up out of range for bow shots (Limit I set for myself is 25-30 yards - Comfortable to 40 at the range but we all know that means nothing in the woods haha).  

As I completed my 3rd all day sit from this location during Veterans week, i was happy with the action with younger bucks visible and actively pushing does. The majority of the does were funneling up or down the ridge at 40 yards and out of range for me on the edge of the cover trying to escape the boys. After watching this unfold over a those days, I told myself many times that the stand needed to be moved in tighter. I had the tree picked out and everything, it just needed some pruning work as it is very thick. However, I stayed put for two reasons -  it's the rut, anything can happen and I didn't want to blow up the woods with a move as I had been undetected (as far as I knew) to that point. I decided it would be an off season adjustment.

Fast forward a few days - It was a crisp cool morning and the wind was right, little dusting overnight - I was able to get set up with no issues and within 15 minutes, I spot one of the target bucks on the property coming through all alone. He was sniffing, but more or less relaxed. He comes across a small swail and freshens a scrape. He's coming right at the tree I'm in, game on. I was already standing and as he gets to 30 yards, he stops behind some thick brush to decide next move. If he goes straight or left, he's in range, if he goes right, he skirts me next to the thick cover and provides no shot. I draw with no reaction from the buck, but he chooses the path to the right, like many of the deer I previously witnessed had. As he slowly moves up the ridge, I let off and hit the grunt tube as he gets to 60 yards. It stops him, but only momentarily for a quick peek. He then meanders out of sight... After the encounter, I was both ecstatic at the opportunity to see such a deer so close, but also a bit dejected because he is a buck I had two encounters with the previous season from other stand locations and this was three strikes...

Moral of the story - Had I moved the stand and all things remained the same, he's broadside at 10 yards...We've all battled the should I stay or should I move mental struggle, but trusting yourself and observed deer behavior should be high on the charts when strategizing. I am far from a lazy hunter, but I didn't adapt when i knew I needed to, even if the rut was in full swing. I was too concerned with spooking deer out of the area than knowing it was time to get aggressive. As far as i know, the buck made it through the season and I look forward to continuing the saga next year! 

 

Edited by SilentStalker
grammar
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1 hour ago, phade said:

 

I've seen this and always wondered if some of these are like a bit of the telephone game. Do you think he'd really say 4 in that context? About Grandpa? Fred Bear died in '88 and while camo was a thing; it wasn't a point of conversation like it is today. Plus it wouldn't be grandpa back then as that much time hadn't elapsed. Some great advice in there though!

The sit down and be quiet part is still the best deer hunting advice there is. Do that long enough and you will get a shot lol

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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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I have to secure my Tree Stand better !  I turned to take a shot at a Buck that was headed my way and he heard me  - Tree Stand Creaked - and did a 180 never to be seen again !


Answer to No One !

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1 hour ago, SilentStalker said:

TRUST YOUR GUT... Based upon past observations and cams, I hung a set in early October in an area I believe to be a buck cruising area between thick bedding during the rut. Not a ton of buck sign, but usually a couple active scrapes nearby. There was only one suitable tree without causing a stir in the woods with having to cut lanes, etc. etc. so I settled...  Being a longtime gun hunter and new bow hunter, I have found myself setting up out of range for bow shots (Limit I set for myself is 25-30 yards - Comfortable to 40 at the range but we all know that means nothing in the woods haha).  

As I completed my 3rd all day sit from this location during Veterans week, i was happy with the action with younger bucks visible and actively pushing does. The majority of the does were funneling up or down the ridge at 40 yards and out of range for me on the edge of the cover trying to escape the boys. After watching this unfold over a those days, I told myself many times that the stand needed to be moved in tighter. I had the tree picked out and everything, it just needed some pruning work as it is very thick. However, I stayed put for two reasons -  it's the rut, anything can happen and I didn't want to blow up the woods with a move as I had been undetected (as far as I knew) to that point. I decided it would be an off season adjustment.

Fast forward a few days - It was a crisp cool morning and the wind was right, little dusting overnight - I was able to get set up with no issues and within 15 minutes, I spot one of the target bucks on the property coming through all alone. He was sniffing, but more or less relaxed. He comes across a small swail and freshens a scrape. He's coming right at the tree I'm in, game on. I was already standing and as he gets to 30 yards, he stops behind some thick brush to decide next move. If he goes straight or left, he's in range, if he goes right, he skirts me next to the thick cover and provides no shot. I draw with no reaction from the buck, but he chooses the path to the right, like many of the deer I previously witnessed had. As he slowly moves up the ridge, I let off and hit the grunt tube as he gets to 60 yards. It stops him, but only momentarily for a quick peek. He then meanders out of sight... After the encounter, I was both ecstatic at the opportunity to see such a deer so close, but also a bit dejected because he is a buck I had two encounters with the previous season from other stand locations and this was three strikes...

Moral of the story - Had I moved the stand and all things remained the same, he's broadside at 10 yards...We've all battled the should I stay or should I move mental struggle, but trusting yourself and observed deer behavior should be high on the charts when strategizing. I am far from a lazy hunter, but I didn't adapt when i knew I needed to, even if the rut was in full swing. I was too concerned with spooking deer out of the area than knowing it was time to get aggressive. As far as i know, the buck made it through the season and I look forward to continuing the saga next year! 

 

I know EXACTLY what you mean . I did the same thing multiple times throughout the season and my timidity possibly cost Me IMHO. In retrospect , I would subscribe to the “nothing ventured nothing gained “ maxim and will try to remember that for next year.  If you’re not scoring , you’ve got nothing to lose anyway so, might as well adopt a more aggressive approach and try to shake things up a bit . I , also , will Be more open to  doing some  still hunting when not seeing deer for extended lengths of time . Finally -although risky- in season scouting is an option when you’re getting skunked . There were some potential spots identified in my app that I wanted to check out , yet , I hesitated for fear of spooking deer . 

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1 hour ago, SilentStalker said:

TRUST YOUR GUT... Based upon past observations and cams, I hung a set in early October in an area I believe to be a buck cruising area between thick bedding during the rut. Not a ton of buck sign, but usually a couple active scrapes nearby. There was only one suitable tree without causing a stir in the woods with having to cut lanes, etc. etc. so I settled...  Being a longtime gun hunter and new bow hunter, I have found myself setting up out of range for bow shots (Limit I set for myself is 25-30 yards - Comfortable to 40 at the range but we all know that means nothing in the woods haha).  

As I completed my 3rd all day sit from this location during Veterans week, i was happy with the action with younger bucks visible and actively pushing does. The majority of the does were funneling up or down the ridge at 40 yards and out of range for me on the edge of the cover trying to escape the boys. After watching this unfold over a those days, I told myself many times that the stand needed to be moved in tighter. I had the tree picked out and everything, it just needed some pruning work as it is very thick. However, I stayed put for two reasons -  it's the rut, anything can happen and I didn't want to blow up the woods with a move as I had been undetected (as far as I knew) to that point. I decided it would be an off season adjustment.

Fast forward a few days - It was a crisp cool morning and the wind was right, little dusting overnight - I was able to get set up with no issues and within 15 minutes, I spot one of the target bucks on the property coming through all alone. He was sniffing, but more or less relaxed. He comes across a small swail and freshens a scrape. He's coming right at the tree I'm in, game on. I was already standing and as he gets to 30 yards, he stops behind some thick brush to decide next move. If he goes straight or left, he's in range, if he goes right, he skirts me next to the thick cover and provides no shot. I draw with no reaction from the buck, but he chooses the path to the right, like many of the deer I previously witnessed had. As he slowly moves up the ridge, I let off and hit the grunt tube as he gets to 60 yards. It stops him, but only momentarily for a quick peek. He then meanders out of sight... After the encounter, I was both ecstatic at the opportunity to see such a deer so close, but also a bit dejected because he is a buck I had two encounters with the previous season from other stand locations and this was three strikes...

Moral of the story - Had I moved the stand and all things remained the same, he's broadside at 10 yards...We've all battled the should I stay or should I move mental struggle, but trusting yourself and observed deer behavior should be high on the charts when strategizing. I am far from a lazy hunter, but I didn't adapt when i knew I needed to, even if the rut was in full swing. I was too concerned with spooking deer out of the area than knowing it was time to get aggressive. As far as i know, the buck made it through the season and I look forward to continuing the saga next year! 

 

Learned this long time ago from an old vhs video .....  Always better to pick a tree to get a deer that you may see then be in a tree to see deer you may only have a chance to get.. 

You can still find them from time to time on internet ..anything by whitetail visions will teach you more than 10 years hunting experaince will. Back when video were instructional instead of ad campaigns...

Edited by G-Man

I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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