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Draws, Saddles and Benches


nybuckboy
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I also think it depends where those features lead to or from. They have to have a reason to travel them. I scouted a saddle last year that had the best sign I have ever seen,scrapes and rubs galore. That was a good acorn year,I checked it this year and there is one scrape and one rub. 

That same piece of public has a rubline following a bench that is far from a straight line but it seems bucks travel it,it stays at about 1700 feet with the tops of the hills being about 2000'. It took me a few years to piece that one together. I have not scored on either feature but also have not hunted them hard,hardly at all actually.

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One of our most consistent spots is a bench on an oak ridge, on a south facing slope. Thick bedding below. A bunch of bucks has been killed there over many years.

IMG_13161.thumb.jpg.393cb6122af51a3fdce8538d01f9f2c8.jpgIMG_13171.thumb.jpg.978a789fccb19983ebe92b0b76f998cf.jpgIMG_13181.thumb.jpg.defabc73dd8a9e944b21c82eb452e253.jpgIMG_13191.thumb.jpg.829eba190f7dd13fd47bdc4deeb8e816.jpg

Trail cam pics of a kill on that ridge.

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Can some one point me to a link in how to identify a bench, saddle or draw via a topo map..
If you Google "terrain features draw" you will find a description and contour map. Ditto saddle. A bench is a relatively flat spot on a hillside. This is denoted by wider contour intervals between sets of relatively closer contour lines.

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In general, terrain features such as draws, saddles and benches serve as travel corridors. If I were scouting via topo maps, these features would definitely be on my places to check out. That's what I did for my CO DIY public land trip 2 years ago for mulies. It did not pan out for me though. Instead the locals advised to hunt the small rough parcels next to ag and voila, that's where we found them. Deer had food and cover and little need to travel.

So to the OP, I generally agree that terrain features are important and can increase odds of success, but putting yourself between food and bedding and local knowledge of what deer are doing at that time are more important.

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23 minutes ago, cdbing said:

If you Google "terrain features draw" you will find a description and contour map. Ditto saddle. A bench is a relatively flat spot on a hillside. This is denoted by wider contour intervals between sets of relatively closer contour lines.

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Thanks, found this 

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Learn bedding first.

Terrain use is dictated by how where and why they bed.

That said most hunters underestimate terrain impact. Even flat land - people in this thread have discounted it. Elevation changes of a foot in flat land actually matter and can lead to how deer use or bed in a location.

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I bowhunt a lot on benches and saddles. My two favorites both have bedding in sight, and food readily available without exposing themselves to an open field. Both of these features are great to hunt and I see plenty of deer. The hardest part is getting into these areas and not letting the deer pattern me. 

If I come out of my stand in either area, I am out for the day because I just can't get back in them without spooking deer. If hunted carefully with the wind and leaving scent, you can still see bucks even late in the season because of the bedding and close food. Neither of these spots are close to the road, and both are uphill going in.

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Those features, (draws saddles and benches) help and should not be overlooked. Also and I think more importantly, older bucks like to travel in or close to security cover, and any dip in the terrain will keep them out of view even more. I like areas with a mixture of brush for security cover above all. 

I have a stand on a bench that's been pretty good. It is at the base of a deep ravine so it tends to funnel deer to this spot. The uphill side is red oak, the downhill side drops off to a thick bottom.

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Learn bedding first.
Terrain use is dictated by how where and why they bed.
That said most hunters underestimate terrain impact. Even flat land - people in this thread have discounted it. Elevation changes of a foot in flat land actually matter and can lead to how deer use or bed in a location.

I can attest to this. I hunt a completely flat swamp that is bordered by oak flats and a creek on either side.The deer 100% bed on the creek bank on the oak flat side of the swamp..

After even more careful attention I began to realize they keep the creek to their backs. Most would say they should be facing into the wind but I think these deer know with the creek to their back nothing can come from that way.

When dry the deer travel the low spots when wet they travel the high


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