Help with eastern whitetails

Graves14

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Jul 31, 2014
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74
Hey all,

I've been deer hunting two years now and have managed to put a deer down both years but I really attribute both to luck lol. This year I've put in some serious scouting trying to lock down some premium spots for this season. It seems that more than anything I'm finding bedding areas. Some well traveled game trails but for whatever reason I keep finding heavily used bedding areas.

My question is this, how should I hunt these? What time of day are the deer normally bedded so I can avoid bumping them but get in there before they do?

I'm in south central CT so big ag field food sources are non existent and I'm mostly hunting dense mountain laurel and old mixed hard and softwood.

How would you all go about hunting these areas?
 

Revharvey9576

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Aug 7, 2011
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Personally I like to hunt the trails connecting the bedding areas to the food sources...staying fairly close to the bedding area (of course with the wind in my favor.)

Otherwise you are stuck with slipping in many hours before daylight into their bedroom and hoping not to spook them. However this will only last a few times before your spot becomes just a spot...no more bedding area
 

skimerhorn

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Oct 9, 2012
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Ashland Va
Yea Def stay out if bedding area. Just look for a well used trail or rub line and set out a camera. This will help you determine if it's well used at night or daytime. And try to get between them and a food source, unless you have a good acorn crop like we did last year and they don't need to come to the fields as much.
 

1_pointer

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Indiana
Also look for edges. Yes, a woods has edges inside them. Deer seem to like to move along the edges.

Bottlenecks are also good spots. If you are hunting 'big' woods this will be mostly determined by topography. Saddles and benches have worked for me in concentrating movement.
 

VAspeedgoat

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Timberville, VA
Also look for edges. Yes, a woods has edges inside them. Deer seem to like to move along the edges.

Bottlenecks are also good spots. If you are hunting 'big' woods this will be mostly determined by topography. Saddles and benches have worked for me in concentrating movement.

This, plus look for likely escape routes based on hunting pressure. In the east you are strategizing against other hunters as much or more than the deer.
 

WestT

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Jul 22, 2014
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Nothing wrong with being lucky! I hunted for many years before I got "lucky". Just stick with it, experience is something gained through trial and error. You'll find as years go on you magically seem to get more and more "lucky"!!
 

Gut Shot

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Banks of the Big Muddy
How do you like to hunt, still hunting, stand hunting, tracking, spot and stalk? Are you gun hunting or bow hunting? What time of year are you hunting? Public land or private?

Conventional wisdom says to stay out of bedding areas but I've killed deer in their beds before. In fact sneaking up on bedding areas is one of my favorite tactics if all conditions are right.
 

SFC B

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Mar 2, 2013
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Colorado Springs
I would also add trails to water sources as well as food sources. Look for junctions of several trails as well.
 

duckhunt

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Newhartford Iowa
Stay clear of the bedding areas. I would hunt the trails. The deer are using them for a reason. Be patient and you will have some action. Remember to play the wind.
 

skimerhorn

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Ashland Va
Patience is key! If your hunting during the rut don't shoot the first deer you see unless you just want meat and don't care if it's a buck or doe.
 

Outdoor Junkie

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Jun 24, 2012
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Forest Lake, MN
I've been hunting whitetail a for 25 years in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sometimes in big woods and sometimes in areas mixed with fields. If this is public land, then I would focus on funnel points to what would be " safe areas" or funnel points away where the deer will pass through when pressured. I get into my stand extremely early ( typically set up 1.5-2 hours before season and sit as long as it takes. Look for natural barriers on Google earth like rivers, swamps, clear cuts, significant elevation changes, etc. that are back in at least a mile off the road and preferably a mile off the road or more. I swear half of the hunters around here walk in within 30 minutes of first light. If you are set up right, you can benefit
From these other hunters who are not willing to go in as early, walk in as far or sit as long. Also as I mentioned, scout via Google earth first. You can learn more in 30 minutes of Google earth scouting than you can of hours of wandering. Once you've set some targets on Google earth, then put boots on the ground to check out these specific locations. Also, A lot of state departments of wildlife will have kmz. Files for public land. If CT has this, it's really easy to know exactly where the public boundaries are.
 

Canoe Country

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Jul 22, 2012
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Appleton, Wisconsin
In am outdoor junkie's brother. I concur. Finding common corridors is good for bow hunting but for gun hunting when there are a lot of other hunters look for good funnel points between the natural barriers, set up early, and be prepped to sit all day. Two of my biggest bucks were taken within 15 minutes of moon, none of them were taken within an hour of season open or close. By 9-10 am most hunters are moving and come back out to sit between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. Some wander around between this time, some go back to their vehicle for lunch. This movement by others has produced a lot of deer and some of the biggest bucks. we bring our pack with many layers of clothes with is out to our stand and get dressed at the base of our tree, climb up and be prepped to sit all day. this will work any where you can find natural funnels, you can get a mile back in, and there is a lot of hunting pressure.
 

dihardhunter

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Aug 12, 2013
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Columbus, OH
I'd echo a lot of what 'Outdoor Junkie' said, but I'll sum it up in one concise statement - "follow the chainsaw". Deer WILL "follow" logging activity in those habitats - guaranteed. Guessing at CT forest productivity, I'd say 3-5 year lag behind would be optimal.
 

BR-549

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Jun 29, 2015
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Ohio
Stay Clear

A lot of good advice.
We stay clear of bedding areas until late season and then are very careful about hunting them. We call ours "The Sanctuary". We want deer to feel comfortable using it.
I agree with others as far as it is good to find connecting fence rows or creeks and ridges that they travel from bedding to feeding areas. We started this practice back in the mid 90's and it has proven to be worthwhile.
Here is but one example of a late season buck my friend took in the Sanctuary.
 

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