Opening day of Nebraska’s archery deer season is just around the corner. Opening day is Sept. 1st, but in Nebraska you are only allowed to hang stands on August 15th or later (although most don’t abide by that rule). We were busy on the 15th, so we headed out on the 16th to hang a few stands in areas we are going to want to hunt throughout the year.
We are hanging two “permanent” sets this year and mainly using a hang and hunt style throughout the year. These permanent sets give us a great place to hunt if we need a break from the early mornings and late nights of our hang and hunt style.
Watch the video below to see us hang these stands and to learn about why we are hanging in these specific locations.
Now let’s dive into more detail on why we are hanging stands in these specific locations.
What makes the “river stand” a great spot for a permanent stand location?
The reason we decided to make this spot a permanent stand location is that it sees heavy deer traffic throughout the year. We know from hunting this spot a lot last year, that there is consistent deer movement. This is because of the location of this area on the public land.
First, it is as far away from other hunters as you can get on this property. With that being said, we had multiple hunters hunting around us in this location, but it was only in the first part of November when out of state hunter numbers were high. We saw a significant drop in deer sightings during that time, but during other times of the year, deer movement was high.
Second, because of the terrain and habitat features of this location. It is located at the bend of the river. This creates bedding on the south side of the river and bedding on the north. Our stand is located between the two. Does are typically bedding on the north side of the river closer to the food source and bucks are bedding on the south side of the river. Our stand is located near the river where a small ravine flattens out and meets the river. The small dip or ravine runs straight towards an ag field 300 or so yards away. Bucks will almost always use these small dips to travel. It gives them a slight advantage. We saw last year that bucks and does were both using this dip as a travel route to go from bedding to food.
Last year we hung an observation stand 100 yards from this spot. This allowed us to see how deer were using the property. From that stand we could also see many hundreds of yards down the river to see where the deer were crossing the river. That shows the value of an observation stand. Observe what the deer are doing, and then move in to a more precise location.
What makes the “high wall” stand a great spot for a permanent location?
Again, it goes back to observations during the previous year. It took us a while to find this spot and realize how good it could be. This was because we had a trail camera in this location during the early season (September) and it got only a few pictures of does. So we quickly wrote this location off and didn’t hunt it. That was both a mistake and a great idea.
The camera was right, no bucks were using the area during the early season. We thought since there were no bucks on camera during the early season there would be no bucks the rest of the year. We were wrong. You can trust trail cameras, but only so much.
We were hunting an observation stand somewhat near that area during November, but never went back to the “high wall”. That was the best thing we ever did. With all the hunting pressure in the area, the bucks flooded in that area and used it as a bedding are throughout November and December. It was by pure luck that we happened to go back near this area and find that all the bucks were now using this area. Watch below!
Watch below to see all the mature bucks that were using this area as a bedding area.
You can’t always trust your trail cameras. An area that has no bucks during one time of year, may have a lot just a month later. Don’t write off areas completely until you have hunted that location and know for sure no bucks are in the area. We almost made that mistake last year as you saw. Also, find those areas where other hunters are not going. This spot is a great example of that.
Because of all the buck activity we saw during the late season in this area we chose to hang a “permanent” stand in this location. This doesn’t mean we are going to hunt this spot all the time. In fact we are going to hunt it on very specific location. Once again we put a trial camera in this location, with no luck. Which is fine, it just confirms what we already know. We have to wait to hunt this spot.
Our conditions for hunting this spot are that we are going to wait until late October (start of the pre-rut) to hunt this area. This creates an unhunted place for the bucks to go. We are only hunting on west or north winds. This close to buck bedding areas we need a perfect wind and we will only hunt it on that specific wind, no exceptions. We need the bucks to feel no human intrusion for this spot to be successful. We will probably hunt this spot no more than 8 times this year. But, every time we hunt it, the probability of seeing and shooting a buck is very high.
We also chose to use a “permanent” set because it is quieter and easier than doing a hang and hunt in that area and risking spooking deer by hanging a tree stand in the dark.
The big picture on why we are putting “permanent” sets in these spots is because we are using what we learned from last years observations of consistent deer movement and consistent buck activity. We are always learning from every hunt to fine tune our stand locations and tactics.
We are back on our southern public land unit doing a little velvet scouting. This particular piece of public land is where we are planning on spending the majority of our time this fall. With opening day only 3 weeks away it was time to find and hopefully pattern some bucks we could go after on opening day.
We had sat over a large soybean field on the north side of the property 2 previous times with no luck. One evening we saw at least 20 does and fawns, and the next evening we saw only 4 does, each with a fawn or two tagging along. We were hoping this evening would be different. We had our friend Drew with us and we were planning on splitting up to cover more ground.
Brody was going to walk way to the back corner of the large soybean field we had sat over on our previous attempts and Drew and I were going to sit over a spot Drew had seen a few bucks using in the previous year.
Watch the video below to see how the evening went!!!
Now that you have watched the video, we are going to go more in depth to give you a better idea of why we sat at the spots we did, our history of hunting this area, and what we now plan to do after seeing multiple shooter bucks.
First, why did Brody sit over the large soybean field on the north side of the property?
This soybean field is an area we have hunted over and have seen plenty of shooter bucks in over the last 3 years. We have even seen Limpy, one of the largest bucks in the area, using this field in years past. Because of all the history of nice bucks and does (sometimes up to 30-40 at a time) we knew we would have a good shot at seeing some deer.
It is also one of the only open areas on the property. This is a river bottom piece of public land that has lots of timber. This open ag field allows us a large field of view, so it only makes sense to sit there.
Have we hunted over this field before?
Our very first year we hunted over this field, we actually almost shot a velvet buck the second evening we hunted. That first year we got some good bucks on trail camera, however, it was always in the middle of the night. That told us that the bucks were actually bedding far away from our trail camera location.
We would consistently see 15 plus does an evening and several small bucks using the field. However, while doing some early season scouting we counted at least 8 tree stands on the field edge.
We hunted that area way too much that first year. The bucks on trail camera in the middle of the night and the heavy hunting pressure on the field edge we clear signs that big bucks would not be in that area. In hindsight we should have moved locations after a week or two of hunting that area.
Big bucks will not take that much hunting pressure and they definitely will not be using that field in daylight. Last year, which was our second year hunting this property, we hunted one time over this field. On opening day there were 3 people hunting the field, 2 of which were later arriving. All of them were hunting their stands for the wrong wind and smoking cigarettes before they got to their truck. Needless to say… we pulled stands the next day. Too much hunting pressure and human scent for big bucks.
The lesson we learned was we needed to find areas where other hunters were not going. We were successful in doing that and our buck sightings went up.
What is the plan for opening day after seeing those 3 shooter bucks?
We were not planning on hunting over this soybean field because of all the hunting pressure mentioned earlier. Our focus is now on hunting the bedding areas the bucks are coming from which are hundreds of yards from the field edge.
However, after seeing that group of shooter bucks we have decided it is worth it to go after them. The plan is to go after them just a few times, 3 at the most. We are going to target them as soon as the season opens. Hunting pressure is going to increase on that field and force these bucks to not use the field during daylight, that is why we have to target them as soon as possible. After the hunting pressure increases going after those bucks in that particular area would be almost useless.
One of the most important things that Brody did that evening on the way out in the dark, while the bucks were feeding in the field farther away, was sneak over to where the bucks entered the field. Once there he saw the bucks were using a small low point to enter the field. He followed that low point back into the timber where he saw the bucks come from. He followed it into the timer and could tell that deer were using this trail on a regular basis. He also found a prefect tree for us to hang our stands in.
The plan is to go right to this tree opening evening (if the wind is right) and do a hang and hunt. Know exactly what tree we are going to is important because we are hunting in the timber away from the field edge and a lot closer to where those bucks and other does are bedded. We need to know exactly where to go and make minimal noise doing it. Brody’s scouting that night allowed us to do just that.
We are going to get there super early to beat other hunters who will likely be sitting on the field edge and to beat any early deer movement. That way we are set up and ready when the deer starting moving and other hunters show up.
In short, we are moving closer to the bedding area the bucks are using, on the trail they are using. We are not setting up on the field edge with the other hunters. We are going to cut the bucks off before they get to the field edge and the other hunters. We only have a few shots at these bucks in this area because of all the hunting pressure they will see on that field after a few days of the season being open.