So with the Nebraska archery season finally underway we wanted to update you on the plans we have for the northeastern public land site and give you an update on our first weekend of hunting!!!!
Northeastern Public Land Site
This is a public land site that we scouted early this spring and really liked. It had lots of trails running through it and an absurd amount of rubs. The terrain features of this location really lend itself to some great rut hunting.
Our plans for this spot is to wait until the first of October to hunt it. The habitat kind of forced our hand in that decision. The location we want to hunt is just too thick to hunt until the leaves fall off the trees and we know from the scouting in the spring that once the leaves fall off, this area has better visibility. We also have a food source that is more appropriate for early October hunting. The stand location is situated within some oak trees and as we get closer to October this food source will become a better attractant. Another reason we are waiting for October is because we don’t want to over hunt this area. Like I said earlier this location lends itself to being a great rut location.
Why is it such a good rut location?
One reason we think this is because of the amount of rubs we saw this spring. Now you can only read so far into sign like this, but it is definitely a good sign. We also have a combination of habitat features that make it a good spot. One is the steepness of the terrain. Our stand location is right off a small creek that, everywhere else, has very steep sides except right in front of our stand where three ridges meet and create an area where the deer can cross. So any buck trying to cross to either side of these three ridges will have to walk to this point to cross. That creek will also provide us with an entry and exit route that allows us to get deeper into the property without spooking deer. This area also consists of two bedding areas. One that is behind us on the ridge we are on and the other one is across the creek and on the ridge that faces us. Combine that with the fact that the only way to cross the creek from one bedding area to the other is to walk through the low spot in the creek in front of us, makes this spot even better. Bucks scent checking these bedding areas will either run the side of ridge behind us if there is a west wind or the run the opposite ridge in front of us with an east wind. Also the travel route through the creek will bring the bucks past our stand if they are running between the two bedding areas.
So as October nears we will hang a couple stands in this location and we will keep you updated on our progress. (watch the end of the last Update From The Field video for more info on this public land site)
Southern Public Land Unit
In the last update we told you about our new plan to hunt the edge of the soybean field to go after a nice 4 by 4. Our plan consisted of only evening hunts so that we could catch deer feeding in the soybean field. Our hunting plans for opening weekend consisted of three evening sits. We saw only one doe walk across the beans and one doe using the abandoned service road, but both sightings reassured our thinking on the movement patterns of the deer using the bean field. The doe using the bean field cut clear across the bean field from the southern side to our side using a shallow ditch within the field. Her destination was our side of the field. That was a good sign. Also the doe using the abandoned service road reassured us that deer were comfortable using that road to travel to food sources to the west of us.
The second evening sit produced what we had been waiting for ever since we saw those two bucks feeding in the beans three weeks earlier. With about 30 minutes of light left, we glanced across the field and spotted those two bucks working their way across the beans right towards us. They were using that same low spot in the field to cut across the field. The only problem, they were going to jump the fence onto the public land property to far out of range. All the anticipation that was growing as they got closer and closer quickly faded as they jumped the fence and walked further out of range. Although they lived to see another day, we learned several important things. One was that our assumptions about their movement patterns through the field and away from the hunting pressure was correct. The scouting and critical thinking that went into finding this spot payed off in the reward of knowing that our stand location had given us the opportunity to tag that buck. The second thing that both of these bucks and the doe from the night before showed us was the willingness of the deer to use that small ditch within the soybean field to avoid the hunting pressure on the edges of the field. This ditch only drops down about a foot, but it gives the deer just enough security to feel comfortable enough to cross the field in daylight hours. That small ditch in the field was not a terrain feature that I had ever considered looking for, but after this hunt I will definitely use this terrain feature when I am hunting field edges.
The third evening was just as eventful as the first two. We had a spike buck walk across the beans, once again using that low spot in the field to cut across to our side. We also saw four does feeding across the field.
So with three days of hunting behind us, we feel very good about this spot. We have located how the deer are entering the field and how they are working their way across the field. We also had a close encounter with the buck we are after. We learned that this stand site is in the perfect spot. We can see the entire bean field and see any deer using it and we are also located in the exact spot where that low spot in the field connects to the tree line we are in.
We saw the buck we were after and came within 20 yards of tagging him. You can bet we will be back in that stand this weekend to see if this time we can’t make it happen!!!
Low Spots In Fields
This is a new terrain feature for me, but one I want to stress. Before this last week’s hunt I would not have batted an eye at that low spot in the soybean field, but after seeing every deer that walked across the beans use it to cross over to our side, it will definitely be something I look for. It only makes sense that the deer are using it. It allows them to avoid the hunting pressure on the edge of the field and the slight drop in height allows them enough security to feel comfortable walking across the open field. If you are hunting crop fields look for were these ditches connect to timbered areas and set a stand near it, any deer walking across the field is likely to use that low spot.
Think Out Of The Box
This spot seemed a little out there when we were hanging the stands, but we relied on the observations we had made, we listened to what the deer were telling us, and we trusted our “whitetail instinct”. Sometimes all you have to go off of is a gut feeling. Trust it, it might be what makes the difference.