At the beginning of June we put out three trail cameras on the piece of public land that we scouted this February and hunted last fall. We identified three areas where we thought that bucks would be bedded nearby. These locations were all places that we had stand locations picked out for and areas we were planning on hunting this fall. Check out our past Updates From The Field for more information on this piece of public land and our history on this property.
After a month it was time to check those cameras and we were excited to see what had passed by, especially because we were targeting two specific bucks we knew made it through last fall. We beat the heat and made an early morning trip to pull memory cards. After making the trip back home it was time to put the cards in the computer to see what we had.
We had really high hope for these camera locations and thought we had done a good job of scouting to find these locations. After viewing the cards it was apparent that our high hopes were in fact high hopes. We had plenty of pictures, but they were all does. We only had 2 pictures of bucks… extremely disappointing. Especially because we know there is a high deer density in the area and a lot of bucks in the area, so only having two small bucks show up meant that our minds were once again tasked with the question of what to do next. We liked these trail camera/stand locations at first, but the more we thought about them the more we thought we might have made a mistake. The area where two of the cameras were placed was close to a lot of other hunters tree stands and even though it is a swampy area, it is just to close to people to bucks to feel comfortable. Our other camera location is in an area that is between bedding areas and we are still unsure of what to do with that camera.
After pondering what to do for a few days we decided on our next plan of action. Our way of thinking was, “When in doubt, scout.” So, we looked over the topo and aerial maps once again and thought back to last season to gather as much information as we could. After doing this we decided we are going to move a few cameras, scout a few new locations, and find a few new stand locations. We are scrapping two of our planned stand locations at this point, maybe all three. First, we are going to move a camera to the exact location that we had it last year near the large ag field. This year it is planted in corn and while walking in to check cameras we bumped 5 deer in or going to this field. We feel the deer are bedded in this field and will exit in the evenings to feed in the smaller alfalfa fields to the north. The tree stand set up we had last year should work perfectly. We will hang the camera and see what comes by.
Second, we are going to pull a camera and move it nearly a mile, across the river to the southern portion on the property. After looking at aerial maps we located an area that we believe will funnel deer. It is set up near an ag field, doe bedding, and is one of the only places on this table top flat river bottom that actually has some terrain features the help to create predictable deer movement. It also allows for easy access. It is an area that we have never been to on this property, so who knows what bucks are in the area. This may be our new favorite spot, but only time will tell.
Third, we are going to scout and move a trail camera down along the river, past where our rut stand was last year, and across the river. We have always thought that our target bucks were bedding in the bed of the river. It is the hardest to access and the farthest away from people. Last year while sitting across the river we saw intense rut action and one of our target bucks enter this area. We know there is good rut action here and a target buck that beds in the area, so why not hunt where we know the deer were last year and not try to out think ourselves like I think we have in the past.
Finally, we are going to move even farther down the river, to the back side of the property. This is a hard area of the property to reach and is only accessible from the river without spooking deer. While shed hunting this spring we picked up several good sheds in the ag field adjacent to this area, so we know bucks are in the area. We also have a hunch that at least one of our target bucks is passing though on a regular basis on frequent nightly trips in late October and November. The trees and river make a slight pinch point and we will put a stand close to the river to be able to watch for crossing deer and to look into the timber for bucks searching for does while running between bedding areas.
We are going to scout all or most of these areas in the next two weeks, as well as check trail cameras and move them to their new locations. It is an exciting, but nerve wracking time as the season is only a month and a half away and the decisions we make know will shape our fall.