This past weekend we returned to the southern public land site and climbed back into the stands we have setup that overlook a soybean field. This stand produced lots of deer sightings last week including a close encounter with a nice 4 X 4.
We are continuing with the strategy of only hunting evenings. This area already sees a lot of hunting pressure and we don’t want to add any more to it then we have too this early in the season. We have also not made any stand adjustments and continued to hunt the field edge.
Most of the deer movement happens about 45 minutes before dark, but our first evening sit broke that trend. It was still early in the evening and we spotted a doe walking across the far field edge. Not long after we spotted her Chance spotted movement coming down the abandoned service road towards us. It was a small buck (3x3) and it walked down the road and remarkably, bedded down only 20 yards from our stand. So needless to say we had about an hour and half of movement less hunting left that evening. One thing we noted about this buck was that he bedded down. This is important because it showed us that this buck didn’t want to be up and moving quite yet. Why would this buck get up from its bed two hours before dark to run a few hundred yards to just bed down again? The answer, he wouldn’t. This meant something got him up. Most likely it was the hunting pressure I mentioned earlier.
So while Chance kept his eye on that buck I continued to scan the field and about 30 minutes before dark spotted another doe walking towards us using that small ditch in the soybean field. At about the same time the doe reached our tree line the buck that was bedded near us got up and made his way farther west. As the last light of the day began to fade we spotted yet another doe walking that small ditch in the beans with two fawns trailing along behind her.
The next evening produced much of the same results, minus the buck sighting. Each evening seems to be a repeat of the last as the deer exit the timber from our south and walk the small ditch north toward our stands before turning and heading westward to an unknown food source. We saw two does do that same thing on this day and also saw the same doe from the night before that had the two fawns with her.
It is still early in the season and the soybean field we are overlooking is still being heavily used by deer, but one issue we are beginning to have is hunting pressure. We have seen at least four other hunters surrounding this same soybean field and sooner or later this is going to start disrupting deer movement across this field if it hasn’t already. With the bucks already shedding their velvet, home ranges changing, and the added hunting pressure the bucks in this area are bound to change their movement patterns. The answer to that problem, move with them. This is exactly what we plan to do. Stay on the lookout for an update in the week that explains our latest strategy to target Nebraska whitetails as both food sources and buck home ranges begin to change. We will also be hanging a couple stands at our northeastern public land site to take advantage of the changing food sources.
Things Are Beginning To Change
Everything in the whitetails world is beginning to change. Food sources are in limbo, hunting pressure is adding up, and bachelor groups are breaking up. All these things change what that buck you are after is doing. Don’t be afraid to change with him. Ask yourself what the buck you are after is doing. What’s his main focus this time of year? What food source does he prefer? Is he being pressured by other hunters? Gather the answers to these questions and put them together to formulate a plan so you don’t get left behind as the deer begin to change their routines.