Where are my deer? (long)
OK I know its full moon but I have been experiencing the same pattern all year long including the rut. My deer just refuse to be seen at any time from 7am to 11pm. I know they are there because I moved my trail cams around quite a bit and some had 200+ pics after only 3 days in the woods. Also I saw probably 12-15 different bucks during the rut all on the same camera which is 30 yards from my favorite stand. Also tons and tons of nice healthy shooting type does as well. Sometimes as many as 6-7 around my corn piles. But they only showed up on camera between 11pm and 6AM...latest one caught on camera ever was around 6:30 still too early to shoot.
But come daylight they are like ninjas. They just disappear. I hunted 3-4 mornings a week since the season started back on Sept 15th and not once have I seen a single deer. I am always in my stand/blind 90 mins before sunrise as well. I use that primos earth blend scent away, I dont move, and I dont make noises so I cant be spooking them else Id hear them run off blowing like they do when I do spook one (after dark when im getting out of my stand done it quite a few times this year). I know the deer are there cause of my cameras, watched them feed all night.
Also the only 2 deer I killed came from the same stand, the one near the camera with the most pics but both of them came out when it was so dark if it wasnt a 15 yard shot theres no way I could have been able to kill them cause it was so dark.
Another odd thing is I never saw a single doe during the rut. I literally hunted every single night and most mornings during during rut, unless weather was bad, but never the same stand more than twice in one week and if I hunted one stand in the morning I hunted a different one at night. I also did some mid day hunting as well but never saw anything. I saw tons of them on my cameras but not once did I see a single doe.
Also I havent even seen a deer since I shot my 8 point almost 2 months ago. They are eating the corn piles I put out and theres tracks all over my food plots but no matter how early I get in the stand or how late I sit havent seen a single deer in almost 2 months. Again trail cam full of deer but all from 11pm-6am. Where are they?
The only thing I can come up with is they are eating all night and then bedding down all day. My land is next to a river so normally about 100 acres of my land is swamp and under 2-4 feet of water. This year we havent had any rain and my swamps are bone dry. Im assuming thats where all the deer are. Only problem is its snake central back in there as the weather is still in the 60s-70s sometimes. Killed 2 massive rattle snakes just last week and that was about enough of the swamp for me since I dont have any snake boots.
Is the problem the fact that they are all staying in the swamp during shooting hours and then feeding all night? Will heavy rains next year fix that problem if my swamps actually flood like they are supposed to?
Maybe switch your hunting position and not hunt the food sources at all but quite aways from them if that is an option your able to do. Any funnel/pinch points along the river which keeps trails coming together is a good sign but that couple foot of water you mentioned may not stop the deer from walking through there.
I would remove the corn piles or move them around and make them smaller. change thimgs up a little and make them work a little finding their snacks. seems they may be conditioned and , why change if everything is always the same.
For the most part where it drops down into the swamp is too steep even for a deer. Found 2 old logging roads we used to use to harvest cypress that should be where the deer are going in and out I hope. Got cameras at both of them. If they show pics of activity I will hunt them. Just gotta figure out how to conceal myself. No where to put even my lightest stands or even a blind.
You answered your own question.
"But they only showed up on camera between 11pm and 6AM...latest one caught on camera ever was around 6:30 still too early to shoot."
Your deer have become nocturnal. Hunting themover corn probably contributed largely to that. When you place hunting pressure in a deer and add activity such as baiting and checking cameras, the become nocturnal quickly-even the does.
I believe you will have better luck next year if you hunt where you think the deer are traveling and stay out of the woods for any other reason.
BTW- If you have any of those old cypress stumps and knees still in the swamp, they are worthbig money right now.
Also didnt help the fact that this year the farmer chose cotten and my dad replanted his pines so we lost some acreage. Nxst year I think its either corn or soybeans, so that combined with clover should be more than enough to get the deer where I want them without needing to bait. Also hopefully again the swamp will be flooded so the deer cant bed down there. Unless deer will still bed down in 4 feet of water.
Just want to add could the fact that my state allows dog running be a reason my deer are nocturnal? Up until around the 2nd week in november when its still very warm outside every saturday and sunday since season started people just turn loose a bunch of dogs and let them run all over the place. I have seen them on my land many times and even had 2 lay down under my stand. If my hunts are being ruined because of a bunch of redneck dog hunters Im fixing to start reducing the population of deer dogs if they continue to come on my property. Im not going to let someone else trespass and ruin my hunting.
Anything that puts pressure on them will tend to make them nocturnal. I truly believe you will be better off if you take the cameras out and just hunt.
Thinking about not hunting at all for the next 2 weeks then hitting them hard that last week of the season. Will 2 weeks bring them back out? Only problem is wont be able to put out any bait.
I dont think the cameras hurt at all. In fact I go check my cameras on the 4 wheeler and as long as I just putt along and dont stop if I see deer they will just stand there and watch me drive by. I leave the wheeler running jump off change the card and carry on no harm no foul. you start spooking them and yea they will change there habits in a hurry.
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