hunting around harvested ricefields
Hello all!! Let me first start by saying thank you.
I've been hunting whitetail deer in Arkansas for about 15yrs now, and I've been a frequent guest to this site looking for tips and suggestions for harvesting monster buck . I've got to say that each time I jump on my stand after reading these thread's, I'm a better deer hunter - SO...Thanks for the help.
Let me also say that during the times when I haven't found the topic I'm looking for (which are few and far between), I've yet to ask for help. Instead, I will pack a lunch and head back to the woods, so I can learn by watching, listening, and yes sometimes learning from my mistakes. As a result, I'm sure that I've missed out on the big one. However, I tend to learn more this way. I should also add that due to my work schedule I only have time to really hunt dearing gun season when the deer are in rut. Anyway....
NOW THAT I'M DESPERATE FOR SOME HELP...HERE'S MY QUESTION(S).
I work on a family farm where we primarily grow rice, soybeans, and wheat. On one of our farms, we have several hundred acres of hardwoods that are surrounded by these crops year round, and this is where I hunt. There is also a large bayou that runs through the middle of the woods, so the deer are well fed and have plenty of water. I've got to say that the deer hunting has always been very good here. I've killed several young deer with nice racks, but have yet to harvest the dominant buck. Rifle season starts this weekend, and I have a very active scrape line and rub line around my stand. For whatever it's worth, several of these rubs are on saplings that are anywhere from 3" to 6" in diameter. One of the rubs is on a young sapling that makes a fork starting at the bottom, and the 2 branches of the fork are about 12" wide as it gets close to the top. There is buck rub on each side of the fork that are identical in their pattern. Which looks like the deer wrapped his antlers around the entire sapling when rubbing. This sappling is also knocked over and their is a scrape next to it. I don't know if any of that means anything, but it looked nice to me.
The problem is that I've been seeing the sign of a nice buck in the same area for the last 3 yrs and each yr the deer sign reflect an even bigger buck and show to be even more active, but I have only seen small bucks (some are decent, but none have been the dominant buck) and I also see a lot of doe. a couple of yrs ago, I saw what I think is this dominant buck, but couldn't get him out of the thicket. He was moving very early in the afternoon and it was during the peak rut . Some of our farm hands have also seen this buck in the area and it's always early in the season and the buck is always on the edge of the field walking in and out of the woods when traveling.
I have 3 different stands in the area, so I try to always hunt where I can keep my scent downwind and try not to overhunt one stand. I'm finding myself very desperate now. Other than 1 sighting a couple of years ago, I haven't seen him walking to or from the bedding area or feeding area...even when I hunt from sunup to sundown.
Now for question 1) is there anyone who can give me some tips on finding the big buck that is working this area????? question 2) The last 2 yrs we have planted mostly rice around this area, and I'm wondering if the "big buck" is moving at night and bedding up in the harvested ricefield before sunup. It's been my experience that during the peak rut, the buck are very active and I'm not sure when, or if at all, they are bedding during this time. I realize there are several hundred acres of woods and this big deer could be roaming all over the place looking for some action. However, there's a big buck actively working this area, and I'm not seeing him. Also, this area I'm hunting is about 50 acres and I'm hunting near a natural funnel coming from the bayou with a bedding and feeding area about.
Sorry for writing such a long book, but I hope there is someone who can help!!!
GREAT SITE - KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK YOU DO AND I WISH YOU ALL LUCK THIS YEAR!!!
Glad to have you with us a little more personally than just a reader of the forums. I hope you enjoy.
Big bucks are tough!!! I could repeat that 100 times. Even with the best advice you may never see this big dude again. And one more note my thoughts and or advice is by no means professional. you said you have already done some all dayers. Thats great. More time in the stand gives that buck more time to make a mistake. You hunt the wind. Also great. You seem to be also hunting their main funnel/travel area correct? Also great. But i wonder if their is some thick areas running alongside this funnel that maybe the big one is using. This way he is staying out of site and just checking for hot does with his nose. If there is any one thicket that you think he uses see how close you get to it and maybe try that. Also those farm hands might be able to help you out. What time they see him and how long ago it was. If it not the rut yet and lets just say they seen him yesterday at 2 pm I would try to hunt that spot the next day or 2. Maybe that field is part of his pattern route. If you notice a thicket he may be traveling through around your scrapes you found you may notice a light used trail in it. I think most bucks will check their scrapes somewhere downwind of it in the day time.
All your hunting spots sound good. You sound like you hunt smart. Im just trying to throw out some more ideas. You never know the bucks testosterone might get the best of him this year during the rut and he decide to travel right down that main funnel. Big bucks are tough but they still sometimes get a little careless during the mating season.
Last year I seen a big old buck during muzzleloader. around nov 5. i hunted this buck the rest of the year and never seen him again.
Time in the stand, cover your scent, hunt with the wind in your favor, and your in an area that a big buck roams. You got a good a shot at getting him as anybody. good luck and hang in there. youll get him.
thickets and funnels
thanks for the advice buckfever! I will look for the hot thicket, but with there being several, I'm not confident that I know what to look for. There are a couple of nice thickets and each are in the center of a finger of woods that run the edge of the farm land. There are actually 2 fingers and each are about 50 to 100 yards wide and run along opposite sides of a field. they run parellel from each other and make a "u" shape as they meet up as part of the "big woods". I hope that made since.
At any rate, each finger is very thick in the center and one has a creek bed running through. This is the area I hunt, but a little further in the woods so I'm not on top of them. There are also some "cutovers" that are close by, and the bayou area is very thick as well. As you might guess, this place is a hot spot, but I've had trouble locating the prime area with so many bedding area's and feeding areas. With the scrapes close to my stand and with the wind right, I should be in a good area. I'll just be patient.
2 more quick questions please:
1) can you shed a little light on the best way to hunt near scrapes?
2) can you school me a little more on funnels; the different types, what to look for, etc...the one I hunt is very easy to determine. It's were the bayou gets very narrow before widening out again. It makes a nice place for deer to cross to.
Thanks again for the help! Growing up, my dad didn't spend too much time hunting because the farm work required so much work. My grandfather taught me a little when I was a young buck, but soon got ill and wasn't able to hunt when I was mature enough to understand. I'm now in my 30's and everything I've learned has been trial and error. I can't thank you enough for schooling me and appreciate any help from other members. Take care.
I can't really add anything here because you're doing what needs to be done.
You're looking for Mr.Dominant, well you get Mr.Dominant the same way you get his Mr.Subordinate. The only Difference is the Subordinates are seen more because they are in most cases younger and learning the ropes, more apt to take risks enter open fields carelessly browse for food earlier, romp with the doe's BUT Mr.Dominant is schooled he has his position and knows whats what. so he doesnt need to move as much...
a Dominant bucks only concern is to breed, one thing I can point out is, PEAK Rut he's going to be close to the Doe's (AT All TIMES), during Peak rut he's only yards away from the Does, he has to stay close because when the Doe is ready he has to be ready and available he's always in a location where he has the smell of them Does heading in his direction, that way he knows when the doe is ready...
I think that may be one big advantage for you,, Peak rut and look for the Doe's...
I'm not a pro but all them self proclaimed pro's will tell you, Patience and persistence is what makes the difference... Good Luck to ya
glad to hear you say that
I had to do it!!! I skipped out of work early after lunch and slipped in the woods for about a 15 minute walk looking for some doe sign. And boy...did I see doe sign! they are coming through the funnel that cross the bayou, the doe trail is beat to pieces with tracks that lead straight to the cutovers - where I think they are bedding. I also saw what I think is a buck trail that cross the doe trail. It was small and very hard to pick out, but had some large tracks in it. It is coming from a differnt thicket, but going to the same place the doe are. Also I found 2 new traditional scrapes surrounded by rubs on saplings that were pushed in to the ground, and it wasn't too far from the stand. It had fresh urine in it that smelled like heck. Speaking of heck...I got the heck out of there because the season opens on Saturday and I didn't want to scare them off. Anyway, I've never seen so many tracks in all my life. We have a real nice crop of whiteoaks this year that is the best we've had in a while...the weather was perfect this year.
I LOVE THIS SITE!!! CAN'T WAIT TO TELL MY FRIENDS ABOUT IT, SO MAYBE THEY CAN LEARN WHY I NEVER HUNT WITH THEM...HA HA. (THEY GET TO THE STAND AT DAYLIGHT LEAVE 30 MIN'S LATER AND DRIVE THEIR 4WHLRS THE REST OF THE DAY) I'll send an update after the weekend hunt. thanks again.:boxing:
You may be on to something with that cross cutter trail. It will be faint. That's the buck way of time saving. Instead of running each doe trying to smell if she's ready he'll just cross cut every trail to single out a receptive doe. When you do discover the smell like heck your in the right spot. The smell may be bad but in turn the outcome should be good. I'm trying to visualize this, does the funnel pull all the trails together to form one trail then crosses the bayou then you have the faint trail cross cutting. If that's the case you ought to be in a excellent spot. Not only should you see cross cutting bucks, but you may see bucks that are already with does or trying to get some crossing he bayou. Remember for how unpredictable bucks can get they still keep their wits about staying and using cover more than half the time.
Sound's like you have a nice place I wish you the best of luck. Now if you want to invite us all down we can do a deer drive and find that big buck:smile::smile::smile:
Sounds like your pretty well set up. I really like the sound of that cross cutter trail.
Ive got another question i would like to add to this discussion for the other members of the forum.
Do you think it would increase a hunters chance for sucess if he was in a similar situation as this one to set up a decoy and try to rattle or grunt the dominant buck in?
I did not want to give you this advice because i have never done it before. But in reading i have read alot of reasons why this should work. Im just curious if anyone else has had sucess doing it. If they have maybe if would be something you could attempt. The decoy would keep the focus off of you and the rattling or grunting could make the dominant buck more curious as to what other bucks are on his terrain.
I've never done it myself but I'm sure it would be effective so long as it's during the peak of the rut , any other time during the rut it might get reactions from other bucks
but during the Peak rut, the Dominant Buck has already established his turf and the other bucks are less likely to stand up to other intruders but the Dominant Buck won't hesitate on his own turf....
So yes I think it would work providing it's during the peak Rut and the decoy is a nice Racked Buck..
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