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!!!