Archive for the ‘deer hunting’ Category

Here in N.E. Ohio,the whitetail rut usually peaks right around November 15th.

There’s probably more deer killed on November 15th than any other day of the deer hunting season.

But that’s quantity,that’s not what you want-you want quality-as in the biggest,baddest buck in the area you hunt-you want the dominant buck.

There will be a few challengers around the dominant buck the last two weeks of Oct.

Now is the time to find those few biggest,baddest bucks in the area,as they’ll be fighting and settling which of the big boys is going to be the dominant buck during this year’s rut.

You should know what the food source is in your area,corn and soybeans are being harvested,so try not to focus too much on ag fields-unless they’ve been harvested recently.

Modern farming equipment leaves quite a bit of food for the critters in the fields. Deer will feed in a recently harvested field for at least a week-there’s always some stray ears of corn or some soybeans laying in the fields. There’s enough to keep them coming to the field every evening for at least a few days-usually a week to ten days.

Around here,once acorns start to drop-deer will eat acorns above all other food sources,as they are high in proteins and fats,and winter is fast approaching.

There’s one problem with that in a lot of N.E. Ohio-the cicadas caused a lot of the ends of oak branches to fall off the trees,as the female lays her eggs under the bark,the larvae feed on the wood,then the branch ends turn brown and drop to the ground.The ends of oak branches are where the acorns come from,so…there’s not going to be many acorns in a large part of N.E. Ohio.Yeah,it only affects those of us who live here-but pretty much all of the eastern U.S. gets the cicadas every 7 or 17 years-or both.

Something to think about in the future for those of you who don’t live in N.E. Ohio.

So,if there’s not many acorns-what are the deer going to eat? They’ll hit ag fields hard,then they’ll go for crabapples,apples,any decent greenery that’s not all fiber and no proteins or fats. Deer naturally eat some grasses,weeds,small trees,evergreen trees,and fruits,like apples,pears,blackberries,and grapes-deer love grapes,anyone who’s from or been to N.E. Ohio knows there’s tons of grapevines in our woods.

I’ve already seen plenty of signs of the deer hitting grapevines hard,not 100% sure,but I think they pull on the vines to try and shake some grapes loose. Deer also eat greenbriar,and young maple,dogwood,and sassafrass trees,they’ll eat chestnuts over acorns when both are available-but there’s not many chestnut trees around here. We do have buckeye trees,and I’ve seen deer eat the buckeyes. I don’t know if they wait until the very sharp,prickly outer husk falls off the buckeyes,or if they step on them to get the buckeyes out.

If you aren’t sure what the main food sources are in the area you hunt-contact a wildlife biologist from your state fish and game agency-O.D.N.R. in Ohio-and they’ll be happy to help you out.

Once you have the current food sources located-something you should already know-figure out the nearest bedding areas,and the nearest water sources-something else you should already kow.

Pick several stand locations,so you’ll be able to hunt no matter which way the wind is blowing.

Remember,this time of year,deer are starting to become mostly nocturnal,so you need to hunt mostly at dawn and dusk-except when the rut kicks off-deer are somewhat unpredictable during the rut,but still move mostly at dawn and dusk.

That’s why a some of your stand/blind sites should be between a bedding area and a food or water source,that the deer will be either going to the bedding area-(morning hunts)-or coming from the bedding area-(evening hunts).

Around mid October,bucks start making scrapes. Finding the scrapes will let you find out which bucks are making them-set up a stand or blind along a field edge that has plenty of young trees along it,that’s where they’ll make scrapes,and that’s how you’ll find the big guys.

Around Oct 21st,you can increase your chances of seeing and taking a big buck by making a fake scrape line-I wrote about the techniques Here and Here and Here

It works-plus your fake scrape line will get the attention of the dominant buck,and a couple of the up and coming younger bucks that are right behind the dominant buck in the deer “pecking order”. Deer,especially bucks as the rut approaches-want to know “who” the deer is that made your fake scrape line-and they’ll be checking it out at dawn and dusk.

Starting the last week of Oct.-(for N.E. Ohio)-I start using a grunt tube and estrous bleat can. The calls work-just don’t overdo it early in the season,once November 1st rolls around-use them every 10-15 minutes. I’ll use the grunt tube,then wait 5 minutes,and use the bleat can. Then,after a half hour or so,I’ll repeat the calls.

Last week of October is also the time to rattle,rattling works best from late October,until mid November.

I stopped using real antlers,I just use either the fake antlers,or the pieces of wood that come in a bag-both sound damn near like the real thing. Rattle loudly,and really crack the antlers-or the pieces of wood together-remember,when two bucks fight-you’ve got 150-200+ pound of deer cracking antlers with another 150-200 pound plus deer-they are loud. That’s why you want to really make some noise when you rattle.

I hope this helps someone out-you can look up deer hunting under the categories to the left of the page-click on deer hunting,and there are quite a few posts I did about deer hunting. I’ve been hunting since I was about 10 years old-started out going with my dad-at 16 I was hunting by myself-I was 16 in the 70’s-I’ve got a lot of years in the woods whackin’ deer. Well over 40 years-pushing 50 years hunting deer. That’s counting from when I was 10.

Scouting the area you hunt,finding the food and water sources, knowing what the main food source is at what time of year,and picking good stand/blind locations is at least 90% of what leads to a successful deer hunting season. Sure,there’s guys and ladies who by pure luck and chance get a big buck-but for them,it’s probably the only big buck they’ll ever get. Those of us who consistently whack a deer every year get the deer every year because we put in the time and effort to have the right blind/stand in the right place,at the right time of year.

I don’t use trail cameras-they only tell you where the deer were-not where they are,or are going to be. To successfully use trail cameras-you need at least a dozen of ’em,and I ain’t spending that kind of $$$ on trail cameras-that’s a new bow,a new archery target,a couple pairs of new boots-etc,etc.

I also no longer use tree stand-deer are so used to them that they now look up as they’re walking through the woods. Deer never looked up in the 70’s and 80’s,all it took was enough missed shots,and the deer knew there were guys in the trees in the fall,so while they’re looking up in the trees-I’m behind some camo burlap sitting on a hunting stool. I’ve had does and young bucks walk by the blind and they were less than 10 yards away.

Get out in the woods-get your blinds/stands set up-get a couple spots picked out for your fake scrape lines-make the scrape lines the last week of Oct. and chances are,you’ll get that big buck long before gun season gets here and scatters the deer all over the place for half of December.

*One last tip-figure out the date the rut peaked in your area-then 28 days later the does that did not get bred come into estrous again-so there’s a second,less intense rut,but grunt tubes and bleat cans work well during the second rut.*

Read. Learn.

Train.

Do more PT !

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This is a re-post of something I wrote last year…

I wrote about this last year Here and Here and Here
*since I wrote those posts last year,I’ve seen 8-10 bucks raking antlers on branches above their scrapes-was too busy hunting to write up a new post on the subject during last year’s rut.*
I’m putting lots of hunting info up long before deer season gets underway.
It’s now September 12th-Ohio’s archery season for deer starts on September 26th-that’s two weeks away people-get out there and get set up,only a month or so away from the time to be making fake scrape lines-so read up on it…
Via Field & Stream Here
Minnesota whitetail nut Billy Jerowski is a fair-minded, modern husband—one whose manhood isn’t threatened by doing dishes or hanging laundry. But he never imagined his domestic experience would improve his deer hunting. That is until after he’d been watching numerous bucks work scrapes, when it dawned on him that the licking branch doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. “I realized that bucks love getting their antlers up into anything—a deadfall or a vine—whether it hangs vertically or horizontally,” he says. “That got me to thinking.”
The Scrape Line
Always ready to experiment, Jerowski drove to his hunting area and strung a wire tightly between two trees, like a clothesline. To this wire, he hung short lengths of rope, a green tree branch, even a section of grapevine. “I roughed up some dirt below the wire to start the scrape,” he says. “But I doubt I needed to. The bucks just hammered those overhanging ‘branches.’ When I came back to check my experiment, the little scrapes I started under each had been hit so many times they’d melded into one giant scrape.”
Jerowski feels his technique trumps the standard mock scrape for several reasons. “First, I can put it wherever I need it—no need to find the right tree, with the perfect overhanging branch,” he says. Second, hanging several different “branch” materials seems to ensure that a buck will become interested in at least one. “Bucks are curious, and once one starts getting his antlers up into one branch and pawing the ground, it isn’t long before other bucks are in on the action, and hitting all of them.”
Hang Tight
When it comes to constructing this mock scrape line, the keys are “tight and strong,” says Jerowski. Bucks can pull down a light line easily, so use strong wire, cable, or a stout rope. Stretch it tightly between two trees, and tie it securely. “To attach the hanging vines or branches, I use zip-ties and I make sure they’re cinched down tight or bucks will pull them off,” he says. “You can scrape up the ground to get bucks started, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Once they start working those hanging ‘branches,’ the scraping comes naturally. In a couple of weeks you’ll have a super scrape right where you need it to be.”

Sit Tight

Where you hang your “scrape line” should be determined by the best possible stand location. Start by picking a tree that offers a good combination of cover and shooting lanes. Then look for another similarly good stand tree nearby that will allow you to hunt a totally different wind. If you position your mock scrape line so you can shoot to it from either tree, you’ll have a buck magnet you can hunt in almost any breeze, and one that’ll stay hot right through the start of the rut.
Read.
Learn.
Train.
Do more PT !

As I said in my last deer hunting post,there is no substitute for boot leather in the field,you have to get out there and scout,you have to locate bedding areas,water sources, food sources,and deer trails.
You also have to plan ahead because ag fields get harvested,and the summer/early fall food sources change. What deer are feeding on now,and in the opening weeks of bow season will change as soon as local ag fields are harvested.
Once acorns drop-that’s the primary food source,deer will eat white oak acorns above all other foods in fall. Apples are a close second. In NE Ohio,the crabapple becomes a food source when other foods aren’t available.
When you pick your stand/blind sites,you have to consider multiple things,first are bedding areas and water sources,then food sources,then comes trails leading to and from these areas.
You have to be able to get to your stand/blind without spooking bedding deer,there are two ways of doing this,first is to get to your blind long before deer return to the bedding area-which means in the dark,at least an hour before legal shooting light.
Second is to locate your blind/stand far enough away from the bedding areas,that you don’t spook deer.
This approach is best for afternoon/evening hunts,as the idea is to catch the deer leaving their bedding areas to drink water and feed.
It’s best to pick several sites,so you can hunt no matter which way the wind is blowing.
If you are hunting on a ridgeline/rise in the land,remember that in the morning,as it warms up,air moves from low to high,it does the opposite in the evening,so pay close attention to the wind direction,if it’s parallel to the ridge/rise it’s okay to hunt,if the wind is blowing at your back-pick another place to hunt,wind in your face means the wind will carry your scent over the ridge,and it will go to the bottom behind you,and not the bottom if front of you,so you’re good to hunt that site.
Same with any other blind site-keep the wind in you’re face,so it’s carrying you’re scent away from any approaching deer.
While you are hiking through the woods now and in early Sept,take binoculars with you,and scan the tops and branches of the oak trees,find a few with more acorns than the rest,and use these trees to set up your stand/blind near.
Another great stand/blind location is what is known as edge cover- the brushy areas between woods and fields. This is where bucks make rubs year after year,look around and you should be able to spot last year’s rubs. If there’s a lot-put a stand/blind near the edge cover,preferably just inside the woods,where there are known buck trails.
Locate another stand right on the field edge,pick a spot where there’s a few small trees with branches about the height of a deer’s head,then pick a couple more so you can hunt the edge cover from either the field side or the woods side in any wind direction.
Once you’ve got your blind/stand sites picked out- take a small rake,a folding saw,and a pair of hand pruners with you into the woods. Clear any branches that you would brush against,or snag your pack,bow,or clothing on. then rake the leaves and debris from the trail. You’ll have to do it again after the leaves drop,but it’s much easier to rake the leaves away if you’ve already cleared your trails.
Do this now,or real soon,as deer notice changes in the woods.

Starting the last week of October,make a two or three fake scrape lines,pick small trees with a branch the bucks can reach that’s toward the open area/field.
Rake away all the dead grasses,leaves and debris in about a 3′ semi-circle under the trees,use a stick,or old deer antler to make marks in the dirt like a deer was scraping it’s antlers to clear debris from the scrape.
Make a line of these,4-6 to a line,and either use a scent like Active Scrape,or drink a lot of water before you head into the woods and piss in the scrapes yourself-I’ve done it for years,and it works just fine.
Starting the last week of October/first week of November,hunt the scrape lines every evening hunt.
I’ll start hanging scent wicks with doe in estrous scent near the scrape lines starting the first week of November. I do not leave them out-I use bottles with a wick that can be re-capped and reused all season,you just have to add more estrous urine every so often.
These are what I use…
Tink’s reusable scent bottles
The whitetail rut in NE Ohio hit’s the peak around the 15th of November every year,breeding starts around the first of November. This is when you want to hunt for a big buck,if that’s what you’re after.
The last week of Oct. until the last week of Nov. is the time to rattle and use a grunt tube and estrous bleat call.
Pay attention to the rut,because any does not bred in Nov. will cycle back into estrous 28 days later-in Dec. then in Jan. there’s a much smaller period of breeding.
I’ll do a post on rattling and using grunt tubes doe and fawn bleats and estrous bleats before the rut hits.
The guys who get a deer every year are the guys who get out there and scout,get their hunting spots picked out/set up long before the rut hits,and stay in their blind/stand once they get to it.
So get out there,find your stand/blind sites,get your shooting lanes cut now,clear your trails to and from your blinds now and you’ll be way ahead of most deer hunters.

First-
Now’s the time to step up your target practice.
I go from my 18-36 arrows a day all summer,to shooting 36 arrows twice a day,morning and close to last  legal shooting light,which is one half hour after sunset here in Ohio.
You have to go by the ODNR’s sunrise-sunset tables-not other sources,their tables are the legal hunting times,if you use the times in the newspaper,or online sources,then you may be off by several minutes.
That could lead to large fines and/or suspension of hunting license/right to hunt.
Plus,if your hunting privileges are suspended in Ohio-they are also suspended in the rest of the U.S. except for two states-New Jersey and Nebrasaka- due to the Interstate Wildlife Violater Compact
Your blind or stand should be already set up if you hunt private land,shooting lanes cut,and blind/stand “brushed in” using the branches you trimmed for your shooting lanes.
Now is also the time to start putting out corn if you feed the deer where you hunt.
You should have had mineral blocks out since early spring,as it helps with antler growth,and provides deer nutrients that are lacking in the natural foods available.
I keep blocks out all year,in spring I put out one of the “rack rock” type blocks made for antler growth. In fall,I put out apple,sugar beet, and acorn scented blocks. Once the rut is over,I add blocks as needed,but switch to stockman’s blocks available at your local feed store-or farm supply,Tractor Supply,etc. This helps provide the newly pregnant does with a boost in nutrients.
If you put out corn,and don’t use a feeder,spread it out,rather than make one big pile,as it will help prevent deer from passing diseases to other deer when spread out. If you just dump corn in a big pile,the deer can transmit diseases to other deer.
I hunt a 70 acre or so private property,and we do mange the deer as much as possible,which is why we put out food and mineral blocks. Over the years,there have been some monster sized deer taken there,both in body size,and antler size. There’s only 4 people who regularly hunt the property,and another 4 guys we let hunt gun season. Usually it’s no more than 4 people hunting on any given day of the season.
The property is surrounded by ag fields-most years it’s about half corn,half soybeans-this year for some reason,it’s all soybeans.
That’s good for us-the beans will be off the fields before the rut kicks in,and there will be no standing corn during gun season.
I also put out apples from the time they start dropping of the trees,up until the end of muzzleloader season in Jan. since I get them for free from a neighbor. If you have local apple orchards,ask the owners,they’ll usually give you extra or bruised,wormy,,etc apples for free or a really reduced price.
I freeze a bunch for us later in the season,the deer still eat them,and when there’s snow on the ground,some apples spread around 30 yards or so from your blind will draw hungry deer in from all over the area.
I hunt a lot on public land,where you can’t put out any kind of bait,no corn,no apples,no mineral blocks.
No big deal,deer travel the same trails all the time,the key to finding deer on public land is to find the major trails,then find the bedding areas,the water sources,and the food sources. Deer have to drink water at least twice a day,usually soon after they move from their beds,and again after feeding.
When you find the trails,anywhere from 5-15 yards from the main trails-you will find smaller,less used trails.
These are the older buck’s trails,yearling bucks usually still travel with the does up until the rut begins.
Find a spot near a water source,a food source,or on the trail the deer use to get to the bedding areas.
Deer feed all night during hunting season,if you set up near a bedding area,and are trying to get a deer heading to bed-you have to be able to get to your blind long before first light,and do it without spooking deer.
I usually use the opposite approach-I set up far enough away from the bedding area that I can get to me blind any time during the day,and try to get the deer as they move out of the bedding area.
If you find the food source,pick a spot that’s either still back in the woods a little,or right at the edge of a field.
When there’s a lot of acorns on the ground,deer aren’t going to eat much of anything else,so concentrate on water sources and trails to and from bedding areas.
The single most important thing you can do is get out in the woods,and see what the deer are doing where you hunt,there’s no substitute for scouting-none.
I don’t use trail cameras,because unless you own a huge farm/property,and have dozens of cameras,all you’ll find out is where the deer were,not where they are,where they’re going,what they’re eating,where they’re bedding-which are the things you need to know to be where the deer will be after you get in your stand/blind.
You have to pay close attention to wind direction-and have more than one stand or blind set up so you have another choice if the wind is not blowing towards your stand or blind. I have 4 locations,so I’m covered every day I hunt. The public land that I hunt-I also hunt different spots when the wind is from different directions. The best public land was hit with a severe EHD outbreak in 2012,we didn’t see a single deer hunting that gun season at the Ladue public hunting area,and we hunted it for 5 days. This year should be good there,as the 2013 fawns will be 3 1/2 now,2014 fawns 2 1/2. Next year will probably be better at Ladue,as there should be plenty of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old bucks.
I’ll probably hunt there at least 2 days of gun season this year,just to see what the deer numbers are like.
Deer can smell you from a long ways off,unless you are hunting in an area where they are used to people-like the suburbs-they aren’t going to come within bow range if they smell you.
Use the wind to your advantage,I also will take a trash bag into the wods with me a couple weeks before hunting season,and pack it full of leaves and twigs from the area I’m going to hunt.
Then I put the leaves into paper bags,and put them in plastic bins with all my hunting gear.
I’ve been doing this for years-it works,I’ve had deer walk right by me when I’m in an ground blind and the wind shifted so it was blowing at my back-and they still didn’t smell me.
I don’t use the scent control clothing or products-my method has worked just fine for over 40 years-why change it now?
I would rather spend the $$$ I save by not paying extra for scent control clothing and products on new broadheads,arrows,and crossbow bolts.
Wear camo that matches your surroundings-wearing solid earth tone colors is better than wearing something like woodland camo in Ohio in November.
Either wear some kind of face mask,or use camo face paint-deer recognize the shape of a human face-so hide your face.
Don’t hike around the woods during the day once deer season starts-stay put. As long as you picked a good location,the deer will come to you. If you are hunting public land,there’s enough people moving in and out of the woods  to push deer right to you,another reason to sit still,stay in your blind.
Pack enough snacks plus a lunch,bring plenty of water,and if you’re like me-pack a thermos of coffee.
Make sure you have some surgical gloves,hand soap-I use an empty one of the 99 cents at the qucikie mart hand sanitizer bottles filed with Dial antibacterial hand soap-plus hand sanitizer,and a towel/washcloth to wash your hands after to field dress your deer.
Either buy a deer drag,or make your own-I just use an 18″ piece of 3/4″ oak dowel rod that I tie my rope to,makes it much easier to drag the deer.

Ohio deer hunting regs/info…

White-tailed Deer Hunting

Species Opening Date Closing Date Daily Bag Limit
Archery September 24, 2016 February 5, 2017 The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit .

Refer to the Deer Hunting Section for details on zone and bag limits.

Deer Youth Gun November 19, 2016 November 20, 2016
Gun November 28, 2016 December 4, 2016
December 17, 2016 December 18, 2016
Muzzleloader January 7, 2017 January 10, 2017

The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit.
No more than two deer may be taken from a two deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. Both deer need to be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in a two deer county.
No more than three deer may be taken from a three deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. The antlerless permit is not valid in most three deer counties. Check the antlerless permit map on this page to determine if the antlerless permit is valid in the county where you hunt. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit in specific three deer counties, and two deer may be tagged with either-sex permits. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Three deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not valid or not used.
No more than four deer may be taken from a four deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit and three deer may be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Four deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not used.

Two Deer County Three Deer County Three Deer County Four Deer County
A hunter may kill no more than two deer in a two deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season. A hunter may kill no more than four deer in a four deer county during the 2016-2017 season.
Up to two either-sex permits. Up to three either-sex permits. Up to two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to three either-sex permits.
Up to three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to four either-sex permits. 
Antlerless permits are NOT valid. Antlerless permits are NOT valid.


I’ll do a post on stand/blind site selection in the next day or two.
If you haven’t been out in the woods yet,get out there,boot leather in the woods and fields equals venison in the freezer.

Ladue should have decent deer hunting this year for those of you around here…

LaDue Public Hunting Area

More info on Ladue here

The increase came even as the state lowered bag limits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio wildlife officials say good weather and other factors led to an increase in the number of deer killed by hunters this past season.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says hunters checked 188,335 white-tailed deer dating back to the opening of archery season in the fall. That’s up from the 175,745 deer checked during the 2014-2015 season.
The increase came even as the state lowered bag limits and eliminated antlerless permit use in most counties. Coshocton and Licking counties produced the most tagged deer.
The state says that until recently deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above the wildlife agency’s goal. In the last few years, the population in most counties has been brought down to near the goals.

Ohio Deer Harvest

Posted: December 27, 2015 by gamegetterII in deer hunting, hunting
Tags: , , , , ,

According to the ODNR,the 2015-2016 deer season harvest is up slightly…
Up by 3,742 over last year,however,the deer season was changed,there was no
Oct. doe only muzzleloader season
plus there’s an extra two days of gun season,tomorrow and Tues.
The muzzleloader season is a week later than last year as well.
Jan. 9th-12th is this year’s muzzleloader season.
We hunted 5 of the 7 days of gun season,and never saw a deer in gun range.
We hunt in Ashland county,the harvest there is almost the same as last year,
there’s an eight deer difference.
The ODNR apparently listened to us hunters at the meetings they held last year,
when we said there were way too many does being harvested,and deer numbers
were way down from the year before,and have been dropping for the years-as
antlerless permits were only sold in ten counties.

2015/16 Deer Harvest Totals

The 2013/14 and 2014/15 deer harvest totals here

There’s still plenty of time to get a deer,and get some venison in your freezer,
we have the 2 days of gun season,the four days of muzzeloader season,
and the archery season is open ’till Feb 7th.
What’s important to deer now is food and cover,they need more food because
it’s colder,and the bucks are still recovering from the rut.
For morning hunts,set up so you can catch the deer coming back to the
bedding area,for evening hunts,set up so you catch them going from
bedding area to food source. If there’s a water source  between the bedding
area and the food source-that’s the perfect spot to set up-as the deer will
drink water on their way to the food source and on their way back to the bedding area.

Read.

Learn.

Train.

Do more PT.

Long Range Hunting Newsletter

StarvinLarry

The cover image this month was taken of me by Robb Wiley of Non-Typical Outfitters on a hunt together this year. It demonstrates the use of an Ultrec Saddle Rest on a front tripod plus the use of some stacked up rocks for supporting the right arm and elbow. Both are taught in the LRH-NTO Shooting Classes which we’ll be offering again next summer.

I had fun this month writing the article on “What’s In Len’s Backpack”. It refers to the stuff I typically have with me on a solo DIY “boots-on-the-ground” hunt for mule deer in the western states.

It turns out that when they are counted, 51 items (a crazy number) find a place in my pockets, around my neck and in or lashed onto my backpack. And a reader already pointed out that I forgot to list toilet paper.

Read more  here

Image result for big whitetail bucks

 

As the month of November draws to a close,the rut has passed-(at least around NE Ohio)-bucks seem to vanish.
The bucks are exhausted from the rut,as they’ve spent a couple weeks acting like horny teenage boys with a non-stop supply of horny teenage girls wiling to do the deed.
They don’t vanish,they do rest a bit more,but the big bucks are still on the move-they have to drink water at least twice a day,and as it gets colder,they have to eat more not only to stay warm,but to replace the weight and muscle lost during the November rut.
The key (s) to finding bucks now is food sources and bedding areas.
Set up on a trail near a food source,either one going in for afternoon/evening hunts,or a trail going from a food source to a bedding area for an early morning hunt.
Something a lot of hunters don’t concentrate on are the two secondary ruts.
The first begins 28 days after the peak rut in your area,as around 10% of does do not get bred during the main rut.
These does go intro estrous,and get bucks chasing after them-just like the main rut-but a much,much smaller version.
Once you figure out the approximate date of the peak rut,you can begin using doe in estrus scents,estrous bleats,and grunt tubes 28 days later.
The buck I got last year came in to a combination of doe bleats and grunt tube calls.
I did have some scent wicks out-but he came in from the wrong direction to have been able to get wind of them.
That buck didn’t have much of a rack-he was a big bodied deer,and likely the dominant buck in his area,judging by how busted up his rack was,and the newly formed scars he had.
The buck began the season as a high-racked 6 point,by the time I shot him on Dec. 6th,he had a broken brow tine,3 points on one side,and two on the other.
He went down after a 30 yard or so shot from a .45caliber  240 gr Hornady XTP mag jhp bullet in a .50 caliber sabot-pushed by 2 50gr Triple7 pellets. I prefer the .44 cal 240 gr XTP’s in a .50 cal sabot,as they are much easier to load,but my brother and I had split a box of 20 of the .45 cal XTP mags.
My preferred load is the .44 cal XTP pushed by 95-100 grains of Triple 7 FFFG,as it’s a higher velocity load,and accurate out to 150 yds.

Okay,back to late season tactics-after the 10% of does that didn’t get bred in the peak/main rut have been bred-usually in early to mid December,depending on timing of main rut-there a third,but extremely small percentage of your local deer herd that go into estrous around the first or second week of Jan.
That very,very small third rut-( maybe 2-3% of the local deer herd)- is generally yearling does coming into estrous for the first time.
This very minor rut coincides with Ohio’s January muzzleloader season.
I’ve had success during this period using estrous bleats and a grunt tube sparingly.

Some stuff I’ve learned about whitetails over the years…
Bucks use grunts,and does use bleats a lot more than most of us realize-several years ago,I had a 2 year plus long series of surgeries done on my leg,in the nice weather,I would sit on our deck most of the daylight hours-hell,I couldn’t do a whole hell of a lot during the first year and a half of that period of torture-(see pic on sidebar  of landing page @ starvinlarry.com).
During that time,I watched does with newborn fawns,does with fawns as they grew up their first summer,bachelor groups of bucks,bucks making rubs and scrapes,bucks chasing does,and bucks and does during the rut.
As I watched the steady procession of deer emerge from the woods that are the Cuyahoga Valley National Park,what I heard was almost constant vocalization,bucks grunt all year ’round,does and fawns bleat all year ’round.
After the bucks have rubbed the velvet from their antlers,sparred with the others in the bachelor groups,and the bachelor groups have broken up-their grunts change.
They get louder and longer,there are more snort-wheeze challenges made when bucks spot other bucks,and then the bucks start fighting in earnest.
Once the pecking order has been established,and the dominant buck has beat up on all challengers,the bucks start making scrapes and rubs in earnest.
Most scrapes will be made under a tree at a field edge,or where thick cover turns to small trees.almost every scrape has a branch hanging down that the bucks can reach-they lick the branch,and rub their heads on it-(there’s scent glands in the buck’s head).
As I’ve said in other posts about deer hunting-make a fake scrape line-and be sure there’s a branch hanging within the buck’s reach over the scrape.
All you have to do is clear all the leaves,branches and other debris in a half-circle/oval shape under the tree-make a bunch-I usually make a line of 6-8 fake scrapes.
**** Great new technique****
Something I tried for the first time this year is using the branches I cut when I cleared shooting lanes-tying some  OD color paracord between trees that had no branches hanging down that a buck could reach,and zip-tying the branches to the paracord.
Holy shit-the bucks tore those branches up-I’ll be using that again next year.

You can use scents such as Active Scrape-(or just piss in the scrapes yourself-but be sure you’re hydrated so your piss is clear),or add some doe urine in the early fall,then a few drops of estrous doe urine starting around the first week of November-don’t use estrous scents any earlier-or you’ll spook the deer,they know that’s not normal.
Then as the leaves turn colors,and nights get colder in late October/early November-the first does start coming into estrous,and the bucks are on their feet chasing those first estrous does for much of the day-and all of the night.
This goes on for about two weeks most years,despite weather,the peak rut remains fairly consistent year after year.
In Ohio,there’s probably more deer killed the second week of November than any time except the week-long gun season.

For the best chance at a late season buck-get out and hunt the really cold days,hunt the days a low pressure system is moving in,hunt in the rain,if it’s not cold enough to snow.
Other than the rut (s),I’ve taken most of my big bucks on days with a cold drizzle or light rain.
After that,the day before a big snow hits is always a good day,as is just after a big snow.
The bucks are still there-it ain’t rocket science to find ’em-know the deer trails in the areas you hunt-the big trails are almost always doe trails-look 10-15 yards to either side of the doe trails,and most of the time,you will find a much less traveled trail-these are the trails the bucks use.
Know where the bedding areas and food sources are-never try to hunt a stand or blind near a bedding area in the afternoon/evening-you’ll get busted-the deer will see and/or smell you.
They choose the bedding areas for a reason-they can see any danger approaching from a long ways off. Hunt near bedding areas really early in the morning-get in to your stand/blind well before daylight,and you have a good chance of catching a buck coming back to his bedding area after feeding all night.

Those who live in areas with large stands of mature timber,and huge hunting areas can take big bucks by tracking them in the snow-search for Larry,Lanny,and Lane Benoit-an entire family of some of the best deer trackers who ever lived.

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Ohio’s archery season starts in two weeks.

That means you’ve only got two weeks left to target shoot.

You should be shooting at first and last light as much as possible,and wearing the clothes you will wear hunting.

Get out in the woods,check your stand/blind set-ups-you picked your stand/blind locations and cut shooting lanes back in August right?

You already cleared debris and sticks/branches from the trails to your blind/stands right?

You already know the distances to the most likely areas the deer will approach from right?

You can already put all 6 arrows into 6″ or less from those distances,right?

You already know where all the food and water sources and bedding areas are in relation to your stands/blinds,right?

You know what stands/blinds to hunt depending on wind direction right?

You know which stands/blinds you can NOT hunt in early morning or late evening because the sun will be in your eyes,right?

Where it’s legal,you already have salt/mineral blocks out right?

Where it’s legal,you have corn in feeders already setup and filled,right?

You already planted fall/winter food plots with a variety of grains and brassicas right?

You already washed all your hunting clothing and let them hang outside for a day,right?

Then you put said clothing in a clean plastic bin(s) with some pine cones,and pine,oak, or cedar branches in several small paper bags spread out among the clothes in the bin(s),right?

Your early-season hunting boots are in the same bin,right? Already waterproofed and aired out for a few days,right?

Your day pack is in the same bin(s) too,right?And your rain gear?

Got a map of the area you plan to hunt,a compass,fire starting kit,first aid kit, etc. in your day pack right?

Along with all the stuff I wrote about last year in this post,right?

If for whatever reason,you made a bad shot on a deer,you do know how to track a wounded deer,right? If not,read this I wrote that last year also.

You know how to process your deer like I wrote about Here, and Here ,right?

Get out in the woods-scout your hunting area,find all the deer trails,water and food sources,bedding areas,and the trails between bedding area and water source,food source and water source,food source,water source and bedding areas. Pay attention to what the deer eat at what time of year,plant winter food plots where legal-and you’ll have a shot at a late season buck as his body is seriously nutrient depleted  from the rut,and he’ll be drawn to high quality food after the rut has ended. The same food plot will attract does as well,so you have no excuse for not filling your freezer with venison this year !

If you want the local deer herd to remain at optimum numbers of deer-shoot every coyote you see during deer season-shoot enough of them,and the furs will cover your hunting costs for the year!

Fewer ‘yotes mean more deer,studies have shown coyote predation can kill up to 90% of whitetail fawns in areas with a lot of ‘yotes-eastern coyotes are an invasive species,as such,they need to be extirpated.

If there are feral hogs in your area-shoot every one of those you see as well-they eat many of the same foods deer eat.

Feral hogs are an invasive species as well-extirpate them-look at them as bacon on the hoof !

Get out in the woods,get your blinds/stands ready,clear debris from trails you use to and from your blinds/stands-shoot arrows every day,make sure your broadheads are razor sharp,use a safety harness if you hunt from a treestand!

Hunt safely,hunt smart,know your quarry’s habits-if you want to take a big buck,you have to get out in the woods and work for it-it ain’t like the hunting shows on the tee-vee!

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I wrote about this last year Here and Here and Here

*since I wrote those posts last year,I’ve seen 8-10 bucks raking antlers on branches above their scrapes-was too busy hunting to write up a new post on the subject during last year’s rut.*

I’m putting lots of hunting info up long before deer season gets underway.

It’s now September 12th-Ohio’s archery season for deer starts on September 26th-that’s two weeks away people-get out there and get set up,only a month or so away from the time to be making fake scrape lines-so read up on it…

Via Field & Stream Here

Minnesota whitetail nut Billy Jerowski is a fair-minded, modern husband—one whose manhood isn’t threatened by doing dishes or hanging laundry. But he never imagined his domestic experience would improve his deer hunting. That is until after he’d been watching numerous bucks work scrapes, when it dawned on him that the licking branch doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. “I realized that bucks love getting their antlers up into anything—a deadfall or a vine—whether it hangs vertically or horizontally,” he says. “That got me to thinking.”

The Scrape Line
Always ready to experiment, Jerowski drove to his hunting area and strung a wire tightly between two trees, like a clothesline. To this wire, he hung short lengths of rope, a green tree branch, even a section of grapevine. “I roughed up some dirt below the wire to start the scrape,” he says. “But I doubt I needed to. The bucks just hammered those overhanging ‘branches.’ When I came back to check my experiment, the little scrapes I started under each had been hit so many times they’d melded into one giant scrape.”

Jerowski feels his technique trumps the standard mock scrape for several reasons. “First, I can put it wherever I need it—no need to find the right tree, with the perfect overhanging branch,” he says. Second, hanging several different “branch” materials seems to ensure that a buck will become interested in at least one. “Bucks are curious, and once one starts getting his antlers up into one branch and pawing the ground, it isn’t long before other bucks are in on the action, and hitting all of them.”

Hang Tight
When it comes to constructing this mock scrape line, the keys are “tight and strong,” says Jerowski. Bucks can pull down a light line easily, so use strong wire, cable, or a stout rope. Stretch it tightly between two trees, and tie it securely. “To attach the hanging vines or branches, I use zip-ties and I make sure they’re cinched down tight or bucks will pull them off,” he says. “You can scrape up the ground to get bucks started, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Once they start working those hanging ‘branches,’ the scraping comes naturally. In a couple of weeks you’ll have a super scrape right where you need it to be.”

Sit Tight

Where you hang your “scrape line” should be determined by the best possible stand location. Start by picking a tree that offers a good combination of cover and shooting lanes. Then look for another similarly good stand tree nearby that will allow you to hunt a totally different wind. If you position your mock scrape line so you can shoot to it from either tree, you’ll have a buck magnet you can hunt in almost any breeze, and one that’ll stay hot right through the start of the rut.

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Do more PT !