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  1. #1
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    Becoming a Better Hunter Part 2: To Stay or To Go

    First, thank you to everyone who took part in my first segment of "Becoming a Better Hunter". Now on to part two.

    Last year was my first mule deer hunt in CO. I drew a left over tag for GMU 37, 371, 18, 28. I did a late summer scouting trip south of I-70 in unit 37. I discovered the area was very thick cover, and the results were less than ideal. At the last minute I sought out the advice of others and shifted my focus north into unit 28.

    I spent the remainder of the summer studying maps and looking for the right spot. I found the spot I wanted, and two weeks before the season, I called the wildlife biologist and validated my thoughts on the area. A week before the season started, I made a quick last minute scouting trip. I saw several does, one small buck, but more importantly I got the lay of the land.

    The season came, and I had 4 nights/3 mornings to get the job done. The first morning came, I got to my spot, and suddenly saw a line of deer walk 75 yards directly in front of me. Unfortunately there were 9 does/fawn, no bucks. The next morning I returned to the same spot, and spotted a small buck about 500 yards out, but in a steep area I couldn't get. The third morning I headed to the location of the small buck. Unfortunately I setup about 200 yards too high up the mountain and missed an opportunity (more on that in the 3rd post). Each afternoon I glassed, walked, tracked, and kept looking for better areas.

    So here in lies the question: how much time do you spend in committed to one spot? How far are you willing to deviate from the area you scouted? At what point do you call it a loss, and drive the truck a few miles up the road? The same question goes for spotting. Do you tell yourself there's deer in here you just have to find them, or do you head on down the road?

    The last night I hunted, I walked off the the mountains with another hunter. I asked his plan for the next day, and he said he was headed about 5 miles up the road for the next day. Immediately I started question whether I should have done the same a day sooner (as the rookie I figured he knew more than I). On the drive home (empty handed), I struggled with whether I was over-committed to the area or if persistence and patience was the right approach.

    Please share your insights, and thank you again in advance.

  2. #2
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    In my experiences, I usually have to have some recent "sign" to know there is a good buck in the area. It could be large rubs, a sighting or two, fresh large tracks, anything-something...... that tells me there is a target buck in the area at the time I am hunting it. If I know there is a good buck in the vicinity, I stick it out for the duration since mature bucks tend to be discreet. My experiences also tell me that after a few days or several days of hunting an area, and I am not seeing any "recent" sign of a target buck, I then go to plan B. Deer Move periodically for many reasons, and current information tells me what I need to do.

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  4. #3
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    Age old question….

    I tend to lean on current information as well.
    If I have something sound to keep me loyal to a spot, such as an earlier sighting or past success, then I might stick to it.
    Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.
    Several years ago I had spent a ton of time scouting a great area and I had some preseason sightings of quality animals.
    Come the season (1.5 months later) a cat or more than one cat had moved in and pushed all the animals out.
    Pulled up and moved to the other end of the unit and saw more deer in two days than we had in 2 weeks.

    With all that said you had another guy who was hunting the same ground.
    Perhaps he had some reason to stay and was attempting to eliminate some pressure by throwing you a curve (maybe not).
    I always take friendly info from other hunters with a grain of salt.
    In any event you had another hunter or maybe more pushing the same ground so you have to take that in account as well.
    Life member RMEF
    Mathews DXT, Bowtech Admiral, Browing .300WSM...... and Swarovski Optiks my wife doesn't know about.
    1999 Washington Blacktaill, Bear River GMU, nontypical 6X7

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  6. #4
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    It's according to the season. If it's early I would abandon the area after glassing it a couple days and not seeing any bucks you were willing to shoot. If it was close to the rut I would hang close to those does. All the bait in the world can't attract a big buck like a hot doe. 3 days is tough, especially in a new area. Give yourself a week and you can truly see what the deer are doing in a larger area and give yourself a much better chance of connecting. Keep your head up, we've all been skunked. In fact these whitetails in Bama remind me every year I'm not nearly as good of a hunter as I think I am.

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  8. #5
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    That's were running & gunning helps to find concentrations of deer. It's kind of like bass fishing on open water, cover a lot and when you start getting bites, slow down and cover the area well.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by packmule View Post
    That's were running & gunning helps to find concentrations of deer. It's kind of like bass fishing on open water, cover a lot and when you start getting bites, slow down and cover the area well.
    That's my exact approach.

 

 

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