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BWOTA- 2017-18 Semi-Live Season Updates Thread

Discussion in 'Ohio Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by bywayofthearrow, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. I decided last year post season to share more real time videos and photos this season from my time spent hunting whitetails in Ohio. I ended up posting all my pics here-( but my videos (ad free) that I upload to YouTube trickled out after editing year end. So, this year I'm going to TRY to do a better job bringing them as they happen. Check back from time to time to see what's new. I won't have near the time as last year to hunt but I've planned for it, and hope to focus on quality over quantity. My hope is I can inspire a few of you not to hit the snooze button when that big cold front rolls through or those first few days of chasing start happening. I've added some new camera gear and plan to deploy some new hunting strategies for this season. 12 counties are on the list for hunts so I hope to bring some diverse landscapes and habitat types. Hopefully some action too! I'll be hunting a mix of public and private though I won't be specifying where I am (sorry B6, maybe when we're a lotto state). If anyone has camera or editing questions feel free to ask. I'm no expert but I was a beginner at one time too.

    Cheers to a new season! Everyone have a safe and successful 2017-18! Enjoy!

    First harvest and video upload of the season:
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  2. Thanks Arrow. Nice!
    bywayofthearrow likes this.

  3. Looking forward to seeing a video of this years buck:) Nice job teammate and good luck.
    bywayofthearrow and Bryan six like this.
  4. Bryan six

    Bryan six Staff Member Mod

    No doubt, awesome!!!
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  5. I plan to capture as much video as possible this season but I'm a photo guy before video so I do both.. something about capturing a moment in time is just fascinating to me. As I post photos I'll try to include a description of the hunt and area. I'm home in bed sick so I'm going to catch up some first week action.

    Opening day I headed down to SO with 3 friends for what has turned into our annual opening day hunt. We have a cool spot by a river we all park our trucks and eat lunch and tell stories from the morning hunt. Some years we jump in the river if its hot. We also use that time to draw sticks for who's going where in the evening. We're all too generous so it turns into everyone giving up the better spots so drawing sticks makes the process easier for us. I hunted a stand we call the pine crossing opening morning. It's a unique tree where you can get up 15 feet with no sticks and you really don't need a stand. My stand isn't that comfortable so I sit on a big flat branch with a foot rest as needed. The stand is on the edge of a cut that's about 6 years old. There's a old logging trail that's overgrown that comes out under the pine and a oak ridge right behind the stand. It's just down from the top and is a special place as the first time my buddy hunted it he almost tagged a nice buck 5 mins into the season. The morning was a wheeze fest as it was dead quiet and I ended up seeing no daylight movement. I got down and waited for my buddies on the edge of the cut and was doing some glassing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a deer cross the cut into the oaks. I took cover in the weeds! A second deer crossed and the wind was in my face. It was go time! There was a stiff breeze and good ground cover so I moved fast and quickly outlined the deer heads down eating acorns. I saw some tines at this point. Another big breeze came and I snuck into 10 yards of what turned out to be 2 young bucks that were oblivious to my presence. As they fed I eased back out under the cover of the wind. Man that was fun!
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    The evening hunt was one we were all really looking forward to. We headed to an area that has been a huge learning place for us on hill country habitat diversity. A huge game changer for hill country for me has been finding ridgetop disturbance that's had time to progress into succession to the point there is quality structure with a ideal mix of Forbes and grasses. If you see too much grass it's likely passed it prime. I look for clover, golden rod, birdsfoot trefoil, ragweed and most importantly just a wide mix of weeds with a little grass for structure. Autumn olive is quite common in these types of areas and is a shrub that produces nitrogen. The legumes like clover and birdsfoot also produce N. As a result everything around them is lush and highly productive. Without management Autumn olive ends up being the death of these highly productive areas and will choke out everything else. Something I've found over the years is although oaks are a major food source, high quality browse is actually higher on the list and deer will bed closer to the browse (in the browse most often) and travel to oaks after their appetizer from the forbe buffet. Don't forget ridgetop water is critical to make this what it is. I see does bed under oaks but rarely bucks. We all know bucks travel less than does in daylight typically so you can bet the bucks will be bedded right in the food. Next time you find a suspected buck bed do a quick assessment of what is browsed around the bed and what the plant composition looks like. If you can find quality old field in miles of timber you will know immediately because you will see more deer crap than you've maybe ever seen. That's the confirmation you are looking for! It took us a year or two to figure it out but we now know a lot of these deer bed right in the field or just on the edges where the field transitions to hardwoods and drops off.
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    I volunteered to try a new spot down below the ridgetop coming in a long valley and setting up where I thought a mature buck would meander through before dark as he heads to the ridgetop feeding areas. I was totally wrong! I bumped a couple deer but the sign was weak in the bottom only a few 100 yards from the destination feeding areas up top. I had winds come from every direction and had a couple deer blow at me down in the bottom. I had no cell service so I couldn't communicate with my buddies hunting up top. I made the long hike out and got comfy knowing it would be a long time before I got picked up. My buddies had used the wind to get right in the best feeding areas and I knew they wouldn't get down if they knew a buck was around at sunset. I waited a long time before they finally came down the dirt road. It was really cool being in deep woods in the dark. My eyes adjusted and I experienced a world many rarely see. I listened to critters moving about around me while I sat there motionless. It's something many in today's world would find scary but part of me enjoyed the peace that the dark woods offered. Part of me wondered if everything was ok, did they shoot one, did the new guy get lost etc. when they pulled up it was all smiles.. The opening day weather was incredible and I knew I was in for stories. No arrows were released but my two buddies hunting the feeding areas both had nice bucks stand up from beds within the fields. One buck was a clean 10 2 yo and one was a 4+ stud with a split brow that hung up at 57 yards from my other buddy. They ended up seeing 3 bucks and 14'does slamming the browse within the fields. The older buck was bedded on the edge and the younger was bedding right in the middle and actually stood up to feed and laid back down several times. It was a very satisfying day and we attribute the weather to the buck sightings. You can bet this area is on the October cold front list! The history is just building for this spot but we are already walking away successful. I plan to use this same model on my own property someday.
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    Me sitting in the bottom with 360 winds.. I went through a whole milkweed pod trying to make some sense of it all.
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    Milkweed is critical for the monarch butterfly and THE best wind indicator I've used. It will ride the wind and thermals as far as you can see. I watch for it at parks along the side of the road. Take some but leave plenty to keep the patch going. I store pods in a little round plastic container about the size of a half dollar.
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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    steveOh likes this.
  6. Opening week it was time for a close to home doe. I live on the Franklin/Licking line and if you can find access there are some high deer densities. I try to take my does close to home where their chances of ending up as a hood ornament are highest. Last year on my first hunt close to home I took a nice doe and this year was no different. I cut firewood for extra money and have a system that gets me access to local private property. Once I'm in I always look for opportunity to hunt. I rarely ask for permission but I always wear some camo and bring up if I see any wildlife. Most places are usually hunted and I steer clear in hunting season. This summer I found a place super close to home that had no sign of anyone even touching or entering the woods. A farmer farms a few small fields mixed into the woodlots and creeks but other than that something was different here. I could tell these deer weren't pressured. At first the deer gave me some looks but after I cut wood multiple times a week they knew me as the chainsaw guy. They began feeding as close as 30 yards on a regular basis. At the point of noticing one bean field in particular was going to be a total loss for the farmer I figured that was my opportunity to bring up hunting. I immediately got a big fat no hunting! "We are too concerned about the liability".
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    Fast forward to early Sept. and the list of things I had done around their property was getting deep. I did it in exchange for the free wood but always tried to do a little above and beyond when I could hoping to earn their trust. When I thought the time was right I brought up the crop damage again and the fact I had 13 does watch me cut wood all evening. They told me they would get back with me. They called their insurance company who told them they were liable for any hunting accidents... I saw this as an opportunity and whipped out a permission slip with the ORC on it and wrote down the DOW # to call if they had further questions. I didn't hear back. I was out flagging trees and came across some ancient dying oaks and a fresh bait pile of corn and mineral. I called them up to inform them about their timber status which is over mature and probably 6 figures worth of trees needing thinned. They told me no one had permission to hunt and they would look into the bait pile. That night I got home and had a signed permission slip in my email inbox. I was in!!!

    Moving on to last tuesday, the first legal hunt there in decades. I knew which doe I was going for first as these nannys were like clock work. Sure enough an hour in the stand, same time as always she entered the bean field and came right to me before I put a 5 yard shot on her. I somehow didn't hear her crash because she went down as she as entered the woods. I went home, ditched some gear and grabbed my dog. I wanted to know if she had any interest. I took her to first blood and let's just say she's got it! She's smelled plenty of deer Ive brought home so she almost knew what she was looking for at that point. She took off pulling hard on the leash and we basically ran right to the doe that made it maybe 30-40 yards. Super happy with her abilities and I'm looking forward to more practice with her.
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  7. Early next week is looking like go time. calling for a low of 44 in my neck of the woods. Got some trails blazed today to improve deer movement around a couple treestand locations for the rut. Dang honeysuckle was impassable. I cut wood on location weekly and the chainsaw has no visible affect on the deer that I can see. Hoping these trails funnel the action right past. Haven't seen much of a fall shift yet where I'm at of bucks. Anyone else seeing new deer on the move yet?
  8. Weather sure is terrible for hunting out there! If anyone needs a little something to get them through this mild weather until the next cold front here's an awesome interview with Jeff Sturgis of whitetail habitat solutions. He discusses habitat design on private land as well as big public strategies. He's been hunting Ohio public land for around 15 years and goes into how he decides where to hunt and what he's looking for. I've learned a ton from Jeffs content and have had awesome results applying his strategies that he shares on his website and youtube channel. I watched his episode on creating funnels and bedding areas and tried it this last off season. I made cuts for does and others for bucks all designed to protect deer from neighbors and create undisturbed movement from bedding, to water, to green food sources and onto destination food sources. I will share updates once I decide its time to move in there and hunt. I can already say for sure doe family groups and at least one buck are living in the cuts nearly full time. Jeff goes into a little of everything in this podcast but give his website a look or jump on his youtube page.

  9. Sunday night/mon are going to be gold. Rain drops off at 5p Sunday in my neck of the woods. I'm aiming to be out Sunday and Monday night. This time frame with corresponding cold fronts has proven to be a hot time in the woods. Bucks will be traveling longer distances in daylight. Happens every time we get a weather front in the 14-20th of Oct.

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    bankfish likes this.
  10. It's a little while from gun season but my buddy and I finally kicked out some video of his first deer harvest from extended gun weekend last year. I ate a few strap steaks off that deer and man it was some good eating.
    247deer and steveOh like this.
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    Went spot and stalk with a old bruiser last night. Sorry for the pic quality but I could barely hold my phone straight during the adrenaline dump as I closed the distance to 40 on the stalk. Center frame you can't miss his rack where he was bedded in the field. Glassed him bedded in a overgrown field and closed the distance by crawling to 30. Drew my bow, went to stand to shoot and he jumped and bolted!! I should have hung back at 35 and tried calling to him. It was a dream come true seeing his rack sticking up in the field and having the wind and 4 foot cover to crawl through to get to him. After he bolted a doe stood up he was with and I put her down in 50. I will be back for the buck! He ran somewhere I can continue pursuing him so I think there's a chance of seeing him again soon. My days in a treestand are getting fewer and fewer and it's paying off big!

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    BillsCustomCalls and steveOh like this.
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    Enough fun filling the freezer. Time to start getting serious about the bucks. Last nights stalk flipped the switch for me. Just got a pic update from the new plot that got cleared this spring. Tucked into a wooded corridor along a creek. Gonna be a big buck killer. My buddy has stands on both ends on cut funnels. Been staying off the properties with foodplots playing the waiting game. Letting antsy neighbors that hunt their properties wrong push them into our designated sanctuaries where the plots are. I love hunting whitetails on public land but habitat improvements and planting is up there too for me. Camera cards are probably full but I don't care! Low impact is the most deadly strategy regardless of where you hunt. Can't wait to watch the OS bucks start dropping. Good luck to all!

    FYI my buddy rattled in a young up and comer 30 seconds after putting the antlers down this morning. The big boy last night was right with a doe. The magic is starting to happen.

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  13. Looks like shep is enjoying the fresh kill too
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  14. Gotta keep my tracking dog happy. She cleans the floor through the whole process so I'm happy too. Kinda gross when she tries to lick your face the next day.
    Bryan six likes this.
  15. Ccongratulations on your doe and good luck going after that buck!
    bywayofthearrow likes this.
  16. Thanks Steve. Likewise to you. Looking forward to hearing how your season goes.
    Bryan six likes this.
  17. We are blessed with alot of water in Ohio between the lakes, reservoirs, streams and rivers. I always enjoyed canoeing and find water hunts to be very enjoyable. Getting a deer 50 yards to a boat beats a half mile drag any day!! Water access is often overlooked and it really helps where there is alot of hunting pressure i.e. most of Ohio and the surrounding Midwest. I've taken long boat rides to access both private and public and it's always been worth it.

    10/15/17- PM Hunt, Hunt #3
    Deep Easterm Ohio in the land of lakes. Spot and stalk doe harvest.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  18. No weather love for the weekend warriors. Another early week front rolling in next week. Next wednesday looks ideal both AM and PM. I'll be out scouting and glassing in the mornings to try to make the most of the weekend for hunting next week in the evenings.

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  19. 10/22
    A friend and I spent the AM hunt today looking for a specific buck and turned up empty handed. We glassed from sunup till mid morning and only saw 1 basket rack. Checked the big fellas bed and he wasn’t home. Last hunt there for awhile as some non res guys moved in.
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    Saturday AM I hunted the downwind side of a bedding area and had a lot of movement into the bedding area but 30 mins before shooting. Everything went silent at sunup. Beautiful weather but poor for deer hunting.
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    Grape vine mock scrape
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    Pulled some camera cards mid day and did a check on the ROW plot. Winter wheat did very well and is attracting a lot of deer. Kicking myself for not adding a cheap clover for more variety and N. Brassicas are totally gone but that was expected.
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    I’ll be in the woods this week as the front settles in. My cameras spiked with activity from new daylight cruisers the 15th pm, 16, 17. Next Saturday is looking as good as it gets for pre rut. Hopefully the weather reports stay true!

    Attached Files:

    steveOh likes this.
  20. Just a reminder for the public land hunters this coming weekend will be the last before small game opens. Especially important if you hunt areas popular with rabbit and pheasant hunters. Time change is the 5th so there is good evening opportunity next week to get in on some rutting activity before the madness and all the upland fields get walked. If you only have an hour or two set up for some glassing and find a buck to stalk or go in some new areas and blind call. It all works. Plus you don’t have to burn out stands on a night with limited time. Can’t believe November is right around the corner!
    steveOh likes this.