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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon! This year was my first year hunting the hills of southern ohio and I have to say its quite rewarding just in the scenery itself. I am looking to get more dialed in for early season bow hunting as to why the deer do what they do in that rough of terrain. I know the concepts to hunt the saddles between bedding and food etc or the benches but what do you guys see that work for you? During early season do you find that the deer bed on ridges or more in the creek bottoms? And as far as oaks go, are they more on benches or tops of the ridges? I want to come up with a smart approach to the stand. If they bed in the creek bottoms I dont want to run down there and setup in the thickets with the possibility of kicking deer out and I dont want to setup on a bench just to find out a deer beds on a ridge nearby overlooking the bench. Any input in appreciated, Thanks!
 

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the unit I hunt the oaks are up on top. there are some scattered around and the deer hang in the thickets on the bottom and come up top to eat. I changed my plan the last few years and instead of going in dark I waited for light and headed to the top to the oak flat. starting at the bottom thickets I jumped a bunch heading to oaks and some heading down to thickets. I was walking in 2years ago halloween day for a afternoon hunt and blew some out of the oaks. the spot I have always sat has a walking trail behind me and its all oaks and goes down to a bench. I sit just above the bench as they come from the thicket behind me across the path down the hill and onto the bench to feed on oaks. there is also a stream there so you have food and water. you need to start looking at people too. gun week i get in my climber 30ft up watching a huge hollow and put one guy watching the thicket. guys coming in late tend to chase the deer up hill towards me. i did the same thing last year. i walked into a new spot and chased them right to a guy who shot one.

what part of wayne are you hunting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the unit I hunt the oaks are up on top. there are some scattered around and the deer hang in the thickets on the bottom and come up top to eat. I changed my plan the last few years and instead of going in dark I waited for light and headed to the top to the oak flat. starting at the bottom thickets I jumped a bunch heading to oaks and some heading down to thickets. I was walking in 2years ago halloween day for a afternoon hunt and blew some out of the oaks. the spot I have always sat has a walking trail behind me and its all oaks and goes down to a bench. I sit just above the bench as they come from the thicket behind me across the path down the hill and onto the bench to feed on oaks. there is also a stream there so you have food and water. you need to start looking at people too. gun week i get in my climber 30ft up watching a huge hollow and put one guy watching the thicket. guys coming in late tend to chase the deer up hill towards me. i did the same thing last year. i walked into a new spot and chased them right to a guy who shot one.

what part of wayne are you hunting?
Thank you for the input! so would suggest most of your deer were bedding in the creek bottoms and hallows? I heard they like bedding off points over looking the bottoms so thats why im afraid to walk the tops to the stand but if they spend the majority of their time in the creek bottoms, i can plan a strategic route around to my ridge overlooking the bench they feed on
 

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No to either... A quiet entrance is everything.the tough trail is the best. Do it quietly. Bucks like to watch from a high. But will bed where they feel safe.
 

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Thank you for the input! so would suggest most of your deer were bedding in the creek bottoms and hallows? I heard they like bedding off points over looking the bottoms so thats why im afraid to walk the tops to the stand but if they spend the majority of their time in the creek bottoms, i can plan a strategic route around to my ridge overlooking the bench they feed on
I have more experience with wnf during gun week than bow. I noticed a lot of the doe will bed in the bottom or at least hide there. I haven't seen a good buck down there in 6-7years. all the bucks I have jumped have been on top while walking up. I'm a meat hunter so I sit where any deer may come and that's oaks. the area I hunt in bungle in the jungle for 1/2-3/4 way up the mountain than it opens up into hardwoods. every time I walk through the thickets im jumping doe. idk if its cause all the gunfire and pressure but I learned by my cousin who hunted that mountain for 20yrs sight the ml in at 100-150 and sit on the top of the ridge or on the bench with the thicket on the other side of the hill and they will come from either the thicket or the hollow to the thicket. I shot a 6pt sitting with the thicket behind me and oaks around me he walked from the thicket down the hill about 150yards and cut right walking the bench in front of me. all the ones I have seen have done the same exact thing every year. at the bottom of the hollow and the other ridge is a thicket so not sure if they were going up or down. most never made it that far.
 

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For bow hunting I believe that all things being equal the deer will bed toward or on the tops in general and come down to feed in the evenings. If you go into the bottoms in the morning dark you often blow them out. I prefer to hunt the tops or near the top. The wind is less tricky also. If you find the right area with them bedding in the right area you can get away with hunting the bottoms in the evenings. Better be high up the tree though just in case.

Every area is different just trial and error for particular spots I think.

For gun season all bets are off. Pick an escape route and be ready for fast action as they can come from any direction and often don't stick around long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have more experience with wnf during gun week than bow. I noticed a lot of the doe will bed in the bottom or at least hide there. I haven't seen a good buck down there in 6-7years. all the bucks I have jumped have been on top while walking up. I'm a meat hunter so I sit where any deer may come and that's oaks. the area I hunt in bungle in the jungle for 1/2-3/4 way up the mountain than it opens up into hardwoods. every time I walk through the thickets im jumping doe. idk if its cause all the gunfire and pressure but I learned by my cousin who hunted that mountain for 20yrs sight the ml in at 100-150 and sit on the top of the ridge or on the bench with the thicket on the other side of the hill and they will come from either the thicket or the hollow to the thicket. I shot a 6pt sitting with the thicket behind me and oaks around me he walked from the thicket down the hill about 150yards and cut right walking the bench in front of me. all the ones I have seen have done the same exact thing every year. at the bottom of the hollow and the other ridge is a thicket so not sure if they were going up or down. most never made it that far.
What about the first bench coming off a thicket? or is the bench on the other side of the ridge more ideal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For bow hunting I believe that all things being equal the deer will bed toward or on the tops in general and come down to feed in the evenings. If you go into the bottoms in the morning dark you often blow them out. I prefer to hunt the tops or near the top. The wind is less tricky also. If you find the right area with them bedding in the right area you can get away with hunting the bottoms in the evenings. Better be high up the tree though just in case.

Every area is different just trial and error for particular spots I think.

For gun season all bets are off. Pick an escape route and be ready for fast action as they can come from any direction and often don't stick around long.
What is the easiest way to approach the ridge to setup if they are bedding on the ridge?
 

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What about the first bench coming off a thicket? or is the bench on the other side of the ridge more ideal?
last year I sat on a bench with the thicket on the left and right and oaks on the top left and around 830 or so they filtered up the hill toward the oaks but the next ravine over the hill was thick so they could have been heading back to bed and hit some oaks on the way through. I don't get there too often and only gun hunt it so as unclemike said I find exit routes. I think with the thickets behind and right and some in the far bottom they are just trying to hide. imo they are coming up from the bottom half which is thick to the top half grab a few acorns and head either to the thicket on my right or the thicket on the bottom of my hollow. my hollow has 3 benches until you hit the lowest point which is a nasty creek bottom and goes down to the road.

imo think if I was a deer where would I go. I have sat with the ML looking over a huge open woods area where I can see 800yards with not one thicket around and never see a deer. when I hunt around any thick stuff I see them.
 

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Where benches and fingers meet is my favorite place to hunt. If you have a ridge finger that connects to a bench half way up even better. I like to hunt on the edge of the bench where I can shoot to the finger and bench and my scent blows out over the bottoms. My favorite is when the above combo is in a big horseshoe bowl. As far as access I like to come in from above waking down a steep point to access the bench. The fingers are where I find the main highways and there are usually intersecting trails that come from the benches. Playing the wind on the hillsides can be almost impossible sometimes. Ridges offer way more consistent winds. Bottoms are the worst for scent swirl. Those bucks will be moving nose into the wind. I've watched them stop and scent check a huge bowl before going in. It's amazing how good their smell is.
 

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Where benches and fingers meet is my favorite place to hunt. If you have a ridge finger that connects to a bench half way up even better. I like to hunt on the edge of the bench where I can shoot to the finger and bench and my scent blows out over the bottoms. My favorite is when the above combo is in a big horseshoe bowl. As far as access I like to come in from above waking down a steep point to access the bench. The fingers are where I find the main highways and there are usually intersecting trails that come from the benches. Playing the wind on the hillsides can be almost impossible sometimes. Ridges offer way more consistent winds. Bottoms are the worst for scent swirl. Those bucks will be moving nose into the wind. I've watched them stop and scent check a huge bowl before going in. It's amazing how good their smell is.
In my 40 yrs of Deer hunting I have rarely seen Deer walk into the wind, not saying they won't but it is pretty rare. Primarily they walk with the wind so they can smell what is behind them and see whats in front or quartering with the wind. On my property if the wind is coming from the south and blowing across the bean field into the woods I will see absolutely 0 deer. If the wind is West or East my chances are 50/50. Anything from NW over to NE and i'll have a 95% chance of seeing them.
 

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In my 40 yrs of Deer hunting I have rarely seen Deer walk into the wind, not saying they won't but it is pretty rare. Primarily they walk with the wind so they can smell what is behind them and see whats in front or quartering with the wind. On my property if the wind is coming from the south and blowing across the bean field into the woods I will see absolutely 0 deer. If the wind is West or East my chances are 50/50. Anything from NW over to NE and i'll have a 95% chance of seeing them.
I hunt forested steep hills in SE that is also highly pressured public land. These deer are always on edge from contact pressure. They walk stop browse smell look up in the trees and repeat. The large majority do exactly this if that says anything about the pressure. In farm country I grew up hunting the deer seemed to move into the wind or perpendicular downwind of known bedding areas. Can't say I've observed them moving with the wind much myself.
 
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