Home Forums Campfire Forum Pre-Rut Hunt, Pointers

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    • NHguy12
      Post count: 24

      Greetings,

      I am hunting in New Hampshire in September’s archery season. At this point it is way pre-rut and rather warm. The foilage is thick and green with limited visability and we have little to no agriculture land to focus on. SO, I am in the WOODS and at best can only stand over game trails and guess at bedding areas.

      My question is this: What are traditional shooters ideas for luring in bucks (and does, starting October 1st) during the very pre-rut weeks. I am on public land so there is no building/planting/baiting deer habitat.

      Are there sents that work for this time of year, styles of grunts/calls? I am just trying to find something “to do” beyond just pure waiting and hoping that something walks within 20 yards of me. Any ideas are welcome.

      Thanks ahead of time.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Hi! I’m in the same boat, in the very same state! I’m not one for sitting/standing around much, so I prefer to still hunt.

      The one sure piece of advice I have if you do decide to still hunt: Slow down, so much so that the birds start looking at you as a place to land. (Actually had it happen to me twice on Wednesday’s opener.) You might be surprised what you can hear from deer that are moving around, rubbing trees, calling out to other deer, etc., when you’re not moving. And you’ll notice more sign that way as well. The best way I know to describe the correct rate of movement is something I’ve read elsewhere — if you’re walking up on grouse without them knowing it until you’re very close, you’re doing it right.

      I carry a grunt tube, and had it work very well a couple of years back during the rut. But I think calls are overused these days and now deer are learning to avoid hunters who call.

      EDIT: Ooops, forgot probably the most important advice, ‘cuz it’s second nature to me by now. You should try always to be moving into the wind. When I get home from a day of still hunting, my face is often slightly wind-chapped as a result.

    • NHguy12
      Post count: 24

      Thanks eidsvolving.

      Where in the state are you? I do still hunt far more then I stand hut. As you know, on public land in NH you have to use a climbing stand for the most part, which meand you have to carry it along with everything else. So I only use it when I feel I am on a major deer highway (and for the most part I use it in the Rut).

      I do move rather slow and have had birds flush near by. I read in F&S that non-estrus doe pee may help, as some deer at this point will check out an unkown deer sent from time to time.

      Good luck, NH is not an easy state to hunt deer in (I came from Wyoming).

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      I’m in Milton (next town north of Rochester), tight up against the Mainiacs. I hunt publicly-accessible land almost exclusively. I’ve toyed with the idea of carrying a tree saddle, might still do that if I decide to do it.
      I’m from Minnesota originally, have also lived in AK (twice) and WA. When I got here and saw my first New England deer, I thought it was sick, it was in such poor condition. I think if I moved back to MN now, I’d be afraid to go into the woods with those monsters again. 😀

    • maineac
      Post count: 23

      I’m here in Maine with the same issue. I have never found our deer to have true “bedding areas” like you read about. That seems to be more of a midwest thing. deer might bed in the same general area, but around ere with all the woods, they seem to bed wherever they are when they fill up. This time of year there is so much forage still int eh woods, and acorns and apples spread around that the deer don’t move much. Once the cold kills a lot of the green in the woods they will have to move more. Attraction scents (vanilla was mentioned in another post, and I have heard of anise). Commercial attractants wold be an option also. Problem is you need a high enough deer density to have a hope of scent reaching a deer.

    • SteveMcD
      Member
      Post count: 870

      Stick to the ridgetops particularly those with acorns. Here in New York State I am seeing scrapes beginning to open up. So watch for them. I also many times hunt “mountain deer” where hemlock and acorns appear to be the food source. Deer are just like us, not lazy but will use trails and ridge saddles to travel and preserve energy. Find the acorns you’ll find the deer.

      The other thread talks about a Vanilla Extract and it is an attractant, but the older deer and larger bucks will shy away from it.

      Deer at this time of year, still tend to be in there summer pattern, the advantage is.. they haven’t wised up to being shot at again yet.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Brooks are drying up around us. It was 76 degrees at sundown here this evening. (I won’t hunt when it’s that warm.) This is one time I’d be inclined to hang closer to low elevation water sources, or at least figure out how deer will get to them. The boys gotta drink — they can’t stay “up there” around the clock, or maybe even through the day . . .

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      I’m with Steve. Find the acorns they want and you will find the deer. It may be does and yearlings but its part of the formula that plays out from now through the rut. Its simple.

      Acorns = Deer + Rut = Bucks. A kind of find the does and the bucks will come theory.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      We have a bumper acorn crop everywhere there are oaks, an antlered deer-only season until Oct. 1, and a forecast high today of 86. I’ll be home today working instead of hunting. 🙁

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      eidsvolling wrote: We have a bumper acorn crop everywhere there are oaks, an antlered deer-only season until Oct. 1, and a forecast high today of 86. I’ll be home today working instead of hunting. 🙁

      That makes it tough to hunt on acorns unless there are more than one type. Then you might notice a preference to one type. Otherwise you have to go to plan B and hunt the breaks. No matter where you are there should be breaks in topography, breaks in type of timber, breaks in vegetation. And there will be natural funnels within those breaks. Once found they work year after year. Around here the edge of a break between hardwoods and pine is a natural travel corridor. Locating travel corridors along break lines may be the ticket. I once found a place in an endless hardwood bottom where a tornado or wind shear had pushed down about an acre of trees. This caused new growth to pop up as the trees rotted down. I got a good 10 or so years out of that spot. Deer loved to move through and around it and I loved to hang my stand beside it. Well thats my 2 cents, good luck with your hunt.

    • NHguy12
      Post count: 24

      Duncan wrote: I’m with Steve. Find the acorns they want and you will find the deer. It may be does and yearlings but its part of the formula that plays out from now through the rut. Its simple.

      Acorns = Deer + Rut = Bucks. A kind of find the does and the bucks will come theory.

      I may have specific located an acorn area that has some hits, certainly see some droppings and even two scrapes in the area. As my fellow Granite stater has said, acorns are everywhere here and it has been hot.

      However, our rain fall has been little to none and I am finding where ever there is even a hint of water on the ground, there are tracks around. The normal mountain run-off streams are all dried up, so they are moving around areas where the water has puddled up.

      Friday begins are shot at does. I will head out Friday morning and I amy use the vanilla idea. Hope it doesn’t attract bears, saw a monster boar last week out hunting in the same area. I have no desire to come face to face with that beast. I don’t have a bear tag and with a 45# longbow, I am not confident in bringing him down, even if I did have one.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Good luck on Friday! This rain this week should help keep the ground quiet for you. I’m going to try to sneak off for grouse for a couple hours on Friday morning. In-laws arrive on Saturday, and I know it wouldn’t work to be butchering a deer here on Friday afternoon or evening, assuming I were to get so lucky . . .

    • Croatoan
      Post count: 35

      I was born in Virginia and grew up hunting there and some other southern states. No matter private or public land I hunted acorns and travel corridors. There wasn’t a ton of unbroken deep woods there, lot of farms and Oaks were very plentiful.

      I have the opposite problem now. I live and hunt within a MASSIVE unbroken piece of ground that stretches nearly 100 miles behind me into Canada.

      There are no oaks and no farms, it is a Boreal forest, Evergreens, Birch, Maple, Butternuts etc. I’ve been able to hunt 2 full days and 5 partial days since the opener. I’ve seen 8 deer total, a moose, two timber wolves and a porcupine.

      Unable to get shots on the deer. But movement is way down from what I have seen in the past. Seeing more deer near the roads than I am in the backwoods.

      We’ve had three frosts so far and this last one was a good one. Gardens gone now, most of the foliage should drop and I anticipate them moving more. Till now they could pretty much turn in circles and eat their fill. Been one of the most difficult early seasons I have seen. I sure do miss Oak trees!

    • NHguy12
      Post count: 24

      eidsvolling wrote: Good luck on Friday! This rain this week should help keep the ground quiet for you. I’m going to try to sneak off for grouse for a couple hours on Friday morning. In-laws arrive on Saturday, and I know it wouldn’t work to be butchering a deer here on Friday afternoon or evening, assuming I were to get so lucky . . .

      Last weekend friday was looking like a great morning to hunt. Now it will be a Friday with NH under water. Tied up this weekend with work, maybe I can get Monday morning in.

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 563

      Had a nicely-racked one in bow range today, slightly quartering away and all, but I passed on the shot. He weighed about 700-800 pounds, and I figured I’d go to jail if I took the shot. 😉

      I swear, I see more moose and moose sign than deer almost every time I’m out. One of these days I’m actually going to have a moose permit, in season, when I run into one of these guys. Until then, I just stand and smile as they go about their business. And then I get back to the apparently much more difficult task of getting within range of a deer.

    • RedTape
      Post count: 51

      Funnels. They are in my opinion the best way to ambush deer. Doesn’t matter if they’re going to food, water, bed or simply being pushed by some silly hunters who show up 30 min. after sunrise. The deer will always use funnels and once you find them they are good until something funnels them in a different direction!

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