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Old 03-20-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
armadillophil
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Default Hunting tactics for mature bucks

I moved back to Texas in December and have been looking for a lease ever since. I found what I think is a good one this past weekend outside Jermyn Tx. I spent the last three years setting up my farm in Ohio focusing alot on stand placement, entry/exit strategies to stand, sanctuaries, funnels and pinches etc. I dont want to fall back into the feeder setup "trap" that is prevalent in Texas. I have nothing against feeders and will have one but I firmly believe that it is very difficult to kill a mature deer at a feeder, and this comes from personal observation and game camera data. Terrain, cover and feeding patterns are very different between Texas and Ohio. Its hard for me to look at a 100 acre mesquite flat and locate a feature(pinch or funnel) that would make me want to hang a stand in a certain spot. The lease I am on has some slight elevation changes and creek beds and also some change in vegation that creates some edge that I plan to start scouting. I am looking for any advice or feedback from anyone that has moved off the feeder and to see what worked and what didnt.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:33 PM   #2
mpotts
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hand corn an area where several trails intersect.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
texag93
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I know of a 196" buck killed at a feeder that frequented feeders regularly. He was pretty good at avoiding occupied stands but finally slipped up. Avoid over pressure in an area. In and out, in and out of any area will alert mature deer and push them to less traveled areas.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:45 PM   #4
panhandlehunter
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Originally Posted by texag93 View Post
I know of a 196" buck killed at a feeder that frequented feeders regularly. He was pretty good at avoiding occupied stands but finally slipped up. Avoid over pressure in an area. In and out, in and out of any area will alert mature deer and push them to less traveled areas.
Yessir. It'd be hard to hunt whitetails in a lot of this state without feeders or some type of feeding going on.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
supertrooperl14
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I know of a 196" buck killed at a feeder that frequented feeders regularly. He was pretty good at avoiding occupied stands but finally slipped up. Avoid over pressure in an area. In and out, in and out of any area will alert mature deer and push them to less traveled areas.
That was a stud deer for sure Jason, but from what I can see that deer was the exception. My mature deer also know how to avoid an occupied blind at a feeder. The only problem is they never come to a feeder when I'm there. Next year I'm going to sit hand corn 100 percent of the time and I will report the results for an entire season.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
Coach W
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If you aren't going to have a Feeder. Grow a nice food plot.

Plant things in it that will be good for dear to eat year round. Plant it 2-4 times a year, with a mixture of seasonal sprouts.

I prefer a nice food plot as it will attract deer from way further than a Feeder will simply because there is more food to be had, so you get more deer, and they will travel longer distances ritually to come eat on it.

Find out how they come to the plot and then set up so you and they don't cross paths.

And for a great food plot have easy access to dense woods around it... Deer like inside corners of plots so they don't have to be out in the open for very long and can easily dart back into the cover for safety. Give yourself an advantage and not make a square food plot but rather one with many inside corners. Make a few points with your plot like the picture... You will thank me come season... But curse me when you plant. its not that much harder but it is a little harder than planting a rectangle.

And have water nearby. A Tank on the edge of a food plot, with dense woods... Recipe for big bucks.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:08 AM   #7
JMG
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Stay along the creeks and look for intersecting trails. As for big bucks not being killed by a feeders, I disagree. They may not visit when you are there but they do come to feeders. Played cat & mouse for a month and half with the one in my avatar before he finally came in when I was there.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
Loneaggie
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It greatly depends on the geography and vegetation of where you are hunting. On our lease we have mostly sprawling mesquite flats. Well used trails are few and far between and usually only occur within 200 yards of a feeder. Our deer tend to just wander through the mesquite flats almost randomly. I do believe we have larger deer than we have ever seen though due to older bucks just completely avoiding corn and protein after a certain point. Its just a theory though.

One of the things I've been doing this offseason is putting my trail camera on trails, funnels, etc to see if I can find a dependable alternative to a feeder. We had quite a bit of pressure last year, and the feeders got lonely fast, and so I'm in the same boat this year looking to have a gameplan for being mobile and sneaky to use the deer's habit of avoiding feeders to my benefit if they slip back into the pattern.

I guess my best advice is scout scout scout, and get as many trail cameras as you can afford running in those spots. Then time will tell.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
unclefish
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Make your own funnels and pinch points if your lease will allow it. Hinge cut the mesquite to give them fewer trail choices when they travel. Its alot of work but I think its worth it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
DrenalinJunkie
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Aerial photos are your friend!! But I am sure you knew that. Mix that with a good topo map and you will see alot of things you can not see from the ground.

When I move into a new area, these are the first things I try to get ahold of.

And like mentioned above, if there are no pinch points or funnels, make some.

If I am just freezer filling, I sit at feeders. If I am after a specific deer OR a big, mature deer....... I get in there with em and leave the feeder.

When I am in Nebraska I love the fact that I have no feeders.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:15 AM   #11
TallTexan
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In
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:27 AM   #12
M16
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I pulled all the corn feeders off my ranch two years ago. Now it's hand corn or spread with a road feeder. If an old buck wants some corn he has to show up before all the other animals devour the corn. It has worked out quite well. I am seeing the bigger bucks on a more consistent basis.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:29 AM   #13
trophy8
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Open the beer cans as soon as you get in the blind. Those big bucks tend to hear them when you have been sittin there awhile
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:33 AM   #14
kerrbow
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Find a way to sneak in to your set-up either by walking or riding a mountain bike if possible. Big bucks know what vehicle noise is from 4 wheelers and such and if you park a ways away and sneak in and out it helps a whole bunch.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:40 AM   #15
crazy8
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Road feeders are a good idea, especially if you can feed enough to keep them looking daily. A good ambush point and play the wind.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #16
Tx625
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Originally Posted by M16 View Post
I pulled all the corn feeders off my ranch two years ago. Now it's hand corn or spread with a road feeder. If an old buck wants some corn he has to show up before all the other animals devour the corn. It has worked out quite well. I am seeing the bigger bucks on a more consistent basis.
Do you have a hand that runs corn routes for you'll when you'll aren't there? Or do you'll just feed when you'll are there?
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:10 AM   #17
holdem
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Deer follow contours and cover like fish so I spend a lot of time on the lake studying it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:25 AM   #18
Winman
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Originally Posted by panhandlehunter View Post
Yessir. It'd be hard to hunt whitetails in a lot of this state without feeders or some type of feeding going on.
Back in the early days[my early was the 50's] we didn't have any feeders on our leases...every now and then ,one of the farmers on the lease would bring a truck load of corn from his fields...still in the shucks and we would dump it on the senderos...an old doe can grab an ear of corn by the end of the shucks and have it out and eaten with just a few pops of her head...amazing to watch...we didn't hunt the senderos much...most stands were a couple of boards in a mesquite tree over a trail or crossing ,or bedding area...and we weren't near as much into trophy management...horns...chootem...ground check and no does were killed...

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Old 03-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #19
armadillophil
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I will be putting my boots on the ground starting next week scouting. In the midwest a 100 acre property is considered big and my lease is 1300 acres, so I am going to break it down into sections that look good on the aerial and topo map first. I am betting on a big acorn crop this year due the rain we have been having and the low crop last year. I heard the corn was piling up at the feeders in 2010 due to the bumper crop of acorns that year. I am going to try find some thick bedding area next to oak trees asap.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:46 PM   #20
bigmike585
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Open the beer cans as soon as you get in the blind. Those big bucks tend to hear them when you have been sittin there awhile
Excellent point sir, also need a good exit strategy for the urine, lol
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:46 AM   #21
cmeadors
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I like where your heads at. Im from Ohio and grew up hunting big Midwest whitetails and learned alot about how to pattern them i.e food to bed, ideal stand placement for particular conditions and rely on my due diligence and experience to let the big guy come to me..(I can go on and on about that, as im sure you can testify)... And your absolutely right 100 acres is considered pretty big.
Hunting down here is apples to oranges.. To draw in big bucks you almost always need a attractant. And feeders are just the nature of the beast...Especially with how large the property's are and the amount of deer. Feeders help close the gap and provide the deer a reason to stick around your set up's. I would take the advice givin by the others. Then get as highly elevated as possible and look around. Watch the movement... Deer do funny things, keep a eye out for signs like gaps in a fence or small pockets of shade between water and food. Deer like ridges and flats. So try to find where a ridge might pinch into a flat. Look for real thick brushy spots (like rip the clothes off your back kind of stuff) and find a intersection..Mature bucks will pattern you, and if they feel the pressure they will adjust.
Good luck !!!
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:49 AM   #22
trophy8
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Excellent point sir, also need a good exit strategy for the urine, lol
Empty gallon water container. But you must put something in the bottom to pad it as it get loud
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:53 AM   #23
M16
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Do you have a hand that runs corn routes for you'll when you'll aren't there? Or do you'll just feed when you'll are there?
We just feed when we are there. It doesn't take them long to adjust. I have a lot of javelina as well. So there is competition for the corn. If a deer wants some he will come quick. I lot of people kill every javelina they see. I don't. Javelina help clean up the corn so it doesn't last much after dark.
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