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684
10-04-2011, 03:27 PM
I was out and about in the woods yesterday, and whether it was the little cold front, or just the right time on the calendar, my short walk and camera check told me its about to get good in the local woods'.

I've had a few little scrapes in the woods road since about mid september, but yesterday, I saw some "real" scrapes and rubs. I'm talking good sized scrapes with good licking branches, in locations where I can pretty much tell it's a buck that knows what he's doing. Not some year and a half old scrub that is about to have his first foray into this breeding frenzy we all love. I read a lot of magazines, and one article I read last week was about reading sign and travel patterns and connecting that to more mature bucks. I will try not to ramble, but some of this may be useful to some. In the article, it referred to a "primary trail" as all of your major bed to feed trails. These are the ones that are most obvious, and the ones that many of us had have much success hunting. Now anyone that has a decent amount of experience knows that a good place to intercept a good buck is to hunt places/trails that a buck uses to "scent check" an area. These are usually trails that are a bit down wind of a field or bedding area. Hunting these trails/areas are where I have had great success over the years. One mistake the article said many hunters will make is that they walk in the woods 20 yard and they will see a trail that runs parallel with the field edge and consider this as a "scent check" trail. This usually isn't the case. We all know that a buck can smell waaay more than 20 yards, and the fact of the matter is the buck isn't running this trail actually trying to smell actual deer standing in the field. His main purpose is to cross the primary trails, and smell the actual trail, where he can obviously smell if a hot doe has traveled recently. These trails are usually well into the woods, certainly a good bit further than how far you can see from the field edge. In other words, they were saying that the good bucks usually won't walk a trail that is within sight of the field.

It's a little different for the bedding areas. Here, the bucks will not stray too far from it, and some times won't leave what they consider the actual "sanctuary" area. The bucks can easily walk a trail down wind of the bedding area and be able to smell any hot doe in it. So playing the wind and hunting these trails can result in huge success.

The main point of the article however was saying how you should closely monitor these secondary trails they called "buck trails." When these trails start to show some obvious signs of use, then you know it's time to change accordingly. The primary trails will have signs of use year round, of course some of them being better at certain times of the year depending on bed/feed patterns.

After reading this article, and sort of knowing the locations of some of these buck trails, as well as some of the major primary trails, I did a little "studying" yesterday. I went to a spot that has 3 primary trails within about a hundred yards of eachother. With a print out of an aerial of the farm. I looked at the layout of the area where these trails led to a bedding area. These primary trails I was standing at were to the north of the bedding area. So I figured with a prevailing North and West wind in the fall/winter, I thought that if this area had a scent check trail, it would be completely on the other side of the bedding area, which was about 300 to 400 yards from where I was currently standing where the primary trails went in and out of the bedding area. I was a little reluctant, because this location would put me only about 150 yards from a blacktop road, and a long long long way from any field (at least 1/3rd of a mile, probably more). I figured I had nothing to lose, so i got in the truck and drove around to the road and walked in. Almost like it was planned, I found a clear trail that ran roughly in a SW/NE direction. The trail had some tracks, but wasn't "tore up". But I wasn't expecting much. After I got my bearings about me, I was trying to decide what to do. I didn't want to walk around in there much, being fairly close to the bedding area. I only walked about 50 yards further down the trail and "BAM", a nice 4 inch dia. rub and 3 decent scrapes in a 25 yard stretch. And of course, I can easily setup a little ways off this trail, and any north or west wind would be blowing directly to the blacktop road to to a small stretch of woods that i'm confident not many deer will be using.

I'm not that old, but I would consider myself fairly experienced in this game, and have had success in it. But I can honestly say that taking ten minutes to read that article really taught me something, and as a result I will be hunting a tree that I NEVER would of considered hunting otherwise. Now i might not see a deer from this setup, but I definitely am a better hunter because of it. And I plan on checking a couple of other areas similar to this one before the rut fully kicks in.

I know I wrote alot here, I just hope some people can take something out of it that can help them as much as it did me.

Beechnut
10-05-2011, 09:32 AM
Thanks for sharing 684! Good stuff to consider.

Good luck this season!

outdoorstom
10-05-2011, 09:53 AM
Very good points that were definitely worth reading. Thanks for taking the time write this up.

scrimshaw33
10-05-2011, 11:26 AM
Thanks how about the name of the article/magazine;)