I had to make a trip to eastern Ohio for work 2 weeks ago. The main purpose of the trip was to check in on 8 research plots that are due for some herbicide work to control invasive shrub species, but I tried to capitalize on the time afield to do a little shed hunting and scouting at the same time. No antlers despite some reasonably hard looking, but was able to scout a couple new areas.
There’s been more and more talk in the online hunting community about hunting buck beds lately, so I’ve made it a habit to look for deer beds every time I bump deer. I must say it’s been a learning experience. My assumption has often been that deer prefer to bed in hidden, secretive locations where they feel safe. While this is sometimes true, deer also frequently bed in really exposed locations, but in places where they have the upper hand (aka, they’ll see or smell you first!). These beds – there were 3 in all – were backed up against some large diameter fallen logs, right on a south-facing slope where sunlight was penetrating through (see end of post), and had been used many many times over and over. A good view of the valley and finger ridges below, the deer were safe from any and all danger.
Oddly enough, it snowed hard for about 10 minutes even though temperatures were hovering around 40 degrees. As the snow was still coming down, I stumbled upon some FRESH turkey sign. Within 3 more minutes, I found them — 63 in all!! — picking their way down a pipeline rights-of-way.
Last time I was at one site, some loggers were loading up the final pieces of their equipment from a recent timber sale. It was a pine stand that they heavily thinned plus a small pocket of hardwoods that they clearcut, somewhere in the 4-5 acre range. What was particularly interesting about the new clearcut was that it nestled into a larger and older (6-8 year range if I had to guess) cutover that was well in regeneration. I located a couple good trees for a couple different winds and have my eye on this spot for this upcoming and year-following fall. It’s the sort of spot that if I can confirm a good buck in the area with trail camera, I am very confident in how to hunt in and around clearcuts. I’d feel great about my chances of killing him.
One last thing, I’ve touted the praise of Caltopo many times before (Link #1, Link #2) but can’t remember if I’ve ever showcased the “Sunlight” feature. For shed hunting or locating the best hillsides for late season winter deer hunting, this tool simply can’t be beat. It’s instant information on where solar radiation should be greatest for the date you input into the tool. Simply put, it tells you quickly where to focus your efforts. I could break this photo down further, but I don’t want to spill all my secrets.