Finding sign but no deer...

Discussion in 'Maine Deer Hunting' started by theicewall, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. So being very new to this, there's a ton a variables.

    I'm living in Lyman and hunting there as well. I live on 12 acres of woods which is adjacent to a pond. I've also tried a land preserve which permits hunting. I can find fresh tracks and sometimes fresh scat. I haven't seen much in the way of scrapes or rubs but there are a few 4' tall pine trees that all had several gashes in them. I know for a fact a doe and fawn live on my property. I've been out 5 full days this season (work limits me).

    I'm wearing multiple layers on scent control camo. Combination of realtree and cabelas woodland. I'm using scent free body wash and scent free deodorant. I have rubber boots. I've taken 5yrs of ninjutsu, 15yrs of shorin-ryu and go-ju, and 4 yrs of brazilian jiujitsu so I can be quiet... (no I'm not hunting by hand). A squirrel crashed into my leg and a small bird landed on my head the other day.

    I prefer not to stand hunt... I can't sit in a tree for hours but am picking locations such as natural blinds and/or bluffs overlooking low lands with water sources or climbing down into the downwind side of marsh/swamp land. All of my opportunity for hunting has been within Big Woods as I don't have great access to crop fields or other private owned food plots. I'm dragging doe-urine behind me as I go for good measure (which has gotten the attention of several dogs walking along hiking trails at least)

    .... Is it normal to see a whole bunch of sign and know deer have been migrating through an area with regularity but just never see deer? Are there so few deer per acre within these wooded areas that you just never see them? Is it too densely wooded and I'm just not seeing them because they're 100 yrds away? Does it seem like I'm just picking poor locations? While I understand the advantages of tree stands (mainly reducing your scent and visibility while changing your shot angle) I would think that still hunting or using natural blinds and features of the land would be viable.

    Anyone wish to put in their 0.02 cents? Would be appreciated.
  2. Spot n stalk is quite hard around here. The deer move at weird hours in our neck of the woods. You're probably seeing the sign from them moving the night before or early morning heading back to their bedding areas. I'm seeing the most deer action around 11pm and 1am feeding out in the fields and orchards.

    As for using doe urine...historically peak rut around here is second and third week of November; (at least it has been for the past 3 years) that being said, we had a wicked nasty winter this year so some of the biologists are calling for a later rut. That may be why you are seeing few to no scrapes.

    Best bow hunting is early season (expanded archery) when the deer are less pressured and late season when there are less hunters out in the cold and snow. As it is now you are smack in the middle or regular bow season and gun season is about to open. Every yahoo from here to kingdom come has been in the woods. Just this weekend I had to run off some random guy hanging not 1 but 3 stands on my parents 6 acres.

    Keep with it. And if you feel like you need some more info or help or anything just message me personally, I live just up the road from Lyman, born n raised in these parts, I know the woods quite well around here.

  3. Thank you. I'll keep at it and let you know if I have any other questions or perhaps want to do a little apprenticeship.
  4. The best advice is to be patient! Find the does and wait for the bucks, they will find you! I'd also suggest NOT to walk around, putting scent through out your hunting area may create a problem for you. Most successful deer hunters do not stalk, they sit and are patient. While there are some that are successful tracking on snow you'll find that they are far and fewer than believed. Get yourself a 20" ladder stand or good climber, learn the woods , and be patient.
    aroostookbasser likes this.
  5. Using a drag with urine on it is a good idea but the odds of laying down some stray human odor increase the further you pull the drag. I usually save that technique for when I'm near my stand.

    I like rainy days for scouting. Sign shows up well and your scent gets washed away almost as soon as you put it down. Locate some good sign...falling acorns with lots of fresh tracks and droppings and then find a way to get back in there in the next day or two without disturbing the area.

    Getting in there undetected is the most important thing you can do. IMO, you're already at a disadvantage by not using a treestand but I have shot deer while hunting from the ground. It can be done but I almost always use a stand.

    Locate sign, find the most direct and unobtrusive entrance to it, play the wind and sit still. You'll see deer.

    BTW, I hunted the Massabesic Experimental Forest in Waterboro quite extensively for years. There were always good numbers of deer in there (some big ones too!) with good access and plenty of room to roam.
    aroostookbasser likes this.
  6. Thanks all for the tips. Hopefully I'll see something today. Quiet so far. At least I have a book.
    swnoel likes this.