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Nocturnal Bucks

4846 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  aroostookbasser
Anybody got any good tactics for hunting nocturnal bucks? Seems like the first 3/4 of the season while sitting I'm waiting for a buck I generally only see does. That last week though, the bucks are acting just plain goofy. It's a little nerve racking waiting for the last week every year to catch one doing something stupid.
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I would suggest putting a few miles on your boots.
If the buck won't come to you, you have to go to the buck. Still hunting will produce a lot more sightings for you, but you will have to be quick to shoulder your rifle, as your likely going to move your target.
A good tracking snow will tip the scales in your favor, you can pick the track you want to spend time on.
My favorite condisions are a steady light rain. There are a lot less people in the woods, and if you cross a track on bare ground that mashes down to bedrock your in the game.
Thats kind of the strategy I've used. Fresh snow is great but even around my camp up North I may get 3 ideal tracking days a season. I guess the big thing is I've got to start to train my eyes when still-hunting. A standing deer I can pick out just fine. It's the bedded deer that I have a difficult time spotting until they bolt, and then it's a mess trying to spot horns and shoot before they're in the cover.
Go out NOW, and find the bedding areas. Where deer are living now are where they have moved to when the Fall food sources change.
Look for lots of rubs (on trees) in a small area. Then set up just outside that area next November.
Most of my hunting is in the "big woods". I had scouted a spot in the summer and October and spent my first week in my climbing stand on this ancient skidder trail that ran down through a recent selective cut. The interesting thing was that trees along this old skidder trail were left untouched and it was almost like a tunnel through the cutting. At one end there were a lot of rubs and the trail ran into a real thick, swampy area. I figured he was bedding in the thick stuff and working all the does we saw everyday around the easy feed. Late in the season when I came back the does had left (all the raspberry leaves had fallen off, and the clover had wilted) and their was no fresh buck sign around so I abandoned the spot because I knew the bucks were chasing does. Do you recommend watching these trails with the rubs running along them if I think the buck is working the area? My bucks have all come late in the season and most of them no where near a rub or scrape. Usually just an area that I knew had bedding does.
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I have had my best luck with bucks early in the season and I'll tell you how I got most of them.
First, I knew the area well and had a good idea from scouting and past hunting experiences where the big bucks liked to bed down.
Like LJ, I pick my days and I agree with him, a misty rain with heavy air works well. I can smell a deer.
Still hunting - real still hunting! Cover almost no ground in an hours time but I scan the terrain looking for anything that could resemble any part of a deer.
I have shot many bucks just as they got up out of their beds - some so close to me it scared the bejeepers out of me.
Other than that, for those nocturnal bucks, get a BIG flashlight! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Steve, do a bit of walking and find out where they are now. Bucks and Does will bed near each other. Find the rubs, mark it on your TOPO map/GPS. Mark where you find deer in January/February on your map/GPS.

Next Fall, hunt the Bucks bedroom area(s) early and hunt the Doe area(s) late season. Try this occassionally throughout the season between your normal hunting.
Thanks for the tips! Guess I need to start doing my homework now for next season.
Don't forget, I get 15% of the shed antlers you find! heh heh...
Big deer are hard critters to kill........
You need to forget the field deer tactics and think like a swamp buck. Big deer in the north woods don't expose themselves to fields or big cuts. they feed and sleep and mate in cover. Use the does to find the travel the cover areas and wait in ambush. Grunt calls pull bucks and bleats make them curious for does. Use real and false scrapes to time the periods of movement "your" buck is using. Trail Timers are them "to" and "from" to time the movements.
Good rule of thumb for huting bucks is ealry season hunt somehwere between bedding areas and the food source later in the season when they are interested in the girls hunt the does.
SJ, our deer here in Maine have no thumbs so there are no rule of thumbs! *grin*

Our Deer bed in thier food source. They don't have to travelfar if at all. We do have areas where farmers grow food products but not like where you're at. We have big woods and patch woods. In the big woods, bucks could take three to five days to get back around to a scrape. In the patch woods it usually takes two to three days IF they are traveling at all.

I've always wanted to hunt out your way! Beautiful country...
My best deer ever was a nocturnal Moosy-Horn,down in Crystal Station, near Patten. You couldn't get near him stalking.....he'ld snort and scoot before you can even see him in that cedar and Spruce tangle. I found a saddle he had crossed...going from the thick and nasty a two year old cut he was feeding in and tracking does through. That's how I got my shot......that and a scentlock suit and rubber boots.
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