I need some help guys...


December 21, 2008, 08:19 PM
Hey guys,

I have been hunting all year on about 70 acres in East Tennessee (Appalachian Mountains). The terrian is rugged woods on the side of a mountain, starts at 3,200 feet elevation and climbs to 4,000 feet. I have hunted buck signs with no luck, I've seen does just about every time I go out, and the closest thing I've seen was a drag line in the snow where someone dragged a buck out all the way at the top of the ridge from among some thick mountain laurels. The does tend to travel from side to side about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the mountain. The only food and water is all the way at the bottom of either side of the mountain (which I do not have permission to hunt), so everything will be in the "traveling" moves. Of course, the does bed down on a few places on this mountainside, but I think it's too close to the main road, as I've not seen buck signs that low on the ridge.

WHAT SHOULD I DO? Evening vs. morning? I'll be out in the woods early again tomorrow before sunrise and it's gonna be about 8 degrees with a 12mph wind, pretty clear with some clouds. A big cold front moved through today. Whatda think? Should I go high? Stay halfway down? Setup in my usual places where I see does? It seems like the rut hit very late this year in East Tennessee, I saw a 4 pointer about 2 miles away chasing a doe while driving in early one morning last week.

PLEASE help me figure this out!

Thanks in advance!

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December 21, 2008, 08:43 PM
If you think that rut hit late I would stick to where you are seeing the does. Even if rut is over one of the does could come into esterus later than the others. Saw bucks chasing does here in TX in late Oct. So I was convinced it was completely over until I saw a nice 8 chasing a doe today about 11am with a spike right behind him. So I think stick to the does. Unfortunately they were just out of my effective bow range. Good luck though.

December 21, 2008, 09:26 PM
With this cold front I would bet on the deer spending the night high and in thick stuff. That's because the coldest air will be settled into the valleys and it will be a LOT colder there.

Heavy wind puts deer down even more than rains. I would expect them to be in the thickest stuff they can find as protection from the wind. I would also expect them to not move at all until well into the late morning. You'll have to practically kick them to get them moving at daylight. Read: Go ahead and sleep in.

I doubt they will will move for long during the day and they won't move far. So my choice would be to locate some place where it is likely they could have spent the night and then stand or stalk around the outskirts of it for a few hours in the middle of the day - say 10:30am - 3pm.

Good places to look will be on the lee side of the nights' winds and, even better on the lee slopes of saddles. Hunt down diagonally into the saddles from the most protected end to the most exposed (which will be generally into the wind).

That would be my approach anyway.

Good Luck !!

P.S. I'm located in the very western tip of Appalachia - along the Ohio river just above Maysville, Kentucky. 5 degrees here, 35mph wind, chill factor is -18 Supposed to get cold after midnight.

December 21, 2008, 09:40 PM
Uhhh, I think I'd be hunting some different places!!!! 70 acres ain't much to cover, and if I hadn't either succeded or at least found strong evidence of a buck or two, I'd be moving on after the 2nd day for sure! You suggest that you aren't seeing any indication of a buck, and you indicated that someone else had hunted there. On 70 acres, that's pretty crowded! Find a new area, preferably a little bigger--like 10 times bigger at least!

December 22, 2008, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the help guys.

Well, I went into the woods at 9:00 and it was still only 5 degrees! I made my way ALL the way to the top of the mountain, and there was nothing happen, nor had there been anything happening for the last two days.

Good News - there had been signs of a BIG one earlier in the season. I hadnt seen any sign for a while and thought that he might have been killed. However, I saw his big tracks today high on the ridge! Lucky me.

The high was only 14 degrees today - very cold for TN. I basically spent the day scouting since nothing was moving.

I asked my old hunting buddy, who owns the property, what he thought. He said when it's cold like this they stay low in thickets and laurels, often near the creek that runs through the valley. I hope tomorrow will be warmer.

Thanks for the tips guys. I hope this might help someone someday.

December 22, 2008, 08:58 PM

Good Luck Tomorrow !!!


December 23, 2008, 08:16 AM
If you have a hillside that faces south you may find them there in the morning. They like the sun when it's that cold.

bobby n.
December 23, 2008, 07:40 PM
bake a few hard apples and place themnear a deer trail, mush one up against a tree and get down wind of it. then start silently chanting come on big buck come on big buck. iknow it sounds silly, but my nephew did it a week ago and he dropped a 8 pointer less than ten minutes after he did this... sometimes it works i figger

December 24, 2008, 03:34 PM
Now that you've seen the tracks, it might be a good time to hunker down on his trail somewhere and wait for him. Some tasties would make him all the more likely to pop out into view.

December 25, 2008, 01:16 AM
well here in central mississippi, it's a crap shoot once the rut hits....but i would stick to wherever the does are cause eventually you could get lucky. good luck

December 25, 2008, 02:19 PM
Uhhh, boys, I believe those apples would be termed as baiting. Unless you have some special rule, highly illegal!

December 25, 2008, 10:22 PM
Thanks for all of your helps fellas.

I have an update. My hunting buddy was out today and saw tracks for a different buck. He was following does slowly, not too high up the mountainside.

Tomorrow morning it's supposed to be light rain. You reckon I should be where the does are for the buck my buddy saw, or should I go high up on top and look for the bigger one, where the does might not be?

Whatcha think?

BTW - THANKS AGAIN for contributing to my hunt!

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