Tips for hill country hunting?Contributors to this thread:
Kevin Dill 24-Aug-17
I am headed down to hunt Wayne Forest near Shawnee, New Straitsville (east of Logan). My brother and our 2 sons are staying near Carbon Hill and hunting the surrounding area. We are from northern MI and looking forward to spending a week hanging in trees with our sons in your hill country. He was down last year and has an area already picked out to focus on. I am pouring over google earth/topo maps and reading all I can about hill country tactics, trying to narrow my search area to focus on. I enjoy reading all the success stories and Kelly's wild adventures, was hoping to glean a little knowledge from those willing to share any tips that a flat land hunter wouldn't know. We are coming down for the first week of November. I plan to focus on saddle areas and longer ridge lines. A good buddy said to focus more on the first travel ridge below the top as his group (25+ years hunting Lawrence county) have had better success on these ridge lines than the tops. I don't see much (if any farm land) so I plan look for oaks with mast as well. How is the mast crop looking down that way? These are just a few of scouting tips I am checking on. If anyone would like to add their thoughts, (or PM with advice) it would be greatly appreciated. I have recently moved farther up north and trying to finish building my new home and knock out a pole barn before season starts, no way I can make a "boots on the ground" scouting trip. Thanks for reading, Dave
If you are hunting the rut I would focus on travel corridors......generally any bench (sounds like what you are describing), saddle, head of steep hollow, or intersecting ridges will be productive......also pretty important to track down some good food and bedding if you can.....which isn't always easy in big woods.
I moved from flat land in WI to hills in OH. It took awhile for me to understand just how important it is to play the thermals. If the thermals and the wind are not the same it can be to unstable to hunt. I now try to mostly hunt the west side of a drainage with an east wind and vice versa. I mostly plan to hunt a rising thermal but pick locations where a falling thermal in the morning and afternoon will not hurt me. I have some stands that only work for a falling thermal in the evening and a lot of the days the thermals do not go consistently down until an hour or less before dark which makes it tough to get in and hunt. I watch for an afternoon where a front or something drops the temperature early to hunt these stands.
When hunting the Hills remember deer are huge energy conservers.
They take the easiest routes they can. Saddles and benches
The bucks should be bedded on points just down over the leeward side of the ridge. That way they can smell below them from the thermals rising and above them from the wind coming over the ridge, where the thermals and the wind that tumbles over the ridge meet should be where all the action takes place, look for the tops of washouts those funnel deer past them quite well and as mentioned saddles and benches are good, look for a food source close to those points in early season to catch a buck close to his bedding for fit hunting use the saddled benches and tops of washouts, the bucks should do most of their daylight movement at around the same elevation roughly a 1/3 down from the top of a ridge
From: Kevin Dill
I have a Michigan friend who has had great success hunting deer in the Ohio hills for many years. His main focus is always "edges". I'm not necessarily talking about field edges. Think about areas of cover or tree transition inside the woods. The edge of a briar patch surrounded by timber. Old property borders with different cover producing an edge effect. Edge of a ridge. Edge of a ravine. Field edges, though not always hunting right on the actual edge...but back inside about 30-50 yards. Fencerows are edges. Deer travel edges when they encounter them. He has killed dozens of deer with his recurve and some superb bucks.
Thanks guys, I appreciate the replies. Confirming my beliefs and narrowing my topo searches! How is the mast crop looking this year? Acorns going to be present?
Stay high, most of the sign you see down low is made during nighttime hours. Hunt trails that are just off the top of the ridges, about 1/4 way from the top of the hill. Hunt the benches.
Find a greenbrier thicket and hunt does and the bucks will show up. Do not run the roads try a bunch of different spots if you do not see a lot of deer. Numbers are relatively if you see three deer in a day then that is a good day. Hunt all day every day in the big woods bucks will move at any given time plus the full moon is on the 4th so expect to see greater mid day movement especially 4-6.
I truly appreciate the replies. I've got my search zones dialed in a bit and will be targeting 2 spots for boot scouting. I'm not a big fan of run and gun, I like to pick apart little pieces if the sign is present. keep em coming.... thanks
I'm starting to hear about a lot of dead deer showing up in SE Ohio due to EHD
As said above hunt the benches and saddles. Also, a lot of drainages will have a cave at one end. These are funnels as the deer would rather walk around the end than go to the bottom and back up the other side.