Ripcord Arrow Rests
SE Ohio- hill country- advice needed!
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
DRR324 21-Nov-19
buckeye 21-Nov-19
Rocky D 21-Nov-19
Rocky D 21-Nov-19
LiveOutdoors 21-Nov-19
Trophyhill 21-Nov-19
Rocky D 22-Nov-19
Kevin Dill 22-Nov-19
DRR324 22-Nov-19
Corn bore 22-Nov-19
DRR324 22-Nov-19
GED 22-Nov-19
DRR324 22-Nov-19
GED 22-Nov-19
From: DRR324
21-Nov-19
I'll try to keep this short, but I could write pages about it at this point... Spent another week (Nov 1st- 8th) hunting near Logan, New Straitsville, Carbon Hill area. I'm from Traverse City, MI and this hill country stuff is kicking my butt as far as seeing shooter bucks in daylight. We had been going down the week prior for the last 3 years but pushed back a week for this year hoping to see some cruising action, but it wasn't happening.

I went down in September to scout, hang a few cameras and chat up some farmers looking to get permission. I hung cameras in a river bottom bedding area and one on the first bench down from an oak ridge that runs off to the south and into the river bottom again. My river bottom camera had great action all through Sept/Oct with 2 large 8's, a decent 10 and a beautiful 10 visiting my mock scrape multiple times. The big 8 was on my camera at 9 am the day before we got there. The bench camera only had one of them on it (cameras 200 yards apart) and he was a night visitor on the bottom camera and bench camera. The oak ridge had plenty of acorns and does were using it daily. My bottom camera had the same big 8 and the decent 10 on it every single night for the week were down there. Times were from 10 am to 4 am, both checking the bedding area back and forth from the bottom and then up on the bench cruising or vice versa. I had stands located in the bottom, on the first bench up along the river, the first bench down from the ridge top and one on the very top due to multiple scrapes along the ridge top within 20 yards of each other.

My issue is trying to figure out where they are during daylight hours in such big woods. I'm not going to sit and just hope one comes by. They have to be somewhere- and I need some advice on where I should be looking for them. This particular ridge is connected to another but is cut by a paved road and then heads west out into the river bottom which is private on that side. the ridge runs E/W and my benches are on north side- which worked well for all the south winds that week. The ridge is long and relatively steep- with 4 main draws- none cut too deep to have issues crossing if they really wanted to. Of course all 4 have pockets of picker patches and slashings that serve as bedding.

So- my main questions for you experienced guys in this country- are these bucks running a "circuit" on a nightly basis as they check for the first estrous does? If so- any idea how big this circuit could be in this type of terrain? Or could they be running the same route back and forth- which my cameras lead me to believe a bit- have pics of both bucks coming and going from the same scrape line. Do I expand my search area for them along the upper areas of the ridge, or check the opposite side a few hundred yards over the top? I'm not certain if they are travelling around it or over it (my camera on the top ridge scrapes did not produce any pics in 2 days other than little bucks). I bounced around from stand to stand based on wind, temp (for thermals) etc. I saw 12 bucks during the week- the best was a 100+ 8 point from the bottom stand the first night I hunted when we got there. The others were smaller and sightings occurred on the bench stand sits, and ridge top sits. Now that the trip is over its time to rehash my notes, research my topo and google earth AND ask you guys to help point me in the right direction based on your experience. Thanks for reading my "short" novel...

From: buckeye
21-Nov-19
I have hunted Southern Ohio for over 10 years now and I understand the frustration of not being able to "pattern" these bucks. I have talked with several people that come from Kentucky and Tennessee and they all say the same thing. The big bucks in these parts just don't seem to do the same thing twice. It sounds to me like you did everything right. its just the way it goes sometimes. good luck next time.

From: Rocky D
21-Nov-19
Saddles, benches and greenbrier thickets is where I hunt. The bucks bed typically on points with wind at their back. I am sitting all day everyday! I saw a big shooter that probably bedded on a Northwest point with a Southeastern wind. I will wait until dark in hopes of him coming back this way.

Sit all day and it will pay off. Most do not have the character for this type of hunting. Some days I see three or four and some days none but I have seen four dandies in nineteen days!

From: Rocky D
21-Nov-19
Heads of hollers are also good spots.

From: LiveOutdoors
21-Nov-19

LiveOutdoors's embedded Photo
LiveOutdoors's embedded Photo
I have been hunting in logan for 13 years now. Some guys think im crazy when I say the terrain is very challenging because being from vermont we are supposed to be used to mountains! This was the first year we brought a 4 wheeler down and it opened up another chunk of land that we can get to and hunt. For years i had been watching deer come up out of this bottom but to get back there was just too much of a walk from camp so i never ventured back there. Well now i wish i had because i found a deer haven! Two ridges come together with an oak right to the left. There are three gutters that run up from the bottom with three trails leading from the oak ridge across the top of the gutters. It is a huge pinch point. I later found out that its a buck cruising trail. I only saw one doe use it in five days. I saw multiple buck use this trail. Maybe it was just the pattern this season but I dont believe it. The trail across the top of the gutter is literally beaten into the ridge. Below is a pic of the buck i shot off this spot this season.

For years I was hunting bottoms like you. I had some success but always had to just wait for one to come my way. I always saw the most deer in that spot because you can see multiple ridges but had few deer in bow range. I would recommend scouting the tops of gutters for heavy trails and set up on them.

One other thing i have learned is that I dont hunt the does as many say. I hunt travel corridors that allow bucks to scent check doe bedding areas. I hope this helps.

From: Trophyhill
21-Nov-19
Nice buck LiveOutdoors! Very nice buck!

From: Rocky D
22-Nov-19
Drr, I agree with live to hunt it’s all about the terrain and how these deer navigate through it. Notice above I identified terrain features where the land comes together sans the greenbrier thicket. Trust me when you find a big greenbrier thicket you have found the girls and yes the girls are still of primary concern to these hill country bucks.

Now I primarily hunt public land so in most cases I have to open up new terrain with my legs and intestinal fortitude. If you look at my day 19 thread you will see what my typical morning walk looks like. I actually use it as a workout on my Garmin watch so that it doesn’t look like I had a three week hiatus.

Lastly, your main question do the bucks run circuits? Yes, They do but they can and do come twelve different ways and lots time they don’t start off of those points until last light. I saw one yesterday go out a point and waited all day for him to come back. He did not! In 2012 I was in the same location and situation when he strolled out at 1:48 pm! The main thing was the stage of the rut because he was on the prod and his belly was empty. He scored just a little over 180. I had killed him on day thirteen.

In this country it is very challenging to be successful on a short hunt and the hills will kick your butt. You have to learn to pace yourself to make sure that you are out there on those magical days when the conditions are right. I typically do not kill anything under 150 but I have killed a couple under that because I found pattern-able bucks and they were just good hints. I normally know when I come that it is tag soup but I know what the buckeye state holds and it’s worth the wait!

From: Kevin Dill
22-Nov-19
Lifelong resident of southeast Ohio here.

The terrain here is so varied that each (hunting) area must be considered unique. Bucks don't do the same things from property to property. They adapt to topography, cover, food sources, and doe movements. Of these things, topography changes the least. You can try to apply logic, science.....whatever....and you'll only ever be partially right. I've seen bucks (and doe families for that matter) get on specific movement patterns that hold for weeks and then change. Mature bucks are individuals and their movements often are unique to the specific animal. Still...there are approaches to encountering them. I think the best strategies center around cover and topography.

Big bucks are secretive. I often see them using swales and low ground when in the open...traveling. They have a general knack for bedding in thick cover with a wind advantage. I have never seen a mature buck routinely walk an open or exposed ridge top in daylight. Most of what I see is 'up and over' movement. Bucks here typically defy the stereotypical ideas of walking benches, ridges and cover edges. They do have a tendency to favor small finger ridges or humps leading to and from main ridges and hollows.

Maybe the biggest thing to keep in mind here is this: When you combine all the variables of the irregular terrain here AND the pattern-breakdown which occurs during the rut....the chances of killing a brute are best when he's moving the most. That's no secret at all. The key I think is having a thorough understanding of your terrain, cover and CURRENT deer sign which equates to movement. We've all set up on areas that were blistering hot with sign on Halloween, only be deader than a graveyard on November 15. In the absence of prior experience on a given property, it's extremely tough to kill a big deer using only your reasoned logic. Current sign is proof of current use.

From: DRR324
22-Nov-19
Great buck Joe! Thank you guys, I appreciate your knowledge and hope others will chime in as well. I know the area I have been hunting has the quality of bucks I'm looking for, but I'm always scouring google earth and topo maps looking for "the" spot to kill one. I'm planning a trip down in late March to scout more and then will be down in Sept to hang some cameras again. Our trip next year will be Oct 23rd thru the 30th. I wish it would be 2 weeks later- but with my line of work- I have to be home as it's my "bust balls" time period. I've attached a couple pics, the daylight 8 that showed up at 9am the day before we got there. And the 10 that was a nightly visitor in Sept. The time on my camera is of by 11 hours, it's old but still works....

From: Corn bore
22-Nov-19
Tremendously good advice above and I have never been to Ohio. Start with Kevin’s find CURRENT sign then use the rest to find a great spot.

From: DRR324
22-Nov-19

DRR324's embedded Photo
DRR324's embedded Photo
DRR324's embedded Photo
DRR324's embedded Photo
Apparently my photos are not attaching- try this again.

From: GED
22-Nov-19
I only read to the point where you said you are not going to sit and hope one walks by.

Cameras can be very misleading. They can encourage you to not hunt productive spots and encourage you to hunt places where deer were yesterday.

From: DRR324
22-Nov-19
Gary, I agree with your statement. I don't use the cameras to determine where/when to sit a particular spot. It's a 7 hour drive for me to get down there, so I put the cameras out just to see the caliber of bucks in that area during my September scouting trip. Of course I took a couple more down and had them located in likely transition areas while I hunted. Using them to try and hone in the correct travel routes in such a vast woods/ridge system is the hard part....

From: GED
22-Nov-19
I spent the week traveling from PA - WV - KY - OH - WV - PA and flew back to Boston. It was amazing the deer I saw in every clear cut, saw some big bucks chasing does right along the highway. It was silly.

I am from the land of few deer (MA). I kill most of my deer first time in a spot, and often after observing and making a move.

Where I live deer bed wherever they want, there is no specific bedding area. The best advice I have received and given over the last 10 years is to stay mobile. I hunt several states and love hunting a new place after cyber scouting.

Best of luck.

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