Monday, September 16, 2013

I Scouted the Hell Out of this Land, and All I Got Was a Nest of Seed Ticks

I apologize for the profanity.  Well, no, I don't.  Well, I do, basically.  Half-way.   Well, thank whoever the Patron Saint of Foreseeable Miracles may be, but I finally got written permission to hunt a property that I've been asking to hunt for a few years.  The landowner never said no, but my request never really got anywhere until I built the relationship and was able to bring it up multiple times in a row.   Now, I need to understand how deer actually use this property.   Only way to do that is to spend time there.

So yeah, it's marginally overgrown.  The photo to the left is looking down a 60 foot cliff.  Cons:  not being able to see anything below that canopy of porcelainberry.  Pros:  well defined deer trail on the cliff face.  Tactic:   wait until the leaves fall.

Landowner said that one small herd of deer beds down in the overgrown weeds clearly dominating the right side of this photo.  OH - you don't see the weeds?  That's because two weeks before archery season, the landowner got sick of the weeds and bush hogged them.  The herd freaked out (under the bush hog) and ran off the farm and onto the adjacent county road, causing an accident with a car.  Brilliant.

A long-standing client of the landowner has hunted here for many years and received the "first right" of hunting locations.  That he picked the best spot on the property - a mowed, grassy slope connecting the upper fields to the lower swamp - is no surprise.  That he chose to put a 20' tree stand right on the crown of a 60' slope is a bit of a surprise.  Guess the guy likes shooting long distances, straight down.

Bottom of the deer trail.  Can you see it? Above all, it's great to get outside this time of year.  Even though I walked through several chiggers and one solid nest of seed ticks, resulting in a total 30-40 bites.  The deer are there, and I'm looking forward to cooler weather to go find them.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

What is it with you guys an the massive treestands? In blighty I've not seen one more than 15 feet high and that was mocked as being ridiculous by the guide that took me to it.

PS well done on the the new permission, looks very promising

Kirk Mantay said...

You've got me. Deer almost never look up, which would tell you "I only need my feet to be 6' off the ground," but American hunters are so mortified by the possibility of being smelled by a deer that they are spurned into all kinds of gear-spending to (unsuccessfully) prevent it. One method, I guess, is to place a tree stand in the stratosphere.

On my uncle's place in Western Pennsylvania (I no longer hunt there), the access to the tree stands are along a ridgeline, about a 15' climb up. When the sun rises, you realize that looking down the hill, you are closer to 30-35 feet off the ground!

I prefer to hunt from the ground. At least when I fall asleep and start snoring in the middle of the hunt, I won't wake up to the sensation of my tree harness saving me from a 20' fall...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

From the little I've observed about deer behaviour I get the impression they use their sence of smell to verify the other sences. Do that ring true for you?

Kirk Mantay said...

I try to put most of the deer "science" out of my mind except for scent, concealment, and stillness.

Since they can smell 23 scents at one time, that is the one sense you cannot get around, "scent proof" gear product guarantees notwithstanding.

Andy @ Bow Hunting Maryland said...


Great to hear you were able gain permission to hunt some land. After spending several days out in the woods already this year I can saw the deer can be easy, or very tricky this time of year. The property you are hunting looks promising (at least from the photo's). I hope you are able to get in there and harvest a deer soon.

Sorry to hear about the ticks/chiggers, I had a very similar experience scouting the eastern shore last near. Yuck!

Could you put a trail cam on this property? This would allow you to see what is there and when without you having to spend all the time there. Just an idea.

Good Luck!

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