Steve Beckwith - Maine Hunter

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Deer Hunting 101 in Maine - Pressured Deer Tips

Deer are under pressure this time of year from the pounding of hunter traffic in their forest over the first 3-4 weeks of hunting here in New England!  Especially when you are breaking out muzzle loaders for the last two weeks of hunting here in Maine, pressure is at it's peak and deer go very nocturnal!

But here is a little tip that often works well for me. Deer are always heading for thickets, swamp and cover early morning as the sun is rising this time of year, sometimes they move right at a 1/2 hour before sunrise, and sometimes even earlier, and yes..sometimes you get lucky and they drag their feet and move between sunrise and 9 AM, they are feeding in the hardwoods right now on acorns during the night hours, because of hunting pressure, so when hunters start crunching into the woods in the morning this time of year the deer head for the thickets, the thickest stuff known to mankind for the day! Set up in the morning with the wind in your face or at least pushing your scent behind your setup, with open oak feeding areas on your right or left and your back towards the least likely approaching direction! Hang one or two doe estrus scent wicks around your stand about 18 inches off the ground, use a doe grunt call and make very soft doe grunts every 5-10 minutes! You will not only call does and young bucks to this call, but bucks will often show up to check out a vocal doe, so watch the thickets as well as the runs coming from the hardwoods. You can also reverse this setup during the last 2 hours of hunting each day too! 

Bucks will be following close behind and often during muzzle loader season, I call in bucks with that soft doe grunt as they cruise the thickets, wispy saplings or hemlock and swamp bogs they are still listening for does early daylight hours hoping for that last encounter before taking their hiatus to the thickets for the day!They get big for a reason..They know how to hide!

The other key is to get in at least 15 minutes to your set up before legal shooting, 1/2 hour is best, dress warm, and as scent free as you can, use the wind to keep your scent away from a deers nose, use doe estrus on wicks to help disguise your cent and attract bucks, it puts them at ease when they hear a doe grunt and approach quickly when they come in! Staying at this every morning that you can until it all comes together will make you more successful, as this setup is not a guaranty, but it works for me over and over again throughout my life as a still hunter!  

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