The pitfalls of getting lazy

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The pitfalls of getting lazy

Post by DuckHunt » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:47 pm

I've been hunting a small patch (~10 acres) of private land in Northern Virginia for 16 years now and my two kids and I have taken over 100 deer off of it. There have been good seasons and bad, but even the bad ones have turned out decent. Last year was exceptional for buck harvest. This year, I've only seen a deer twice in fourteen hunts and harvested a doe last week. I bring this up because sometimes we get into a pattern of hunting the same area, the same way, from the same stands/spots year after year. While sitting and seeing nothing last Sunday evening, it finally dawned on me. I've been a lazy hunter this year. I just assumed what worked great last season would be fine this season. Sure, I had lower expectations from the start. I actually intended to hunt the entire season with only archery gear and looked forward to harvesting any mature doe that came in range. If a decent buck came along, it would just be icing on the cake.

As I sat there Sunday afternoon looking at the pignut tree next to my stand that was so thoroughly raped by squirrels that it doesn't have a single leaf left on it, I realized something was missing this year. Nuts! My hang-on stand is in an oak tree and typically I spend many days cussing the squirrel that spends most of it pelting me with acorns. I have about eight big oaks within 50 yards of my stand that typically have enough acorns to pull in deer. When I got down from my stand and scouted around, I realized that my ridge has very few acorns this year. My "honey hole" is actually a "sour patch" this season. I've got limited space to hunt, and there just isn't any food to hold deer in that space. The positive about my hunting spot is that I get a lot of transient deer that are just passing through. Well, this season that takes on a whole new meaning. There is no food available to get them to pause for a while. I'm likely to only see deer that are transiting across the property.

If I had done my homework prior to the season, and actually spent some time scouting, I would have noticed the poor acorn crop. It jives with what I have been seeing on my trail cameras. I saw plenty of deer until June, then it has been almost a ghost town since then. I go days without a single photo on four cameras. Had I known up front the poor conditions, I would have focused my hunting time elsewhere instead of spending time waiting for a once-a-week deer to stroll by.

Lesson learned.
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Re: The pitfalls of getting lazy

Post by flightattendant100 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:53 pm

Oak trees in my area have ZERO acorns this year. That usually means feeders will really produce. Well on Corp of Engineer land feeders are a no-no. You can scatter feed, but no feeder. They are killing the feed I have packed in, but NO daylight sightings. Has been really frustrating.

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Re: The pitfalls of getting lazy

Post by longbow joe » Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:11 pm

No acorns at all here.
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Re: The pitfalls of getting lazy

Post by Stab 'em » Sat Oct 24, 2020 7:44 pm

You should plants a half dozen chestnut trees in that area. The deer love them, and will go to them before the acorns even. It will take five years to produce a crop, but in ten years time every deer in the country will be there eating them when they are falling.

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Re: The pitfalls of getting lazy

Post by Cardinalsfanforever » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:15 pm

Well, Mr. Duckhunt, I've realized the same thing today. not seeing the deer that I have in the past on cameras, but it's not heavy rut yet. usually got some scrapes around, but none yet.same doe and young'un hitting one camera twice a day. a couple small bucks, but no real sign. We put a quad pod on one spot that was hot last 3 years, but nothing yet. But there was a buck rub about 5 ft. from it on trail. nothing more tho, anywhere. usually got about 6=10 scrapes around by now. can't find one.I have 20 acres of timber and we live in the middle, have seen a doe and fawn a lot all summer around the yard but nothing else. Hoping it picks up.
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