Using terrain features is key on small properties. Knowing how mature bucks are moving will increase your odds of harvesting a mature buck.
By Nathan Unger
Small properties might be some of the most overlooked gems in the deer hunting world. While it’s difficult to keep and sustain mature bucks on the property for any amount of time it can be favorable to pattern them as their passing through.
That being said an ideal parcel will have bedding areas nearby that keep the deer close. Locating these and setting up accordingly could pay big dividends.
Keeping in that in mind, a hunter needs to identify the terrain features that sprinkle the landscape. Okay, so how do we do that?
1.) Scout from an observation stand
You might have to get creative with this one depending on the layout of your property. Take ample time to observe how the deer utilize the contours of the land to get from point A to point B. One of the small parcels I hunt took me nearly three years to figure out how the deer moved throughout it. Now, that might have been one year too long. I didn’t rigorously hunt this property the first year I had permission to hunt.
This leads me to my next point.
2.) Only hunt optimal conditions
I cannot stress this enough. If you hunt too much or when the wind isn’t in your favor it could mess up your whole season. Deer notice when someone is in their bedroom or trekking through their territory. The last thing you want is to force your only one or two mature bucks to go nocturnal or to shift their core areas.
3.) Enable good entrance and exit routes
Entering and exiting your stand is of the utmost importance. I’m still learning this. If you bump deer going into your stand good luck trying to make amends the rest of the season. Even worse if a mature buck sees AND smells your presence you might as well do one of two things. Hunt only the rut or find a different hunting property. Access is that important and might be the difference in a successful or unsuccessful season.
4.) Identify prime treestand sites
Because you’re hunting a small parcel your stand sites are limited. You have to consider the aforementioned access routes and wind tendencies. Placing a stand in the correct spot will change the game on small acreage. Try to get as a high as possible in your set, yet still staying safe. You might have to go up a hill or climb 5 to 10 more feet vertically. This will give you a better chance of getting above any air current that might be swirling where you are hunting.
Here’s the kicker. A majority of the time in order to be successful on small parcels all of these previously mentioned points must be put into action.
Good luck and good hunting!
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