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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents/Ladies,

I have a spot that I've hunted for the past 5 years that is great during October and November, but after that, the bucks disappear. There is plenty of food, plenty of cover, plenty of deer, water, etc.... It is as if the bucks check out and are never to be seen again after the first rut.

Do you think it is hunting pressure or something else that pushes them into seclusion after the first rut? The does are still there, but the bucks litterally vanish, not to be seen even driving down the roads at night or spotting with a scope from far away. I scout during the snow and still find little sign/activity of big bucks during Dec/Jan. They reappear inl Feb/March after they've lost their racks. And no, they aren't does mistaken for bucks either. :)

Thoughts?
 

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what i try and do is hunt rub lines during pre rut. find the does during the rut. you find the does you find the bucks. post rut i go back to rub lines because usually bucks go back to normal travel routes after the rut. this works for me.
don
 

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The deer you are describing are being consistent with their behavior for the last five years. They are doing something. You are the hunter and you can figure out what is going on. It may be food source changing, it may be hunting pressure causing higher night-time activity. There is a change going on. Are other hunters in the area having the same experience?
 

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Without being there and being allowed to scout my first guess would be hunting pressure......the bucks are holding very tight unless flushed out.
 

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Try a game camera

Try a game camera to find out just what the are doing. It can stamp the date and time on the pictures it takes.
Lane
 

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i would have to agree with arkie and say its probably the changing food source.i seen this where i hunt also.early fall when the fields are still green and the acorns are still dropping,the deer seem to stay on the ridgelines where they are close to the fields and the tall oaks.after post-rut i noticed that they move from the tops and hang out in the creek bottoms where the vegetation is alot thicker, and there is a little less pressure. good luck to all!!!!!!
 

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you said the bucks seem to disappear after the first rut.they might be bedded up in the thick stuff close to a good food source and resting for a couple of weeks.after all the activity of the rut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Follow-up post....

The last two years, I've been all over the feeding area in late season. In fact, on many hunts I've counted over 15 deer out in the field feeding at one time, with a few button bucks, but none of the bucks I'm hunting for ever show. The does are always there, their routs easily tracked/hunted over, and predictable. However, the "big boys" simply dissapear. I did score a respectable buck in 1999 on Dec 19th (second rut) that was passing through after freshening a scrape, but he was the last big buck I've had under my stand in Dec/Jan.

I tried some different late season tactics last year and moved stand locations a lot to see if I could mix it up in the late season. Still no success in even seeing a bruiser and the conditions were right for them to be out feeding with the harsh winter we had.

I will tell you that I'm limited to the area I can hunt and have to access the area from the front of the property as the rest of the land is no hunting/trespassing. I do bump deer occasionally as I walk to my stand. In early season it doesn't affect the buck traffic, in fact, during pre-rut/rut, it actually draws bucks to my stand area out of curiousity. I missed a bruiser last year because my bow was still hanging on my bow rope when he came through to see what was causing all of the activity. I did see him a couple of more times last year, but again.... after the rut, I never saw him again. :(

I'm thinking it is a hunting pressure issue that is only affecting the bucks.... food is everywhere and the does are everywhere all the time. however, the bucks become scarce in December.

Thoughts?
 
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