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Baiting Mature Bucks.

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I'll begin by saying I don't believe anyone can have this down to a science. This is after all an animal that possesses a sense of self-preservation honed over hundreds of thousands of years. No matter how finely tuned that sense is however, it can always be exploited. I've managed to witness this flaw exploited with consistency on a yearly basis, and have intimate knowledge of 8 mature bucks ranging from 130 - 185 who fell to this method. A few years ago I shot a respectable 131 inch 7 point (mainframe 8 with a missing G1) not 30 minutes after arriving on stand on my second hunt of the year.

Availability.
You first need to have a mature buck available, and you need him to call your hunting area home. Very rarely, if ever, will you force a roaming buck to suddenly up and change his core area because you dumped some bait.

Control.
You need to have the ability to control traffic to this area. If you share the property with 10 other jackwagons who throw caution to the wind; you're fighting a losing battle. If you can locate a secluded portion of the property they never venture to however, you may still be in business. Control is the most critical element to this entire thing.

Access.
You need the ability to access the area preferably with a motorized vehicle such as a quad or side by side. Besides the obvious ease of delivery, the noise plays a critical role that you'll see later.

Location.
You need the bait location to be within close proximity or even inside thick cover. A hundred yards away from cover out in mature timber is not a good spot. The edge of a field is another nogo. Both of those require the buck to expose himself which is something we all know they detest doing. Get that bait into an area where he feels safe visiting prior to dark, and feels that he can easily make an escape if need be. Place the bait so that the setting sun is not directly behind you when you're on the stand. Ideally, this is also going to be relatively close to his core bedding area. Far enough away where he feels comfortable staying put when he hears a quad approach, but close enough that he can easily make it to the bait before the end of legal shooting light.

Consistency.
I can't stress this one enough. Be consistent. Load the bait on the quad and drive to your spot. Leave the quad running when you get off to dump your bait. Dump the bait, swap cards, then hop on the quad and leave. Putt along at a leisurely pace in and out and do it the same every single time. Do this three hours before dark once or twice a week. The once or twice a week will be dependent on consumption of the pile. If you have a lot of deer and coons you may want to start at twice a week; even if at first you still have bait on that second visit. Don't get hung up on the clock, deer can't tell time, but they can always tell how long it is before sunset. Before season this may be around 6pm, as season approaches, and before the time change, it may be closer to 4pm. Deer don't have calendars and don't understand days of the week, but they very much understand timeframes and days between events. Wednesday and Saturday, or Thursday and Sunday are good times. One of these days should be a day you are more likely to hunt.

There is Method In Your Madness.
What you're attempting to do is social conditioning. You're using a bucks method of self-preservation against him. His natural instinct is to identify and pattern danger while maximizing his opportunity. He will lay in his daytime bed and listen to you arrive on your quad, he will hear you stop, and he will listen to you leave. He will hear this with consistency at the same time of the day (three hours before sunset), around the same timeframe (every 3 to 7 days). He will figure out that you are dumping food that he can use for himself on a consistent basis. He has no concept that the food is for him, but his natural instinct will be to utilize that food to his advantage. He will begin to feel confident that he listened to the danger arrive and leave, and that he can slip over there before dark and remain in cover to grab a quick bite. You will begin to notice a pattern emerge on camera, pay attention to it. What you're doing is feeding him a narrative and conditioning him to believe he has you down pat.

The Time Has Come.
Within the first three weeks of season or so there is always a short-lived and mild cold snap. It may not be huge or longlived, but there is always a shift in seasonal weather around this time. The day or so before it arrives is the time to strike. Have someone assist with dropping you off three hours before sunset like every time before. Take a bag of bait and drive to your stand on your quad; explain to them the need to leave at the same pace you drove in at. When you arrive at your stand do just as you have done so many times before, stop the quad and leave it running. With your buddy still on the quad dump the bait and climb up in your stand. Once you're up and locked in motion for the person to drive off. It's imperative that you take bait. I have never seen a deer that didn't stop to look over a bait pile before committing. You do not want him to arrive and notice that new bait hasn't been delivered. Since this is abnormal to every time before, he will get skittish and may not commit. He thinks he has you patterned down to a T and his visit is as safe as it always has been. You've conditioned him to believe this to his core. What he has no way of accounting for is that this time you didn't leave.


Massive Don'ts
Do not ever hunt this spot in the morning. Even if your cams show him arriving after daylight. While it will be tempting to think you can sneak in, the reality is you have no idea where that buck is in those woods at that time. I can almost guarantee that before daylight when you walk in he is not in his daylight bed yet. The odds of him hearing or smelling you is too great and it will destroy every bit of conditioning you've done.

Don't get in a hurry and tear ass back there to dump bait or leave. This variation causes doubt in his mind of his ability to pattern you.

It's better to miss a day than go a day late. While both are variations, showing up unexpected is worse than not showing up when expected. The pizza guy randomly barging in your house to deliver a pizza that you weren't expecting is far more surprising than the pizza guy not showing up when you did expect him.
 
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Comments

Chass

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900 acres? The struggle is real, just not for you.

Y’all scout this early? No need to scout, put mineral stations out w a cam and get all the intel you need as for inventory.

If your hunting public it’s either where the funnels are, transitions, escape routes, bedding areas, feed trees or what is planted on private bordering it. Easy Peasy.
Nope no scouting just yet. Actually just pulled the Turkey cam. I'll start putting cams out here in a month or so, not worth fighting the ticks and chiggers checking them.
 

hickslawns

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My apologies. Not trying to start any feuds. I forgot what this thread is all about. It is specifically for this method whether one applies/agrees with these methods or not. I'll politely decline from anymore posts and do what works for me. Some guys enjoy trail cameras. Some don't. Some guys enjoy road scouting. Some don't. Some bait. Some don't. No judgement here. I don't care what you do so long as it is legal and ethical. Just not my thing.
 

Jackalope

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My apologies. Not trying to start any feuds. I forgot what this thread is all about. It is specifically for this method whether one applies/agrees with these methods or not. I'll politely decline from anymore posts and do what works for me. Some guys enjoy trail cameras. Some don't. Some guys enjoy road scouting. Some don't. Some bait. Some don't. No judgement here. I don't care what you do so long as it is legal and ethical. Just not my thing.
Just make sure when road scouting that it isn't over anything that baited them there like standing beans or other food. ;)
 
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TripleA88

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So it begins, the battle of intrusion. About twice a week i get pictures of my buddies UTV or pit bike rippin passed my camera in the evenings. I cant get away from it. So ill play into it, ill start riding back solo myself a few evenings a week until we get closer to season.
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The bucks are starting to leave the bean fields around here. I guess its time..
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TripleA88

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Off subject but I may also add since my bait buck got divulged in a venison buffet before i found him last year, i did my duty this past winter going to war on coyotes. I spent more time on them than deer hunting itself in 2018-19 , and now im addicted...

I just hope im not frowned upon for my practices, i do it and see it as deer management and a simple calculation of the deer herd and whats for the taking. Precision. As well with countering the constant human intrusion to give myself oppurtunity. A Bait pile with a camera can show whats there easily, or a bean/hay field, or a water source, or an oak flat or an apple tree with binoculars of course. But cameras and corn are more effective lol. And if given the oppurtunity, ill hunt over it. In 2015 and 2018, i shot a 162 and a 163 opening day but soon as ruts over, corn goes back out to see how what survived and how they did.

During the winter, post gun, a corn pile and a cam, one can find out how the deer did in the area through the brutality of deer season as most hunters threw up the white flag, at least here locally. Thats why I shoot for a mature buck and allow others to grow and procreate assuming the neighbors play along, they generally dont but to each their own. Our deer numbers here have been low compared to when i first started hunting in 2003. I havent shot a doe since 2011, and i can say our local numbers have rebounded enough that i would be comfortable enough to shoot one. Perhaps because more people managing, passing deer, the desire to shoot bigger horns, more people taking hits on yotes, ODNR tag changes or season changes, IDK?Sometimes i think the mid 2000s or that decade was a huge deer hunting fad, deer numbers faded along with hunters?

Again coyotes...
I see alot of guys here locally hunt their ass off for deer then they fade off after gun season. Id say 80% of them dont play hell on coyotes but theyll always talk about how they destruct their turkey and fawn numbers around here. Thats just me getting insight from the locals here, one being Joes uncle in law, Ralph, which Joe can attest, that dude puts a hammer down on 60+ yotes a year on multiple properties.

Another note, USA Foxx and Furr conjured up 2 head dresses and a teddy bear for me. I sent in 3 of the 7 i caught with Joes help in one funnel we set up. You bet your ass the next deer i kill will be me wearing that coyote! lol
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