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Nocturnal deer #7632036 10/14/19 12:29 PM
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Mike Mathena Offline OP
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I'm in need of advice/ confirmation.
I'm on 115 acre planted pine stand just outside of Crockett, it's very thick with undergrowth, it has 2 seasonal creeks and 1 that always holds water and they all have hardwoods in them The properties around ours are pretty much natural.
My issue is we only get a couple of pics of deer in the daytime, i know they are using our lease for a bedding area, it seems they head out before dawn and come back after dusk.
How do you hunt deer that are moving on/ off of your property mostly during the dark?
We have come to the conclusion that we need to hunt our property lines and catch em coming in and out. Hunting the prop lines is not our favorite thing to do but.....

After 2 years i feel like I'm just waiting for one to slip up and sleep late.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632055 10/14/19 12:51 PM
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They sleep there because it is well protected. They leave it because it doesn't have a lot of food for them. It would be helpful if you had some open areas (which comes with edge-zones) or set up regular daylight feeding for them. You need edge-zones, which is why you are feeling like you need to hunting the property lines because that is a transitional area that deer frequent.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632076 10/14/19 01:04 PM
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I agree with those who claim the oldest bucks go completely nocturnal and eventually die of old age. After all, they never get old being stupid. Still, I agree with the earlier post in that deer are likely using the area as their "safe zone".

I too have a small tract in that same area that I'll be hunting for the first time this season and it too has an area that deer use as a bedding area. It's very thick and grown up but does have a small stream running through it that offers them a drink without having to move very far to find it.

Because the landowner doesn't want me to run a feeder, which doesn't bother me since I prefer the greater challenge, my approach has been to identify the routes that deer are taking to and from the bedding area and step up by blinds or stands near them. The key to this is looking at a satellite view of the area to see how it transitions into the cover that exists on adjacent properties. For example, I was quickly able to confirm the existence of two heavily used trails that run from two different pinch points near the edge of the property. There is also a small pond nestled back in the woods that's also near one of these trails, making it an obvious magnet for deer and hog activity. All my scouting efforts, much of what was done from my laptop and internet connection, was later confirmed with game camera photos and a few walks through the woods.

Good luck.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/14/19 01:07 PM.

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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Double Naught Spy] #7632091 10/14/19 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
They sleep there because it is well protected. They leave it because it doesn't have a lot of food for them. It would be helpful if you had some open areas (which comes with edge-zones) or set up regular daylight feeding for them. You need edge-zones, which is why you are feeling like you need to hunting the property lines because that is a transitional area that deer frequent.


^^^^

Agreed. Going only by the description of the land....it sounds as if the OP is hunting a bedding area. Pretty much a recipe for disaster if he is not careful. 115 acres is not a lot of land to hunt and once you bust deer out of their bedding spots (the ONE place they feel secure) you've screwed the pooch.

Depending upon how old the Planted Pines are...the area might still be useful. The 'undergrowth' suggests that the pines are not yet very old and much of that Flora can also be a food source for the deer. As planted pine plantations mature..the over-story chokes out the sunlight and the area underneath them becomes nothing more than a pine needle desert...which is less attractive to deer except to serve as a shelter from rain and wind in the cooler months.

Having hardwoods along a creek/branch is good thing...but unless those trees are White Oak or Red Oak the mast crop produced won't be much of a attractant. If you have only Water Oaks....those acorns are largely passed over by deer in favor of better mast.

Deer like 'edge cover'...so if there is any of that, that is where I would set up some cameras.

Late pre-rut and during the rut...bucks will be moving through all types of terrain...but obviously harder to see in a pine thicket. Post rut they will be on food sources and by then the undergrowth will have little to offer them.

My least favorite places to hunt Deep East Texas are Mid-Growth planted pines and clear cuts that are over 4-5 years old. It's just so limiting.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632122 10/14/19 01:48 PM
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He doesn't want you running a feeder, so I would just pour 25lb of corn on the ground on Friday night. It will attract deer all weekend and be gone by Monday morning. Then I would do it again the next weekend.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632178 10/14/19 02:40 PM
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scratch Had my feeders & food plots down by creek... find were deer are crossing. Put in food plot, doing as little change ta area as possible, walk behind tiller go around trees, deer feel more comfertable... Set time feeder for half hour b4 & after, sounding food dinner bell... i like ta keep it simple, as little change as possible...
deer & deer2 They will come... banana2 hogs follow the creeks, so bwere...
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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632315 10/14/19 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Mathena
After 2 years i feel like I'm just waiting for one to slip up...


I think that's what we're all doing.

I shot my first buck last year where I had poured a bag of corn out the night before close to the edge of my arena. That includes having a hog pen with corn (raised panels to keep the cows out and let hogs in, low enough for Deer to jump in) and a deer pen with protein and corn. I watched him and a hog munching away before legal sunup with my thermal. When I could see well enough with my Remy 700 in my tagline, I sent a round on the way.

Big bucks are shot at noon sometimes too, but how many guys are patient enough to sit all day? That's why the lord invented iPads and cell signals. smile

Good luck!


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632332 10/14/19 05:19 PM
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I would focus on the creek with the water and hardwoods. If they have desirable acorns especially.......if not this is the likely travel route. I would hang cameras on each side of the creek facing it to determine what direction they come when.......on property this small how you enter and exit is extremely important......


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632342 10/14/19 05:26 PM
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My personal opinion is there is no such thing as a totally nocturnal deer. You just have to get in his bedroom. Mature bucks simply don't move out of their comfort zone until dark (excluding the rut) So if you want to kill one. Get in his comfort zone. You aren't going to kill a mature bucks at a feeder in East Texas. There are rare exemptions but not many. If you think bucks are bedding on your lease get the wind right and get within 100 yards of said bed a couple hours before dark. Keep rotating the bedding areas on your lease until it happens. Lots of good YouTube videos on this. Check out the hunting beast or the hunting public.

Last edited by ducknbass; 10/14/19 05:26 PM.
Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632616 10/14/19 11:13 PM
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Every year my cams show some really impressive deer at the feeders. Mostly nocturnal. Once the rut starts, they seem to go elsewhere. About every other year one of the grandkids get a 130 class but the really big ones are never seen in the daytime.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632651 10/14/19 11:37 PM
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Yep the really big ones pass through at night and never seen again.

Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632980 10/15/19 12:37 PM
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Thanks for the responses, y'all confirmed what we were thinking. The pine stand is young, 15yrs or so, it has not been cleared/ thinned yet. There are a few spots that are open, with less underbrush and trees that are a few square yards to a little over 1/2 an acre, still not enough sun to start a food plot. After hunting season we are going to clear lanes between tree rows so we can have some 4 way intersections to hunt. I will say, the bigger trails we came across and cleaned up have more signs of activity than when we found them. There are several multi acre areas we cant get in and have left alone, we have not disturbed about 70% of the property, it's just to thick for 2 guys on foot with machetes,
We know we have a sanctuary type situation and try hard not to disturb or be too invasive. We have a clear fire lane along one side and a powerline easement that runs through the front, the other 2 sides have not been maintained(another after season project). Last year we had 4 feeders this year we only have 2 that are there mostly for hogs, the mature bucks don't come to the feeders, only young deer, does and a bunch of hogs.

Thanks for the input, last year we just hunted, this year we had a plan, now we have a strategy for next year.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7632988 10/15/19 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Mathena
Thanks for the responses, y'all confirmed what we were thinking. The pine stand is young, 15yrs or so, it has not been cleared/ thinned yet. There are a few spots that are open, with less underbrush and trees that are a few square yards to a little over 1/2 an acre, still not enough sun to start a food plot. After hunting season we are going to clear lanes between tree rows so we can have some 4 way intersections to hunt. I will say, the bigger trails we came across and cleaned up have more signs of activity than when we found them. There are several multi acre areas we cant get in and have left alone, we have not disturbed about 70% of the property, it's just to thick for 2 guys on foot with machetes,
We know we have a sanctuary type situation and try hard not to disturb or be too invasive. We have a clear fire lane along one side and a powerline easement that runs through the front, the other 2 sides have not been maintained(another after season project). Last year we had 4 feeders this year we only have 2 that are there mostly for hogs, the mature bucks don't come to the feeders, only young deer, does and a bunch of hogs.

Thanks for the input, last year we just hunted, this year we had a plan, now we have a strategy for next year.


Yes, keeping safe zones safe for deer is one of the most important rules when it comes to managing a property for successful deer hunting. Throw up a feeder too close to where an old buck likes to bed and he'll be looking for a new neighborhood rather quickly.

Again, good luck.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/15/19 12:51 PM.

Dan,

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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7633045 10/15/19 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Mathena
the mature bucks don't come to the feeders, only young deer, does and a bunch of hogs.


^^^^^

Correct. In East Texas you aren't going to find a mature buck under a feeder in the daytime hours. But that doesn't mean feeders aren't useful. I have two main purposes for feeders on my property.

1. To attract and hold Does in an area. It's the Does...that will attract the bucks, THEY are your bait.

2. To help keep hogs out of our pastures. I have a couple of dedicated 'hog stands' back in the woods where I keep feeders running year 'round. This discourages the hogs from spending so much time rooting up pastureland and provides a place where I can snipe a few of them as well.


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: flintknapper] #7633726 10/16/19 02:18 AM
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100%^^^^^^^


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Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: flintknapper] #7633836 10/16/19 11:29 AM
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#1. To attract and hold Does in an area. It's the Does...that will attract the bucks, THEY are your bait.
++++

Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7634118 10/16/19 03:49 PM
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I am one of those that believe that deer don't "go nocturnal". If anyone thinks that a deer can bed up for 12-14 hours without eating, drinking, pissing or pooping don't understand deer physiology. Granted, they will adjust their movements and how much once there is more activity in the woods so that they will move less in daytime. You may not get pictures of them at your feeders during the day but they are taking care of their basic needs. At the family farm where my dad was raised in North Carolina there are trails beat down thru the woods that parallel the edges of the fields where the deer walk waiting for darkness so they can go out into the fields to eat.

Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7638824 10/22/19 12:40 PM
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You could be feeding too much. If your throwing enough food out, they can eat it at night. I throw for 3 seconds in morning. If they dont come, birds eat it. I dont throw in evening.

Re: Nocturnal deer [Re: Mike Mathena] #7638865 10/22/19 01:26 PM
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Flintknapper has it right. The big bucks are way smarter than some folks think. The only thing, in my view, that makes them show up in daylight hours is the rut. Chasing wimmin makes them as stupid as it does human males in a redneck bar.

As for feeders not attracting bucks, that isn’t exactly right. As said, the feeder brings does and fawns, and that brings the bucks close, if not right to the feeder. For a couple of years, there was a real nice 8 point that would sneak up about 100 yards from the feeder and observe the does. He’d be right in front of my blind, looking down the shooting lane, just like I was. I saved him for the grandson, who did finally get him.

Also, the feeder brings birds, squirrels and coons, which bring foxes, coyotes, and bobcats, and the hogs are frequent visitors. One good corn feeder has its own little ecosystem.


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