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Hunting the Bedroom

A few posts ago, I wrote about morning and evening stands. In that story I stressed that I like to set up morning stands near bedding areas. Now let’s look at how and when to hunt bedding areas.

Many hunters shy away from hunting bedding areas for fear of educating bucks of their presence. And admittedly that is a risk. It really comes down to a risk vs rewards gamble. Knowing your land and the movements of your deer will help to make this decision.

The process for setting up near bedding area actually begins long before the season begins. As noted previously, setting game cameras at the end of season to find and locate mature bucks that have escaped the hunting season is critical. Once found, move cameras near suspected bedding areas. Checking cameras will help to identify where these mature bucks call home.

Once the area is identified, I will then move in January of February and hang my stands, trim lanes and clean our entry paths. In this scenario I prefer strap on stands due to their low profile. Climbing sticks are secured and a safety line attached. All of this is well blended to minimize any deer to identify any sign of intrusion. Normally when I can I will hang two for alternating winds which will allow me to hunt on several wind variances. Lastly, I make sure that the entry is clear of all debris all the way to the dirt. This is done with either rakes or a blower. While I know that during the nine months prior to opening day debris will fall and I wont have a totally clear path, it will be minimized. This is the time also to use the trail tacks (Those that glow in the dark) and mark the entry and exit trails well.

I like to set the stands as close to the bedding areas as I feel I can, sometimes I am right in the middle of the bedding area, other times on the fringe. Look at your terrain and determine for yourself the best location. (Selecting the right tree will be coming shortly)

For hunting bedding areas there are two times of the year when these are the most productive. The first time period is during the first few weeks of the season. With our archery season opening at or around the first of September, this is a great time to move in on these mature bucks. They haven’t been hunted or felt any pressure for months, their guard is a little lower than after the first few weeks when hunters are in the woods for some time. Check the winds and slip into these stands well before sunrise. When hunting bedding areas, I like to be there a minimum of one hour before first light this allows the woods to quiet down and everything to get to ‘normal’ before first light.

And I will sit at least until noon, and if possible, I will sit all day if needed. But at a minimum, I sit until the deer that moved into the bedding area begin to stir around a bit. Caution is needed here, if bedded deer see, smell or sense your presence, sneak out and don’t come back to this stand until the post rut. It’s a waste of time. Often mature bucks who are alerted to your presence in their bedding areas will find new areas.

If you are not comfortable going in there when it is hot for fear of your scent alerting the bucks to your presence wait until at or around November 1st of the season. Dr. Charles Ruth of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources notes that most of the does in South Carolina are bred at or near October 30. As the rut is on its down swing, bucks will be searching for willing does. Knowing that does are bedding in these areas will put bucks in your lap as they are cruising for does. This is my preferred time to get into their bedroom. I know that if I have done everything right, I will have deer all around me, and sooner or later these does will bring a buck right by my well hidden stand.

Hunting the bedroom can and does increase your risk, but it also increases your reward when you draw on a mature buck that has eluded you for a few seasons. Nothing brings greater accomplishment than getting him in his bedroom.