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Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them in the rut.

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Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them in the rut.

Old 02-01-2009, 08:28 AM
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Default Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them in the rut.

So, let's say for the sake of argument that you're hunting a fairly large chunk of land (2500 acres +). Going further, this is an area that has no agricultural land, and very little in the line of great nutrition... No fields. Lots of immature timber. Very few mast-producers.

So, in the course of your wanderings, you stumble into a VERY heavy winter yarding area. An area that's clearly holding a minimum of 20-30 deer. The area is replete with greenbrier, pine, black cherry and multiflora rose thicket.

The tree canopy in this particular area is quite high, and there are definitely enough gaps to bowhunt it effectively. There isn't much mature timber in the area, but this is one of those few select areas that have both climbable trees and sufficient cover to hold deer.

The ridge is hemmed-in between a large swamp and a long, narrow lake. One long, narrow ridge. A nice bottleneck for sure.

The sign reads that there was some buck activity through the area in the fall. Some. Not much. No sign of any hunters.

A walk-through of the area also reveals that there should probably be at least a few deer who will continue to utilize this pocket as a bedding area 24-7-365. There are definitely some geographic formations that will funnel any deer traffic and make it easy to pick off a trolling buck.

I've locateda modest amount of verybig buck sign in some of the adjoining areas - and this could be an area that might see some big buck traffic, once November rolls around.

What is the best approach?

Remember, this area is well-off the beaten path, a solid 1-hr hike, and I'm presuming that these deer are fairly pressure-sensitive.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:38 AM
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Default RE: Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them 10 months later

Evaluate the land on what it is, and what it will be at the time you hunt it.
Sounds like a good bedding area, which is always nice. If there is food close in the fall it could be golden. If not it could be sporadic and maybe only good once the bucks are roaming.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:41 AM
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Default RE: Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them 10 months later

Where I hunt the deer don't yard up til after season. The trend has been for them not to yard up as much. Maybe milder winters? I read about a tracking study done right in my area about 40 years ago. The main theme was that each deer does something different but each deer holds that pattern year after year.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:27 AM
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Default RE: Finding winter yarding areas - then hunting them 10 months later

On magic's last note...
I hunt on area on the Canadian border and once there is a few feet of snow on the ground (around Turkey day) the deer move from the mountains in the north, closer to town.
I have found a few yarding areas in the hemlocks similar to your description and is pretty neat to see all the deer while driving by on snowmobiles.
After the winter has passed you will find 200-250 deer collect together in this one spot and just like an army, they line up, head to tail, and march
into the woods heading north and disperse into there little havens. I have seen this happen only once about 15 years ago and my jaw dropped.
The lady who owns this farm says it's the same thing every year, very much a pattern as Todd mentioned.

So to your question, it depends, if they frequent this area as a residence during the season? If so, then female deer will = bucks during the rut...
I'm sure there are a few deer that like to call this "yard" home, you'll never know unless you try it.
Just remember, the only predictable thing about a deer is they're unpredictable!
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