Finding buck bedding is step one of an important process of getting closer to these deer in the fall. Next comes figuring out how to set up on them.
On a scouting trip on June 29, I got a good look at a specific buck bed that shows how these deer bed in hill country where crop fields are below and above the ridges. They are where they are for a reason, and understanding why they bed where they do benefits both archery hunters and gun hunters alike. After finding many beds this spring, it’s easy to see how these deer are watching hunters going in and out of the property.
All of the biggest beds I have found that I believe to be buck beds have something in common -- maximum protection where they can use their eyes, ears and nose to keep them safe.
One bed in particular I came upon while searching points at the top of a north-facing ridge was worn down to the mud. This is a good indicator it’s well used.
The question a person needs to ask when finding a bed is when are these bucks using them? In this particular instance, I could see him using this bed throughout much of the year as long as hunting pressure does not push him off it. It has good, thick security cover to his back and an open area in front for him to see any predators approaching.
The more the foliage drops, the further he will be able to see down into the bottom. His vision is somewhat limited in the summer due to the vegetation and it will probably stay that way into the first part of the hunting season. If he’s there in September and early October, that could benefit me.
This bed is not far from a corner where the ridge running east and west turns and starts moving north and south. There is a large field that is in soybeans this year on top of the ridge and another field of beans that comes to a finger below.
The vantage point near this corner is great and sets up perfect for buck and doe bedding. I know there are does that like to bed adjacent to that buck bed just to the northwest. That could make getting into this area for an evening hunt difficult. It actually sets up better on a corn year when I can sneak through to the timber undetected, but I believe it is still worth a hunt this fall.
I got down into that buck bed and scanned the area to see how far he could see. There are three trails leading out of the bed. Two of them seem far more realistic for him to use on a consistent basis, with the other leading through some really thick cover.
If he gets up at last light and enters directly into the field behind him, there’s not much I can do to get close. My hope is he follows the trail that heads down the ridge out of his bed that he spends his time watching all day. That should offer him an extra sense of security if he hasn’t seen any danger approaching from that direction.
I followed that trail out of his bed and got to where everything should work for me assuming he is bedded there on a south-based wind. It’s only about 50 yards down the trail, but with the leaves still on the trees I should be able to slip in without being seen. Taking extra time to be extremely quiet will be key in a setup like this with my saddle.
The access route is probably the most important part of this whole equation. I will come in on a fence line to the southwest. Once I’m out of sight, I’ll take a 90-degree angle across the beans and slip into the trees just off the field edge.
The plan is in place. That’s half the battle when accessing in these hills.
For a video on figuring out a setup for the specific bed written about in this column, visit the story online at https://www.echopress.com/sports/outdoors.