I recently moved to a property on 20 acres and I'm a total noob when it comes to hunting. There are several deer stands setup all over the property mostly along the tree line overlooking some open fields. I've done some scouting and have found tracks, rubs, and trails all over the place including in the open fields. I've set out corn and have found fresh tracks around it and have seen it eaten. I've sat in a few of the stands at all different hours and have not been able to actually see any deer. Finally I went out and bought a camera and have set it up around some of the corn plots that I've put out. The only time I've gotten any pictures of deer has been either 2 hours after dark or sometime in the middle of the night and they were some pretty large does. I have yet to get anything in the middle of the day.

What should I be doing to try and draw them out or find them during actual hunting hours? I'm certain that part of the reason they're only coming at night is because now that we're living there they are aware of us and stay away. Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.


1 Answer 1

  • Follow their patterns. You need to know where they sleep, eat, and drink. 20 acres is small, are they only on your property for food? water? Can they get these anywhere else? Find the trail and be patient.
  • You will almost never see deer in the middle of the day. Dawn and dusk are your friends.
  • If they are sleeping on your property stalk hunt them. You startle them awake, they run and, bingo.
  • If they travel, try to create a funnel. Create a place they have to go through to get from point A to point B. Once you have them moving the way you want, you will have better luck of catching a straggler.
  • Hunt days where it sucked the night before. Very cold and/or very rainy nights followed by clear mornings will generally do better. Deer will want to hunker down in the bad weather and wait when they can.
  • They move at night less during a new moon, you'll have better dawn/dusk luck during this time.
  • Make sure your approach paths do not screw with travel, even when scouting. You scout like you hunt. Don't scare them off with your noise and scent when going to and from your cameras.
  • 20 acres isn't much to be hunting on. You definitely need to manage your land and your use of it. Pet and human movement will affect the deer. You may have to decide which you want more, as using the land for hunting may require giving up other enjoyments of the land.
  • Learn what your neighbors do. Is there heavy predator pressure around you?
  • It definitely depends on where you are, so perhaps add to your question what specific area you live in (at least down to a regional level).

Not directly your question, but things I'd like to add for anyone reading.

  • Trail cameras have legal restrictions in many states.
  • Baiting (ie, food plots) is illegal in many states.
  • Most states have laws about hunting similar to drug laws, putting you at risk of asset forfeiture -- in this case it could result in you losing your entire house and land. Enforcement officials do not have to get a conviction to seize your land and it can take years to regain it even if you are not convincted. Make sure you know the regulations before you put out cameras and food plots.
  • When animals go nocturnal, weather and moon are definitely your guiding lights, as Russell suggests. I find that the best hunting times as calculated by many GPS and websites is slightly useful during times when the deer can't feed at night either because of bad weather or no moon. If you are new to the property, your use patterns may change a lot as fall comes in. On my property, I don't see any deer until I see lots at all times. One day they just show up, stay for a few weeks, then they are gone. If that happens during hunting season, I am happy.
    – David
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 21:40

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