Bedded or not bedded?

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david long

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Bedded or not bedded?

I often hear guys state that they don’t like to stalk bedded bucks – I am the direct opposite.

I would much rather prefer to stalk a buck in its bed, rather than while he is up feeding. When bucks are up and feeding at timberline, they can simply cover too much country. Often times, they are not where you expect them to be at the conclusion of the stalk which can spell disaster. I feel that my odds of success are much greater stalking a stationary deer. Once in bow range, as I sit and wait for the buck to stand up, I have ample time to range the buck, dial-in my adjustable pin, etc. It also gives my heart rate a chance to settle down after the stalk and to mentally prepare for the shot. I never feel like I am rushing the shot by doing it this way.

What does everyone else prefer?
 

robby denning

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I'd agree with you Dave. I've been forced to stalk moving bucks and it doesn't usually work out. And as Mr. Darner says, "once they're bedded down, they are screwed (not exactly how he said it :)
 

Juan_ID

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Although I have yet to kill a deer or any big game animal for that matter with my bow I prefer to stalk bedded bucks as well... Like you stated David, it allows you to settle your nerves an mentally prepare for what "might" occur after closing in... I can do as much mental preparing as possible while waiting and stalking and I still get caught up in the moment and catch the fever BAD! I have missed a handful of deer and 1 antelope buck at the moment of truth at ranges between 28 and 55 yards and don't have an explanation for the misses! But that's what I love about archery, keeps me comin back for more time after time! I'm hopin this is the year tho! ;)
 

bowhnter7

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I agree.

Have tried both and if they are up I usually end up behind them or get caught.

Morning/mid day stalks are usually on bedded deer. Afternoon bucks are usually up feeding and I'm trying to get in a place where they will come past.
 

Jared Bloomgren

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In the backcountry or any other type of rough country that makes it hard to keep an eye on the deer I prefer bedded and I prefer to stalk from above. But if in open terrain and I can keep tabs on that deer it doesn't matter much either way....however; in the open plains of the Dakotas a feeding deer offers a great opportunity at an ambush. You can generally figure out which way they are moving and slip in front of them for an ambush. Sometimes getting within range by stalking alone can be impossible. The moving deer allows you to get within range in this type of situation.
 

trophyhill

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i can't wait to get an opportunity to stalk a lone bedded buck. this would be the ideal situation imho. in my first 4 years of hunting mule deer with a bow, it is during the rut and there are always does around the big boys making it very difficult to get close to them. even when the group is bedded geting past all the eyes ears and noses is tough. i haven't been able to do it yet but i will keep trying. eventually i will score on a buck of a lifetime with my bow. and it's absolutely a blast trying to get past all those does. thats what makes it a fun, exciting, challenging hunt and i wouldn't have it any other way........unless i can find one bedded by himself:)
 

justin davis

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I am with Jared on this one. It depends on the hunt. I like a bedded buck! But I have also killed some deer on the plains that were feeding and I ambushed.
 

JSonn

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stalking bedded works best for me- however I would never draw on a bedded buck, since they need to be standing to take a shot in my book.
 

pronghorn

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Put them to bed, make sure they are staying put for a while and get moving. That is what virtually every day of my hunt looks like.
 

bohntr

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Putting them to bed.....waiting for consistent thermals......and stalking in close enough to see their eyelashes has worked countless times. Nothing more exciting, IMO.
 

desertstalker

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I prefer to go after them in their bed. JSonn, never say never. In 2010 I stalked a lone bedded buck and after stalking to 30 yards I sat to wait him out with a perfect wind in my face. After 35 minutes of waiting and checking on him I analyzed the situation and looked carefully at the brush in front of him and began to think that if I moved slightly, I might be able to see his vitals. In a squatting position, I slowly rose and peeked above the brush and could see his vitals completely as he was quartered away and rolled over on his far side. He never twitched an ear, or opened his eyes until my arrow buried in his heart. Sometimes all the stars align. A more ethical or lethal kill opportunity, I could not ask for.
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evan williams

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I prefer to go in on a bedded buck. It gives me plenty of time to glass the area. Find out how many eyes and ears there are. Figure out landmarks and where he is bedded in respect to other animals. The one I killed this year was bedded on the eastern side of three bucks and above them in the most open place with the other two slightly west of him and a bit lower in the timber.

My 2010 KS buck was taken in the peak of the rut. I jogged in a 1/2 mile to close the distance on the group consisting of 5 total bucks and 8-9 does. Watching them for 20 minutes it looked as though one of the does was coming in and the two mature bucks were taking turns running off the three smaller bucks. The whole group bedded up in a patch of CRP. As I closed in and got to 80 yards of where I last watched my buck bed the other mature buck pushed around the doe and had to run off a smaller 4X. When he did the hot doe trotted my direction and the big non-typical stood from his bed and followed her right to me.

The terrain plays a large part in my stalk, as it does with us all. But I would much rather prefer to stalk a bedded animal. There is a better chance of him being there when I get there to kill him.
 

Hoytnut

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I prefer to stalk bedded bucks for many of the reasons listed above, however, I have had some success stalking in on solitary deer with their heads down feeding.
 

MULEY CRAZY

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Like them bedded, I like to watch them until afternoon and move in and try to get to them just before they get up for the evening. That way I don't have to wait too long for them stand up and have less of a chance to get winded.
 

Backpack Hunter

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I prefer to stalk them in their beds as well, but I have never really hunted in a place where if they are up and moving you can see where they are going for a good distance. The majority of the time I stalk a moving/feeding deer I lose them in some timber, get impatient, and blow 'em out of there.
 
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bearguide

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as long as the wind does not change on you bedded is nice
 

robby denning

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This thread got me thinking a little more. I'd say it depends on the country,too. Open high country like David hunts for sure is better to wait for bucks to bed. I can say that hunting lower brushy country that the bucks are harder to keep track of, so sometimes you've got to move with them or you lose track of them. That buck I posted in the "longest archery shot" thread was a low country buck and I had to stalk him while he was up as it was so brushy. Still prefer bedded, but this thread made me realize that is the ideal, but not always the reality.
 
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