Frustrated - Ready to sell my Sh!t

SIontheHunt

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
89
I would suggest you get a lease. I also live in NC and hunt both NC and SC. The public land here has too many darn people and we cannot hunt sundays. With a lease a working man doubles his season and can control the pressure. Another good option is to apply for some of the lottery hunts which i hear have very high success rates. Have you been seeing any does? By the way where you seeing those bears?
 

FLS

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
208
If you are in western NC/ SC the deer densities are low and most of the sign you are seeing is nocturnal. Find the biggest clear cut on the property you’re hunting, the thicker the better and go to the farthest point away from any access find a tree on the edge climb high and wait. Pick the cover apart with your binos. If there are any deer in the area They will be in that overgrown clear cut bedding, feeding or breeding. That strategy has worked public and private during every phase of the season anywhere I’ve hunted deer.
 

DANNY-L

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
51
Location
Northern NY
Thats why it's called hunting,not killing. I'm going on my 6th years without seeing a shooter buck,plenty of small bucks. As long as I'm out there and see animals of some type it makes for a good day.
 

cobbc03

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2020
Messages
56
If you do sell, let me know... kidding. I have never really tried sounding like an animal and have walked up on deer, I would start there. It sounds like you are doing the right things for the most part. This time of year, find their water source and food sources, and hope they are moving in daylight and not the cooler air of night. I would also try taking over one of the scrape lines, you can use buck urine, or your own, also could use some orbital gland if you wanted to make it real attractive., or create your own. In the north they are starting to pack on a few more pounds and starting to show signs that they are getting frisky. I mainly hunt food in the evening and trails leading to their bedding areas in the morning. Good luck, be persistent and don't give up!
 
OP
wildernessmaster

wildernessmaster

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May 12, 2020
Messages
160
Location
Pittsboro NC
Thank you... Yes I hear all of you - sit sit and sit ... I plan on it. The problems I have with "find a spot and sit all day" is:
1. I am hunting public lands
2. Almost all public lands in NC are 6 day week huntable (we have weird blue laws and game lands -which almost all public lands are have a no sunday hunting rule).
3. The closest public lands are a little over an hour away.
4. Given 1, 2, and 3 that means from middle of Sept to end of Dec - I have roughly 14 huntable days to hunt these lands - given I have a job Mon - Fri.
5. There is a LOT of big woods in these public lands and deer seem to be somewhat nomadic in them. I have seen them all over a spot one day and never to return the next.
6. So if I pick a spot and sit - all day - each time I do that in a place where the deer have moved on, I am burning close to 10% of my chances to kill a deer.

The way I have been tackling these woods is to scout, find, set up hunt before dawn till around 2ish then if nothing is there, move on. Rinse and repeat. At least then I am only burning 5ish % of my huntable time.

Right now, in spite of active sign, sitting in/around it... I am not even hearing deer, much less seeing them. If I were spooking deer on my stand I would know its scent/wind or noise. If I were seeing them but they were 100 yards off, then I would know its my set.

Its early I know... and I am not seriously ready to sell my shit. I have a small farm and if I want I can set up a stand on my food plot out front and whack a doe (or maybe a buck). That's harvesting meat, not hunting deer. And yes I am looking into clubs to join but most of them fall into: 1) small badly located or managed lands 2) super large and your competition is worse than public lands. I also am cultivating some farmers and farms I can get some sunday hunting in on. The ones that don't fall into that are expensive, and if I am going to spend several $1000s to join a club - well I would rather buy an elk tag and go hunt Montana!
 
OP
wildernessmaster

wildernessmaster

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May 12, 2020
Messages
160
Location
Pittsboro NC
Oh and to all the "have you put cameras" out guys... Its public land. Its hard to put cameras out and come back and find them - and that's an expensive lesson. I have a could of cheap cameras I will put out in less obvious locations, but that's rare.
 

Brendan

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Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
3,132
Location
Boston, MA
Regarding 1-6: Join the club, you're not unique in those problems. I'd bet it's actually much worse here in the Northeast on public (Except you can hunt Sundays in NH).

Here's another tip: Try and find super small parcels closer to home or work, even if it means a 90 minute sit before or after work. Not the best areas, but I've gotten on deer before or after work, including when I worked a job in downtown Boston.

Just keep in mind: This time of year deer are moving first and last light. It's thick. You're not going to see them moving around and scouting during the day, and you're potentially educating them and bumping them into different areas for later in the season. I've had areas I over-hunted early where the deer disappear getting into the rut.
 

TheGrayRider

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Aug 6, 2018
Messages
110
Location
IN
Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Keep at it. Just stay in the field and you will succeed.
 

Brendan

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Aug 27, 2013
Messages
3,132
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Boston, MA
Oh and to all the "have you put cameras" out guys... Its public land. Its hard to put cameras out and come back and find them - and that's an expensive lesson. I have a could of cheap cameras I will put out in less obvious locations, but that's rare.

Again, join the club, there's a lot of us who do this on public land. Bring your saddle and one stick, put them 10-15' up pointed down, secured with a cable lock. Mark locations in your GPS app of choice. Problem solved except for determined thieves who have a way to climb a tree. Buy cheap(er) ones, and a bunch of them. Every once in a while you get one stolen or break one - it's part of it.

Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Keep at it. Just stay in the field and you will succeed.

This. The people who are the most successful are those that put in the time consistently over multiple seasons. Some have it easier than others because of work, family schedules, and the land that they might have access to, but in this day and age most people vastly underestimate how much work it is to be consistently successful on public land.
 

Sekora

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
195
Keep at it. Once you get one down, they seem to come much easier. Sounds like you are dedicated and going in the right direction. I'm not familiar with NC, but when I hunt public land, I like to be in the thick stuff around the feeding sign. It seems most of the feeding happens after dark. They like to hang out in the thick stuff before they feed and you can often see deer all day long moving around at close range.
 

wayoh22

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Messages
205
Location
CT
Get off the cross, we need the wood.

No amount of advice in this thread is going to make the deer magically appear. And no matter how good you proclaim to be at finding sign is going to make them appear. And just because you hunt public doesn't mean much. Plenty of big bucks are taken on public land every year. You're no exception to that. Put in the time and maybe you'll reap the rewards. All in all, this is hunting. Nothing is guaranteed. Join the club.
 

stumpknocker

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
47
Location
Upstate SC
No its been open for almost 3 now. Friday it transitions to muzzle loader season. NC sucks for bow hunters as it gives us the worst part of the season for bow only.

My post, though is not just about this season... Like I said, I have been at this for 5 years now - 2 1/2 uninterrupted by long elk hunting trips which chew up the prime WT.

Yeah I got you. The seasons down here are not friendly for bowhunters, but that doesn't mean you need to put the bow up once gun gets here.

In regards to the still hunt naysayers- with the right conditions (wet ground, wind in face) i think it's worth doing especially up creek bottoms. Sitting in a tree "damn still" will kill deer, but it's not very fun and its not for everyone. You'll have a better chance at seeing deer still hunting, although many may be running away from you. Feel free to change it up to keep yourself in the game. Good luck!
 

Brian Fahs

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Messages
1,371
Location
Pennsylvania
Spend this time of year scouting for sign.
Find travel routes and buck sign in or near heavy cover.
Set stands in heavy cover and wait till pre rut.
Sit said stands on a favorable wind and sit from before daylight till dark.

I have been deer hunting for 45 years all over the us and have killed my share of whitetails.

When you hunt is second only to where you hunt. Since you are mostly on pressured public ground timing is everything.

When bucks start searching even mediocre public ground can become special overnight. Persistence is king come november
 

Elkhntr08

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
504
Location
Southeastern Illinois
Or, make a trip to Illinois and we’ll see if we can get you a couple deer.
Patience is the key. Find a good area, set the stand and sit it.
Takes me a few days after coming back from out west to settle into the “deer hunting” frame of mind.
 

dkoster02

Newbie
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
6
it sounds like youre on the right track. wind mangement is almost more important that scent management. I'm a midwest whitetail hunter, but I hear down south the deer look up way more than out my way. I've read being higher up can be a huge advantage. I could be full of shit...just what I have heard. 30ft instead of 20 may make a big difference. Good luck dont give up or sell your shit.
 

SCLawyer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
103
Thank you... Yes I hear all of you - sit sit and sit ... I plan on it. The problems I have with "find a spot and sit all day" is:
1. I am hunting public lands
2. Almost all public lands in NC are 6 day week huntable (we have weird blue laws and game lands -which almost all public lands are have a no sunday hunting rule).
3. The closest public lands are a little over an hour away.
4. Given 1, 2, and 3 that means from middle of Sept to end of Dec - I have roughly 14 huntable days to hunt these lands - given I have a job Mon - Fri.
5. There is a LOT of big woods in these public lands and deer seem to be somewhat nomadic in them. I have seen them all over a spot one day and never to return the next.
6. So if I pick a spot and sit - all day - each time I do that in a place where the deer have moved on, I am burning close to 10% of my chances to kill a deer.

The way I have been tackling these woods is to scout, find, set up hunt before dawn till around 2ish then if nothing is there, move on. Rinse and repeat. At least then I am only burning 5ish % of my huntable time.

Right now, in spite of active sign, sitting in/around it... I am not even hearing deer, much less seeing them. If I were spooking deer on my stand I would know its scent/wind or noise. If I were seeing them but they were 100 yards off, then I would know its my set.

Its early I know... and I am not seriously ready to sell my shit. I have a small farm and if I want I can set up a stand on my food plot out front and whack a doe (or maybe a buck). That's harvesting meat, not hunting deer. And yes I am looking into clubs to join but most of them fall into: 1) small badly located or managed lands 2) super large and your competition is worse than public lands. I also am cultivating some farmers and farms I can get some sunday hunting in on. The ones that don't fall into that are expensive, and if I am going to spend several $1000s to join a club - well I would rather buy an elk tag and go hunt Montana!

How small is your farm? What kind of food plot(s)?

I am an avid SC whitetail hunter. I drive 3 hours to my 100-acre property every Friday after work and 3 hours back late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Wish I had more time in the woods, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, the rifle season where I live in SC starts two months later than the game zone where my property is. So, even though I have a few places to hunt up here, I’m spending 6 hours in a car every weekend from August 15-October 15.

I mostly hunt over food plots that we’ve clear cut, planted, and developed over the years. Hunting from a stand/blind on a food plot isn’t just “harvesting meat.” It absolutely can be extremely successful and rewarding hunting.

This is just my two cents, but it sounds like you’re naturally inclined more towards the ideas and concepts of spot and stalk hunting out west. I’ve never gone myself, but am very much obsessed with the idea of going out west to hunt elk. But I understand that the reality of eastern whitetail hunting is MUCH different. I think your idea of what “hunting” whitetail is may be the thing that is holding you back. There’s something romantic about hunting big woods - either public WMA in NC or public land out west. But the reality is that most whitetail hunting in NC/SC is just fundamentally different.

Food plots are often very useful and important here, but it doesn’t have to be as simple as putting a box blind up at the top of a large Ag tract. Hunt the edges. Hunt the funnel points. Hunt the trails to and from the food or water source. Know the various wind scenarios and have stands available for all options. You can build cheap elevated box blinds for less than $100 with scrap wood. Use climbing stands to catch the big boys slipping because you’re right that you’re not going to see a record buck walk out to a corn feeder or bean field at 9 AM outside of the rut.

Develop your land. Develop your herd. Put out mineral sites in the spring. Plant quality food sources. Ensure there is water access or that the deer can get the water they need from the browse or food. Use game cameras all over your farm to get a true idea of your total herd and buck to doe ratio. If you have too many does, kill some does and vice versa. Make your farm an attractive place for deer. Utilize QDMA principles and you can have such a good privately owned place to hunt.

That’s just the reality of hunting whitetail in NC and SC. You can have so much fun turning a small farm into a great piece of hunting property. The work itself is very rewarding but seeing it all payoff after a few years is such a good feeling.

I get no less satisfaction hunting my food plots than I do big private or public land. I’ve hunted 10+ full days this year on 100 acres, passed on countless does, and caught a nice buck yesterday morning on my favorite 2 acre field. That wasn’t an easy “meat harvest” like you insinuate. I scouted and hunted hard and have worked for years to turn my small tract of land into a great hunting spot. I haven’t seen a buck for almost 7 years on my property. After putting in a couple years of real work, I’ve seen several this year and have at least 20 different shooter bucks on camera. I *can’t wait* for the rut.

Remember, there’s a reason we hunt. We hunt to commune with nature, to clear our minds from the stressors of daily life, and to fill our freezers with a sustainable source of quality meat. If you’re not having fun, then just take a break for a while and reflect on why you started hunting in the first place. Every Thursday after work, I still get SO excited packing my gear to go my farm with food plots. You get out of it what you put into it.

I wish you the best. Take a breath and think about WHY you hunt. Our hunting lives aren’t measured by the mounts on our wall. They’re measured by the experiences we have.


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Newtosavage

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Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,902
Location
In someone's favorite spot
I am at the end of my rope with whitetail hunting... About ready to sell all my stuff and take up golf (which I hate).

I started hunting late in life (5 years ago). The last 3 years I have probably spent more time elk hunting (out West) but have spent a decent amount of time whitetail hunting here back east where I live (NC).

I scout.

I actually am very skilled at finding deer sign. Like this weekend, a game warden gave me some new access points to public land and on my first trip in, I find a spot where it was clear deer were feeding on acorns (there was glistening scat) and a runway where literally every 30 yards a scrape and rubs. Clearly some runway a nice buck was using.

I have done this "blind" in several parcels of public land. Even have found bear...

But I can't "see" any deer nor get any within shooting distance.

I try to manage my scent, and definitely manage the wind. Scent wise I have an ozone box I keep my clothes in and run it before I go out. I also spray down with scent killer before walking in the woods. Wind wise, I do my best but these big woods parcels often have swirling/changing winds.

I manage my noise. Granted it is nearly impossible to be quiet in these places, as there are deadfall, twigs, and dried leaves EVERYWHERE. So I step, stop; step, step, stop; make scraping noises... otherwise try not to sound like a human and more like an animal moving through the woods.

The public lands I hunt are east coast big woods. They are semi (small) mountainous. There are hardwoods, evergreens (southern pines, junipers and faux cedars). I hunt the edges of these, I hunt the topographic changes, I hunt the bottoms, hedge rows.... You name it. I still hunt and set up stands.

And I KNOW, that this time of the season is tough to kill a deer, but i have done this (gun and archery) for 3 seasons and just not having any luck.

Any ideas I am open to.
Are you trying to "still hunt" or are you taking a stand and sitting quietly and motionless for at least an hour or more?

If the former, forget that. It's a pipe dream for a new hunter to be successful still hunting or "stalking" on public land for whitetails.

I have been hunting whitetails since 1979. Twice I've had 5-7 year dry runs, but once I learned to kill whitetails, I've pretty well killed them every year. Don't give up. Your time is coming.
 

SCLawyer

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
103
Are you trying to "still hunt" or are you taking a stand and sitting quietly and motionless for at least an hour or more?

If the former, forget that. It's a pipe dream for a new hunter to be successful still hunting or "stalking" on public land for whitetails.

I have been hunting whitetails since 1979. Twice I've had 5-7 year dry runs, but once I learned to kill whitetails, I've pretty well killed them every year. Don't give up. Your time is coming.

This is 100% the problem - trying to use western hunting strategies on eastern whitetail. It just won’t work, especially on highly pressured public land.

OP: If you’re able to find spots with acorns dropping and rubs and scrapes in the vicinity, put a climbing stand up in a tree downwind of those spots and sit ALL DAY. Sit still, watch your scent, and stay there dark to dark. You’ll see deer. But you’re certainly not going to sneak up on a public land whitetail, no matter how scent proofed you are. They will see, hear, or smell you. You cannot use western strategies in the Carolinas. Full stop. I’ve gotten impatient and tried many times.

Scout good spots, get in a concealed stand, play the wind, and sit all day. You’ll see deer, and, during the rut, you’ll see big bucks. There’s a reason people have been hunting that way for a century - it works.


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