HOT Temps & Whitetails

86indy

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
34
Location
S. IL
Hi guys,
I just started bow hunting big hardwood stands in southern Illinois on public land and Im humbled from last year. I learned I dont know a whole lot from previously hunting ag fields and defined funnels in Michigan. From my understanding heat from 80-95 degrees deer dont move much and will just move at night when temps fall; but can anyone offer up some ideas of how to hunt the early season hot weather whitetails or just general tactics?

I plan on hunting 3-4 days a week with my class schedule so Id just like to try and lessen my learning curve.
Any help would be appreciated
 

*zap*

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
1,171
Location
N/E Kansas
Early season is about food. Hot or not deer need to eat. Look for/find a preferred food source. Look at the sign there, tracks/rubs. Find the travel route from that sign. Now you can find a spot to set up far enough off the food source not to disturb the deer feeding there and wait in the am. Even better if you can find the bedding and set up off it in the am, go in before sunup. Pm hunts you want to get close to bedding on the travel route. If you cannot find the bedding then set up as far away from the food source as possible on the known travel route. Think 'destination' spot that is 'revisited' often. Food sources and bedding are destination spots, the amount of sign tells you if it is used a lot or a little.

Rubs should be started by now and will increase, 3-4 finger width tracks are generally buck tracks. Bucks bed alone or in small groups with the beds fairly close together and in a rough circle. Doe usually bed in groups with the beds a little farther apart and in an oval pattern. Droppings, hair in the beds, and the amount of tracks will show you how much that spot is used for bedding. Also buck beds will have rubs close by.

By finding the destination and then the route you will be able to set up where the deer are most of the time and distance the set up from the destination to increase your chance of seeing the deer in shooting hours without disturbing them. If they are leaving bedding late then you need to be close to bedding in the pm. Everything really revolves around bedding but food source destinations are also a viable option.

Any scrape found early is generally a good place to hunt but its location in relation to bedding/food source will help you determine when to best hunt it, also rubs tell you direction of travel. If a rub is on the side of a tree that faces the food source then the rub is made after the deer leaves the food source.

Lone or small groups of oaks are better if they have sign that shows they are being revisited because it is a smaller destination than a large area with a lot of oaks......

Keep at it, keep your eyes open and think about things, avoid setting up in some random location along a trail or a random spot in the woods. Obviously you need to consider the wind and thermal flow in relation to where you think the deer will be moving and your position/travel route to and from your set. If hunting mobile while you scout avoid 'backing up' and then setting up, that will allow deer to scent your residual scent that you left before they reach you.

Obviously, water sources are something to think about but will produce more opportunities if they are in limited supply and you find one that is being revisited regularly. A water source close to bedding may be good for afternoon/midday.

Happy Hunting!
 

Newtosavage

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
1,789
Location
In someone's favorite spot
I trust you're at SIU? I lived in Carbondale area for 6 years and hunted those woods you're talking about. I tended to avoid the early season and usually didn't start hunting until mid to late October. Having said that, find some creek beds and look for sign. There will be places they travel down the creek beds. It's cooler down there and they can stay hidden.

Biggest challenge to hunting that area when it's warm is putting up/taking down a stand without getting sweatted up. I hated that, which is why I usually waited.
 
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8

86indy

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
34
Location
S. IL
Thank you guys I've been trying to find food sources and bedding areas but this is harder than I expected in the big woods. It seems like they dont follow hard patterns as they dont have pressure from anything, including squirrel hunters. I have two trail cameras up and I've got a 4 and a 6 along with a a few doe but over seven days it took 6-10 pictures. I switched the one to video hopefully learn more on how they're moving through the area. The cameras are in an area that last year had 20+ rubs up a slope with an old two track sunk in the ground ten feet or so almost like a faux ridge. These rubs were on 1/2" scrub brush to 4" cedars. I hunted it three times last year on the slope in a hard cold front (in the teens is cold for southern IL) and never saw a deer but got winded from further down the slope. So I'm eager to learn the area but I think it might be more trial and error.

I trust you're at SIU?
I am. I have one more year of school. Pm me if you wanna get more in detail!
 
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Newtosavage

Senior Member
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Sep 20, 2018
Messages
1,789
Location
In someone's favorite spot
Thank you guys I've been trying to find food sources and bedding areas but this is harder than I expected in the big woods. It seems like they dont follow hard patterns as they dont have pressure from anything, including squirrel hunters. I have two trail cameras up and I've got a 4 and a 6 along with a a few doe but over seven days it took 6-10 pictures. I switched the one to video hopefully learn more on how they're moving through the area. The cameras are in an area that last year had 20+ rubs up a slope with an old two track sunk in the ground ten feet or so almost like a faux ridge. These rubs were on 1/2" scrub brush to 4" cedars. I hunted it three times last year on the slope in a hard cold front (in the teens is cold for southern IL) and never saw a deer but got winded from further down the slope. So I'm eager to learn the area but I think it might be more trial and error.


I am. I have one more year of school. Pm me if you wanna get more in details!
LOL I left a number of buddies behind that would scalp me if I gave you more details. I already narrowed down those woods by 95% for you

But I will leave you with this nugget. "Wilkinson Island" ;)

You're welcome. :D
 
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8

86indy

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
34
Location
S. IL
LOL I left a number of buddies behind that would scalp me if I gave you more details. I already narrowed down those woods by 95% for you

But I will leave you with this nugget. "Wilkinson Island" ;)

You're welcome. :D
Sorry for not being clear, I was in reference to my spots. Ive been down that way looking for birds, its just a bit of a hike.
 

Btaylor

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
1,220
Location
Arkansas
Big woods are full of edges once you know what you are looking at. Some are easy to see some are much more subtle. Start paying attention to the vegetation, types, location etc. look for spots where vegetation edges and terrain features come together. If you can find a spot where terrain features and vegetation edges meet that also has a preferred mast tree dropping, even better. Early season can be a difficult time to hunt a primary food source in the morning without bumping deer so keep that in mind as well.
 
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8

86indy

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
34
Location
S. IL
Big woods are full of edges once you know what you are looking at. Some are easy to see some are much more subtle. Start paying attention to the vegetation, types, location etc. look for spots where vegetation edges and terrain features come together. If you can find a spot where terrain features and vegetation edges meet that also has a preferred mast tree dropping, even better. Early season can be a difficult time to hunt a primary food source in the morning without bumping deer so keep that in mind as well.
Ive found a cedar thicket and I think they're using that to bed but I cant say for sure but haven't found a food source yet or at least a tree dropping yet. Also I haven't see rubs yet but that could very well be my fault..
 

Btaylor

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Location
Arkansas
Yeah it's still early for acorns to be falling yet or pretty much any of the mast crops. Is the cedar thicket surrounded by open hardwoods or is there a some other type of area adjacent to it like an over grown field or something? How does the cedar thicket lay in relation to surrounding terrain features such as the head of a draw coming up close to the edge of the thicket? Does it appear the whole thicket is the same age or is there a difference in growth? Those are some of the types of things I would be looking at along with wind directions to make spots huntable. Have you looked at the area on OnX or another topo? A lot of times looking at a topo after you have put boots on the ground can really paint a much clearer picture.
 

smokin x's

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2019
Messages
49
Ive found a cedar thicket and I think they're using that to bed but I cant say for sure but haven't found a food source yet or at least a tree dropping yet. Also I haven't see rubs yet but that could very well be my fault..
Keep in mind that not every area that seems like good bedding, is actually being used. If its being used regularly, or even semi regularly, there will be sign and there will be a good bit of it.

Cedars could be bedding in late season, or a place where they hunker down in heavy sustained wind.

Sometimes food isn't anywhere close to bedding, sometimes its right beside it. Sometimes food isn't immediately obvious, sometimes you couldn't miss it if you tried.

The only way to tell if a bedding area is being used heavily is to get in there and find the actual beds. IMO its a little late in the year to be doing that. Late winter/early spring is the best time to be walking bedding areas IMO. At that time of year you will see what areas are being used heavily, and what areas are not. You want to find beds that are beat down to bare dirt and packed with hair. There should be rubs right in the bed or in very close proximity. Bedding areas with bare dirt beds, droppings, hair, and numerous rubs from multiple years is the goal and a very good indication that it is a primary bedding area and is used in multiple winds.

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smokin x's

Junior Member
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Aug 24, 2019
Messages
49
Yeah it's still early for acorns to be falling yet or pretty much any of the mast crops. Is the cedar thicket surrounded by open hardwoods or is there a some other type of area adjacent to it like an over grown field or something? How does the cedar thicket lay in relation to surrounding terrain features such as the head of a draw coming up close to the edge of the thicket? Does it appear the whole thicket is the same age or is there a difference in growth? Those are some of the types of things I would be looking at along with wind directions to make spots huntable. Have you looked at the area on OnX or another topo? A lot of times looking at a topo after you have put boots on the ground can really paint a much clearer picture.
Mast crops are timed differently depending on where you are in the country and the past years weather. In south central PA its typical for white oaks to be raining acorns this time of year. Due to all the rainfall we've had this year, a lot of oaks are dropping already-not just whites.

On really wet or really dry years oaks will drop early to save energy for the tree. On average weather years they typically will hold acorns later into the year.

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Btaylor

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Jun 3, 2017
Messages
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Arkansas
Mast crops are timed differently depending on where you are in the country and the past years weather. In south central PA its typical for white oaks to be raining acorns this time of year. Due to all the rainfall we've had this year, a lot of oaks are dropping already-not just whites.

On really wet or really dry years oaks will drop early to save energy for the tree. On average weather years they typically will hold acorns later into the year.

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Good point about timing. I didnt mention that specifically because he indicated southern illinois and half or more of my hunting is in extreme north arkansas and timing should be almost identical under normal circumstances. Definitely worth pointing out though.
 

*zap*

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Joined
Dec 20, 2018
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N/E Kansas
In thicker bedding areas you can get the wind in your nose and make a little noise while it is raining lightly and the deer may bust out and not see you. Hopefully the rain wipes your residual scent away and you see them get up and mark the spot from a short distance without going right into that actual bed. Move slow and use binos to increase your visual, stop often and make a little noise as you start going again. Natural noises....if they do not get your sight or your scent you may be good to go.
 
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86indy

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
34
Location
S. IL
Yeah it's still early for acorns to be falling yet or pretty much any of the mast crops. Is the cedar thicket surrounded by open hardwoods or is there a some other type of area adjacent to it like an over grown field or something? How does the cedar thicket lay in relation to surrounding terrain features such as the head of a draw coming up close to the edge of the thicket? Does it appear the whole thicket is the same age or is there a difference in growth? Those are some of the types of things I would be looking at along with wind directions to make spots huntable. Have you looked at the area on OnX or another topo? A lot of times looking at a topo after you have put boots on the ground can really paint a much clearer picture.
This cedar thicket is surrounded by old growth woods, relatively open with very light under brush. Some of the old growth being hardwoods and oaks. The thicket lies on even downward slope with all of the trees being 10-15' in height. Wind is something I still need to find out on the slope. I bought OnX for this specifically but I feel like I might not be utilizing it as well as I could. I might just drop a topo if that helps make up for my poor description of the spot.

I shed hunted this area early this spring and it looked like used the cedars as bedding but might based on the time of year as mentioned. So it seems like I dont have their warm weather bedding figured out. Thank you guys I have a lot more elements to think about before I head in there to check my trail cameras.
 

shaunpm22

Newbie
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
2
I always like to ask the farmers near my hunting grounds when they plan to harvest. Knowing their schedule can help you with timing and placement of our stand/blind.
 

TheArdentOutdoorsman

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Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
33
Location
OH/VA
I like to hunt clusters of oaks in the midwest early season. Check to make sure there is a good acorn fall, dont just assume all oaks are loaded with acorns. Squirrel activity can tell you alot about that also. AG fields in my experience are vacant of mature bucks in daylight once season starts. The mature bucks will sometimes browse on nuts between outside their bedding area then continue on to AG fields after dark. Bedding areas can produce but I like to stay out of their bedroom until prime time aka the rut. When I'm hunting mature deer the last thing I want to do is take a chance at bumping them out of their bed. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
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Never pass an opportunity up to hunt when it’s hot out. I learned the hard way last year. It was 85 degrees out that day and I talked my self out of hunting cause I thought it was too hot. Had a stud in my brassica food plot opening day about 35 yards from my stand...while he was eating at the food plot buffet, I was probably feeding my face too.



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dustin862

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2018
Messages
12
I’m big on watering holes and hunting trail near or around them.


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