Timber bucks and how to hunt them.

dioni.a.312

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
431
Location
Nampa, Idaho
Like the title says I'm looking for opinions and info on hunting bucks that hide in timber most if not all the time. I've been working at it for years with mixed success. I've also researched it quite extensively but have yet to find much information dedicated to mule deer specifically.

Have you noticed specific characteristics in the timbered areas that may make them more viable?
Are there any tricks to scouting it aside from trail cameras?
Do you worry much about population density or target individual deer?
Etc.
Thanks in advance.
 

jlhois

Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
410
Location
Boise
Still hunting and tracking and is what I would recommend when approaching quarry in Timber. Personally, I have had mixed success with it, but still learning. Deer are very secure and protected. Swirling wind, loud, cover, etc. Biggest Buck I ever saw never ventured more than a couple feet out of a heavy timber pocket for the 2 weeks I scouted him. Passed on trail cams. Afraid I would blow him out.

Dave Longs/Mike Eastman books puts big focus on spot and stalk techniques. Even those timber bucks will hang in tree lines first and last light. Ambush might be a good option.

Robby does a good job outlining still hunting and it works well in the Timber pockets.

Tracking is still a mystery to me, but try to work on it every time I'm out. Robby outlines this as well.

Hope that is helpful. Maybe start some additional discussion at minimum.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
OP
dioni.a.312

dioni.a.312

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
431
Location
Nampa, Idaho
Thanks for the reply. I believe Robby's book was the best I've read so far. I've even read the tracking books he suggested and Big bucks the benoit way. They were all good but I still feel like I'm going into this venture half cocked. I'm certain that experience will be the best teacher for me but I'm hoping to shorten the learning curve.
I agree that tracking could potentially be effective but I'm not certain that it is worth risking bumping them unless you had good snow conditions. Which is unlikely for most of the season.
 

mcseal2

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,218
After reading Robby's book I purchased a used copy of Kurt Darners book also, it has some really good info. It's similar to Robby's.

I agree with you on tracking without snow. It just requires so much attention to be on the ground instead of on your surroundings it's hard to pull off at least for me.

I think some important keys to shorten the learning curve are:
-scout and KNOW a buck you want is in the area before committing to hunt thick timber
-once you have committed to an area hunt it REALLY slow and careful. You know he is there, you have committed, have patience.
-in line with the comment above, pick a tactic based on conditions not your preference. Don't be afraid to just sit still either.
-try to have several options, later in the season or if one buck gets pushed out, have more options so you can be more aggressive.
-learn the escape routes so that if someone else is hunting the thick stuff you can use it to your advantage.

It's all kinda general, but I don't think there is a magic method to shorten the curve. It just takes time in the field developing the woodcraft, instincts, and patience to be successful hunting thick stuff. I've found it's easier to make myself do with a muzzle loader than with a rifle. Having the ability to shoot further makes me want to be able to see lots of country. I still make sure my rifle scopes have a big field of view on low power and do hunt the thick stuff at times. I practice my short range quick shooting as much or more than my long shots. The plan is always to see the buck first, but being able to shoot fast and well is one of the few variables in hunting you can control, best master it.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
1,717
Location
OR Hunter lost in Florida (WTF was I thinking?)
I can't agree more with 2 points above. Both of these I fail at very badly.

Quick with the gun. I practice a little, but it is just not in my nature to be fast with a rifle. Most of the time I am dazzled by a great buck and then realize that I am hunting instead of just site seeing.

Patience!!!!!! I tracked a big buck right where I new he would be bedded. All I had to do was sit there for 4 or 5 hrs and wait for him to come back out. My attention span would not allow that to happen, and I blew him out.
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
I'd darn sure have to lay eyes on a big buck to have the patience to hunt the thick stuff...
I'm in this thread for more info, I sure ain't an expert here


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bigmoose

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Messages
360
Location
Yerington Nv.
You might want to check out Bucks, Bows, and Campfires by Cal Coziah. Cal was quite a accomplished bow hunter from southeast Idaho. He took several big bucks in their beds in heavy timber and wrote how he did it. He also had some interesting theories on big bucks and elk. I'm sure the book is out of print but you can find a copy on Amazon and ebay every once in a while.
 

westrnwild

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
327
Location
Colorado
IMO some of the biggest bucks i have seen have been timber bucks. I have had limited success myself and strike out more then i care to admit. Granted i cover a lot of country and get really frustrated doing it. The only success i can say that i have had is finding migration corridors on those late season hunts. I am trying to learn the deer close to my house that are heavy timber deer, and i havent been able to piece much together and still not drawing a tag doesnt help. The big bucks i have gotten on however have been just blind luck or I just happen to find a game trail and stick to it and see where it takes me. I have done that method several times and gotten on both bucks and bulls...but my opinion is if your going to do that, go solo..two people are way to loud and tend to travel to fast.
 

topher89

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2012
Messages
706
Location
Colorado
I think it may be worth differentiating between large sections of timber and mixed stands of smaller timber.

The area I hunt is pretty heavily timbered but there are lots of "cracks" and open spaces between them. I usually set myself with in rifle range of a large hillside that is covered with these cracks and wait for bucks to cross from stand to stand. I try to be able to glass far away in each direction and pick up and move one way or the other if need be.
 

idahohikker

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
2,164
Unless you know a heavily timbered area is a migration route or home to a big buck, Id stay in the more open areas. Less work and I see more bucks. I think timber that has some openings and sagebrush patches can be pretty solid.
 

mcseal2

Senior Member
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
2,218
Thought of another thing, timbered saddles can be a great ambush point. In a heavily hunted unit last year I found success by being in position really early and working along a ridge with big canyons on either side. The unit had tons of roads and tons of pressure, but as hunters started up from the bottom with their trucks or 4 wheelers I caught a mature buck sneaking across the top at first light out of the heavily hunted canyon into a smaller one. It wasn't actually in the thick stuff but in a saddle with sparse timber between two thick areas. My buddy got his buck the day before as another hunter spooked it out over a similar saddle around mid day.
 
OP
dioni.a.312

dioni.a.312

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
431
Location
Nampa, Idaho
You might want to check out Bucks, Bows, and Campfires by Cal Coziah. Cal was quite a accomplished bow hunter from southeast Idaho. He took several big bucks in their beds in heavy timber and wrote how he did it. He also had some interesting theories on big bucks and elk. I'm sure the book is out of print but you can find a copy on Amazon and ebay every once in a while.

Sounds like a good read! Ill have to find that one.
 
OP
dioni.a.312

dioni.a.312

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
431
Location
Nampa, Idaho
I think it may be worth differentiating between large sections of timber and mixed stands of smaller timber.

The area I hunt is pretty heavily timbered but there are lots of "cracks" and open spaces between them. I usually set myself with in rifle range of a large hillside that is covered with these cracks and wait for bucks to cross from stand to stand. I try to be able to glass far away in each direction and pick up and move one way or the other if need be.
This is likely what ill end up doing but the areas I'm looking at might not allow a shot that I care to take. I see myself scouting it from a distance but the hunting will probably have too happen in the trees.
 
Top