What time to go into a remote-ish, ridge line stand?

AKMAN

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In our little neck of the woods in Wisconsin, there are a few places that are relatively remote by Wisco standards (not AK standards...;)) that should have relatively low human traffic and relatively good deer traffic. I know that's a lot of relatives, but everything is.

For an early rut (edit),ridge line stand that requires a little bit of hiking in, what time of day do you make the trip in?
The deer numbers are such that one's odds of not bumping a deer over 3/4 to 1 mile of woods are slim.
Doing it in the dark would only make it worse and these spots are far enough from a road or trail that much "trail improvement" would take forever.
(Keep in mind I have to get in a tree and hang an Alpha II before I'm really hunting and a 5:00 AM or 8:30 PM mount/dismount don't sound ultra appealing.)

Some of these spots would likely only be hunted once or twice (max) per year, so do I:

A. Roll the dice and walk in with headlamp and GPS but hunt all day?
B. Ease in at daybreak and hunt mid-morning to evening?
C. Stroll in during the afternoon to only hunt a few evening hours?
 

LostArra

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Would you have tree or trees already picked out and possibly prepped for your stand?

Is this private land or could you expect other hunters?

I'm leaning towards A or B because I like to hunt all day during the rut even if I adjust my location during the day.

I scratch my head about this stuff a lot but if the wind is right I would rather be in a tree than in camp if the bucks are cruising.


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OP
A

AKMAN

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Public land with relatively low hunter density while I was there. I'll hunt our land while my neighbors weekend hunt and public, difficult to access areas on weekdays. (It's a bit of a haul from AK, so I like to be there at least a work week. :))
For more than one of the spots I'm looking at I could get some of the way in during pre-dawn, then finish up when the light came up.
I plan to get in to each site mid summer, prep a tree and drop a pin in the GPS.
 

Stwrt9

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C, you'll be less likely to bump any deer on your way in plus it'll be easier to be quiet getting to your spot and finding a tree without moving around to much. Be very mindful of the wind going in as well as in stand as it is probably the most important factor in being successful or not. i've had a lot of success at spots such as these that you don't step foot in until all the conditions are right ie wind, stand setup, time of year(Rut), Wind, oh and wind again. I use a climber for these such occasions as they are more effective for showing up to an area for ambush situations. Sticks/Hang-ons for me are primarily used on travel corridors or pinch points that i sit at throughout the season depending to weather and wind.

B, for me would be more for peak of the rut. and can be very effective as well but i would only atttempt it during the rut as you don't need to be sitting all day in the early season.

A, would be my last resort gamble. it more effective if you have quick access that you can get into quietly and quickly.

Best of luck!
 
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bowhuntrben

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I would pick A if you have your tree already picked out and can handle an all day sit. I like getting there WELL before it starts to get light to let things calm down. As you say, deer will get bumped, but I find that they aren't bumped as badly in the dark and may come back.
 

LostArra

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AKMAN- (this is a good topic, thanks) this past season I had a stand setup between a feeding and bedding area with tons of sign and traffic but only young deer when I was there both morning and afternoon. End of Dec my wife has to be at airport by 4 am. I deliver her and head to the woods a full hour before my usual time. Froze my butt waiting on the sun but saw 4 bucks and shot the biggest one. I mention this because before I was always "easing in" just before dawn or just after sunup and apparently blowing the place out. I like early.


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elkguide

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Early and late are when the big boys move...... except during the rut and then all bets are off.

If you go in the summer and pick a tree and drop a pin..... enjoy the sunrise. (and sunset)
 

elkyinzer

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A.

During the rut I like to be settled in the stand 1/2 hour before shooting time (about an hour before sunrise). I have a climber and I can go from undressed at the base of my tree to all set up in 15 minutes, without making a peep. I don't improve trails to any spots to not tip off other guys, and use a gps when needed. I use a regular headlamp until I start climbing the tree, but don't shine it all over the place or keep it too bright. I can climb and setup in the dark just fine. I may spook a deer once in awhile on final approach, but without a flashlight I am making more noise so I am ok with the tradeoff. Some guys prefer waiting until dim light to walk in but I have had too many situations where I've been set up waiting on shooting light with deer lingering around. They are so active that first hour I don't know why you wouldn't want to be set up.

Generally on the best days (cold and clear) I hunt all day. If it's hotter than 55 degrees or raining/windy, I'll take a quick break, eat, stretch the legs and reset around 1-3 PM. I look at it this way....anything less than an all day rut sit, your are sacrificing odds of an encounter for comfort. Which is fine, so I pick the best weather days for my all day sits and stay sane when weather is suboptimal. I've shot bucks during the rut at first light, last light, and high noon. During the rut, buck sightings historically peak for me from 8-9 AM and 11-12 AM. I've seen far more bucks in those two windows, during November than any other time frames. Typically there's a pretty long lull from 1 PM until an hour before sunset, then it's good again until dark.
 

timekiller13

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Wait until its light enough to see without a headlamp and work your way in. Hunt your way to the area and then sit all day. This is how I've done it for 10 or so years now. No more stumbling the dark. My experience is that mid morning up to mid day is great during the rut. My 3 largest bucks were all killed during the rut between 10-1300. But I like to be in the stand all day during the rut. You just never know when a hot doe will bring a bruiser by you.
 

Molon Labe

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Depends what you consider early rut. Last week in October is completely different than first week in Nov.
Oct 24th-30th you would be fine hunting scrape lines early morning or before dark.
Halloween through Nov 10th it can be chaos and you should be hunting all day.
Even during the lulls the woods can still be entertaining.
If your time is limited I would just get into the stand 45 minutes before light and sit all day the entire week you are here.
 

Bulldawg

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For me, if I'm not there prior to the sun coming up I feel like I have missed everything. What I would do is this,
1. Figure out the tree I want to be in and mark on the GPS.
2. Use the bright eye tacks on a "trail" or the best way to navigate to the stand quietly.
3. To avoid other hunters knowing where this "trail" is, I wouldn't leave the first bright eye until I was well away from the truck, so have a GPS point marked where the trail begins.
4. I would leave my truck to be in the stand 1 hour before the sun comes up and just be as quiet and ready as you can.

In my opinion this would be the only way for me to feel like I was giving my best effort in the woods. I also wouldn't leave until after dark and any deer that were around my stand were gone.
 

Stan

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I like to be in the area that I know the deer are way before sunup. If I am slipping in right at the break of day or during that magic time I feel like I have busted the whole area (and have more times than I can count by getting into an area too late) This rings especially true if your going to be hunting an area during the rut with lots of sign. There is a long ridge a few miles from the road I hunt that is surrounded by steep thickets that I only hunt when I can get in way before daylight. The times I have tried to do it any other way they have busted me.
Taking that stand will add a bit of time to your setup too if your trying to get in before daylight.. nothing is worse than trying to hang a stand or climb up right as the woods are waking up. Its almost like you have a neon sign pointing at you. Consider leaving the stand at home at hunting from ground level if you can. I kill most of my deer off the ground still hunting in areas just like you mentioned. Take all this with a grain of salt because I hunt mountainous areas in the Appalachians. But.. having hunted big woods bucks in a lot of places the one thing that I have found to always be fairly consistent is that you will see better deer the nastier and thicker the woods look and the further back you go. If you will be hunting around somewhere with fairly decent pressure I would stick with go in early and stay all day.. most people leave the woods around mid day and will push them to you leaving and going back to their evening stands.
 

kda082

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Nothing wrong with getting in early, but I hunt woods in KS and like just a small amount of light when I enter. These are hard woods that are clogged with honey suckle and other and I find I can get in better with less noise when I can see by more than just a headlamp. I figure that during the rut I'm catching deer on feet all day and don't worry too much about that feed to bed pattern. Just my .02.
 

tugrivercopper

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Wait until its light enough to see without a headlamp and work your way in. Hunt your way to the area and then sit all day. This is how I've done it for 10 or so years now. No more stumbling the dark. My experience is that mid morning up to mid day is great during the rut. My 3 largest bucks were all killed during the rut between 10-1300. But I like to be in the stand all day during the rut. You just never know when a hot doe will bring a bruiser by you.

THIS!! I have had the most success hunting this way, hunt your way in, take your time, you could very well kill one on the way in before u even get to the stand.

Like this guy said, i have seen more mature bucks moving at midday during the rut and when hunting pressure is cranked up on public lands. I think either the old bucks think its safer to move midday because they have learned hunters OR most of your other hunters are getting up and moving out for lunch or just walking around cause they aint seen anything that morning and are bumping deer out. Let the other hunters do the work for you and push the deer too you at midday

Shoot for being on stand about 7:30am or so, this should give you plent of time to hunt your way in, and get set up. Still get to hunt "the morning" hours in stand somewhat, and hit the midday bucks and evening as well
 

ezmorningrebel

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i hate the thought of what i might miss going in later and i love watching the sun rise from the stand so A for me.
 

bwlacy

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In southern Ohio where we hunt big ridges most of the large bucks are seen after 9 a.m. Of course there are a few seen and shot right at first light. But the majority of big bucks are killed from 10 to 2. Check the Pope and Young records. Even though I know this I still try to get in early. Usually in Ohio I am sitting down with just enough light to see what I'm doing. I leave the truck in the dark and use a head lamp about 3/4 of the way in. I also usually have over an hour hike in. A lot of the big bucks on the ridges cruise late morning checking the thermals coming up all the draws trying to find the does.


At home in Michigan with lots of pressure I try to be in really early and let the neighbors push deer to me. Really depends if you are hunting near bedding areas or not.
 

PA 5-0

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25 or so yrs ago, I worked as a security guard at a residential juvey facility. 300 acres of beautifulness that was commercially farmed. I drove a van around the "farm" all day. The shit that I saw that first November was simply insane. Monster bucks on patrol in the wide open ALL DAY LONG. That job completely changed how I hunt big bucks in the rut. I killed my first P&Y the following year at 11:30am. I save a couple stand sites for the November madness. When it kicks off, I sneak in around 0900 and hunt the rest of the day. 11a to 3p have been the best for me. I've killed and missed a bunch of monsters around high noon. One other thing I have learned is that they will be moving even if its 90 degrees. One of my biggest was arrowed in Illinois while doggin does at 12:15pm in 88 degree heat. Huntin the rut midday will change your life, swear to God.;)
 

tyeager2964

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I think the key is to not bump deer you are targeting. If you know the general travel routes and can plot a course to your stand that keeps you and your scent away from these then any of your options can and will work. Yes you will occasionally numo deer at any time of the day but most deer still follow normal travel routes even during the rut.

Most hunters who consistently kill mature deer will only hunt areas of target bucks when conditions are right.

That said if you have limited time then hunt when you can. you can't kill anything at home
 

bwlacy

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I think the key is to not bump deer you are targeting. If you know the general travel routes and can plot a course to your stand that keeps you and your scent away from these then any of your options can and will work. Yes you will occasionally numo deer at any time of the day but most deer still follow normal travel routes even during the rut.

Most hunters who consistently kill mature deer will only hunt areas of target bucks when conditions are right.

That said if you have limited time then hunt when you can. you can't kill anything at home

Well said. If you can't get in with out bumping them off a food source, or the wind is wrong then don't waste your time. I will not hunt if I can't get in clean. It took me a long time to learn this. I have less sits now, but they are way more productive. I might have to wait a week or more for some stands, some of my stands might only get hunted once or twice a season.
 
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