Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Huntography Deer Tour Sets

With the upcoming Huntography Deer Tour many of the hunters are talking about what we are doing to get ready. Many are on Twitter, showing pics of plots, stand locations and gear, others on their blog or youtube. I have no plots this year, all of my cameras were destroyed in a flood so no trail cam pics for me.  Most folks have seen pics of my spots but I have never taken time to explain why I hunt them. Same with a lot of my gear, you see it in pics but I haven’t gone into much detail about what I hunt with or why. Time to fix that. Here is a first installment on where I hunt and the stands I use.

First the spots I have ready. The main one is 18 acres on the mountain. Monteagle mountain in the edge of Marion county in Unit A which has a smaller deer limit than Unit L where I live. This is big hardwoods full of oaks the deer love. One problem, oaks are everywhere so critters feeding on them can feed all over the woods. No real way to pattern them so I hunt trails at junctions and crossing points. Trails are everywhere you look, crisscrossing the woods with little rhyme or reason. I have found a few spots deer use repeatedly so set up on them. My favorite is halfway down a hill on an old stagecoach road. Deer come down a hill from the property next door, cross a tiny creek to wind up within 35 yards of my stand. Another trail comes in on my left. It just goes right through the middle of the woods within 20 yards, another comes out another 20 yards above it. This spot has given up 8-9 deer so far with hopefully more to come. I plan on taking a look at a couple of stand locations a bit deeper into the woods but this spot is hard to beat.

If these trails seem close, they are. I take most of my deer with a bow so most of my stands are in places where I can get that type of shot. No need for 300 yard shots where I am mainly because you can’t see that far. This property has great climbing trees literally everywhere you look. I keep a ladder stand in my favorite spot but use my Summit climbers to stay mobile and hunt other spots.  While this is a mountain the land is gently rolling, heavily wooded and very rural. In fact Great Granpa Tate’s old still is still visible up one of the hollers. Yes we say holler. The area is very old growth timber that is open enough to see a good distance with small heavy thickets of laurel.

What some folks can’t believe is my stand height, a whopping 8 feet off the ground. Yep that is all I use of my ladder stand. I leave the last section of the ladder off and this has worked fine for years. Deer will walk within yards of that stand and not pay any attention to it. Even when I use a climber it rarely goes over ten feet but it works for me.

The other place I have to hunt is in Marshall county just minutes from my house. 30 acres of fairly thick brush that has no food to offer. Deer use it for a bedding area mostly when pressure on surrounding farms gets too heavy. I didn’t see one deer on this place last year but have taken several off of it. It has almost no place to put up a ladder stand or climber so most of the hunting is from blinds. Part of the property backs up to a subdivision but here it is legal to hunt wherever I want on my property as long as shots don’t go toward homes. I know more deer use this spot than I see but because of the thick brush visibility is only 40-80 yards in many places. Yes it is a tough place to hunt but it is the only private land close to me where I have permission. With a lot of work and money it could be made into a good spot but that may never happen.
 I build blinds rather than use popups here this way there is nothing to steal and rebuilding one takes very little time. For some I use whatever is on hand but more and more I am using panels I build at home then take in. Built from 2x2 lumber I make by ripping a 2x4 then cutting to length and cover with fence wire, they are light, easy to set up and brush in. You can use string or zip ties at corners to have one ready to brush in minutes. Covered with local foliage they blend right in. I have additional panels made if I want to add a roof but rarely do. I attach the roof panel to a couple of trees at the back, add a couple of poles at the front corners to hold it up, some plastic on top then pile on some brush.  These are handy on private land where they can stay in place and cheap enough to replace or fix if needed. Many can be built from scraps you can pick up from a building site throw away pile. I do have one ladder stand on this property set up at a creek crossing. I am thinking of maybe adding one or two more but it is tough to do here.

So there is a quick look at the spots I hunt. A couple of ladder stands, a couple of more ground blinds, two Summit climbers, an old Cobra and a Viper X4 and I am pretty well good to go. I will post about my bows and pack next so stay tuned.

Check out last year's tour and pick up the DVD at Huntography


Rudy from Huntography said...

I love the details Tommy. It brings our hunt to life, months in advance. Small strategic strips of land can be honey holes as you've illustrated. I can't wait to see more in this series of blog posts.

Alex said...

Awesome. I've wanted to do something like this for a while with my hunting spots. Unfortunately, I hunt public land and (even though I'd be flattered that they read my post) I'd hate to see someone find and start using my spots :)

Tommy Ellis said...

Thanks guys. Alex you could do a closer shot of where you hunt then blur/black out the gps id.

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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