#1 bedding area setup
#1 Bedding Area Setup
As the intro hunt reveals, hunting doe-bedding area makes my top three list. In fact, if forced to choose just one, this tactic would be it. Ask yourself this question. What do bucks want most during the rut and where can it most consistently be found during daylight hours? Does and doe bedding areas are the answers. Because of that, it only makes sense that doe bedding areas are a great spots to setup.
The real question becomes how to most effectively hunt them. As with most situations, one size doesn’t fit all. However, there are three approaches that work most often.
When one is looking at bedding areas with defined habitat edges, setting upon on the downwind side is often the best approach. Evergreen stands, swamps, marshes, tall grass areas and just about any thicket are all examples of where this can work.
In a perfect world, a stand can be placed in a pinch of some type that constricts the bucks skirting the edge to scent check the does inside. If one doesn’t exists, look for either the most active scrape on the bedding areas outskirts or the best concentration of entrance/exit trails.
All things being equal, strive to set up about twenty yards off the edge. This provides shots just into the bedding area, as well as a chance at bucks cursing as far as fifty or sixty yards off the edge.
Not all bedding areas have edges defined by changes in habitat types. Many are topographic structures.
That was the case with the bedding area that began this article. There the does were bedding on the edge of a wooded flat, right before it dropped sharply down to a wide valley. Knobs and points on ridges and hill sides are other common examples.
Then there are also the head scratchers. Deer bed in this general area, but the only answer as to why is that it seems as good as anywhere.
The mature bucks are able to scent check some of these, somewhat similarly to how they can with the habitat based bedding areas. On a ridge, for example, the mature bucks commonly run just over the downwind edge of the ridge. That allows them to effectively scent check the knobs, points and tops of the entire ridge.
In that case, I like stands setup between that faint trail and the ridge top. Many times, one is able to take advantage of an erosion cut creating a pinch between it and the ridge top. Other times, these setups can be paired with saddles.
In each case, my goal is to setup stands on both sides of the ridge, between the pinch or trail and the top. Most often, that allows one to shoot both side trail and top of the ridge. With stands on both sides, the wind will tell the hunter which to sit that day.
Finally, there are the situations where you simply must get inside the bedding area. I’m afraid that only those taking odor control to the extreme should attempt this, as deer are sure to be downwind.
Also, there isn’t even a loose formula for where to setup. I simply strive to setup downwind of the best concentration of sign.