GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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coming back. By hunting trails circling around it, especially in woodlands where less ground cover is present, less scent is left behind while entering and leaving stand sites and there's just less disturbance overall. The more easily traveled periphery also provides tremendous ambush sites for bucks patrolling downwind of the bedding areas while scent check- ing for does or a safe spot to bed. Coupling this tactic with a stand location where deer are entering and leaving the early successional habitat is a recipe for success. Depending on a property's habitat management plan, ear- ly successional habitat may remain in one location or be moved around the property. Of all the habitat types it is one that requires a lot of help to maintain because periodic dis- turbance is required. Luckily disturbance can come from many sources and can even be a result of an income produc- ing management activity. By understanding habitat types and how wildlife uses them on your hunting property, the stage is set for many memorable and fulfilling hunts.X Gamekeeper Tip Figure 8 Scent Trails When leaving a scent trail in a straight line you've only got a fifty-fifty chance the buck will follow the trail in your direction. Half of the time they follow it in the wrong direction, even with a real doe's trail. They're searching for the "goodies" at the end of the trail so even if they do follow it in the wrong direc- tion, when they get to where you started the trail and don't find what they're look- ing for, sometimes they'll fol- low it back in your direction. It might not happen immediately; a buck may come back several hours later and follow the trail back the opposite way. In fact, some bucks will go back and forth several times on a scent trail so if a buck crosses your trail and heads the wrong way don't give up hope. A cure-all for this problem is a "figure 8" scent trail. Create your scent trail in a large "figure 8" and place yourself downwind of the inter- section of the 8. This way regardless of where the buck cuts the trail or which way he follows it, eventually he'll wind up in front of you. You have to use your judg- ment; this may or may not be the best way for you to leave a trail. Maybe you'll make too much of a commotion or contami- nate the area too much with human scent to make this tactic work properly, but this method has fooled mature bucks time and time again. Great scents to try are Trail's End #307 during early season and Special Golden Estrus closer to the rut. Fire is an excellent tool for creating and maintaining early successional habitat. The eastern red cedar competition was removed from this field allowing a huge number of plants to germinate and take its place. © Brad Mormann #farmingforwildlife 115

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