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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a first year deer hunter and am having a heck of a time being successful. I'm a lifelong duck hunter who moved to Fayetteville from Little Rock about 1 1/2 years ago. I am reaching out for help, bk I just don't have any experience with this sport. I bought my first bow, climbing stand and other gear about a month ago and started hunting Wedington. I have read a lot of articles and talked to some people about this sport, but I'm still having a tough time with it. I've learned that there is a HUGE difference between reading an article about deer hunting and deer hunting itself :smack:.

I know it will take years and lots of leg work to get "good" at it, but I was hoping to be a little better than I am right now. I have the climbing part down, and the shooting down, but I can't FIND THE DEER :banghead:!!!

I know I'm supposed to look for the food this time of year and I will find the deer, BUT I don't know where to look for the food. I'm lost and don't have the experience to tell me where to go or what to look for.

Anyway, since Wedington is closed for the year, I will be heading out to Hobbs or Madison County to finish out the year. Does anyone have any tips they are willing to share about these WMA's? I promise I'm not much of a threat..... I''m just tired of hiking my butt off every time just to sit in a tree and wonder what I'm doing wrong.

Thanks in advance for any help you are willing to send my way :up:
 

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I hunt Wedington and Madison. Don't feel bad. I didn't even see a deer while I was hunting Wedington this year. I have a few friends that killed nice bucks out there but it is hard hunting.

Madison county is my favorite. The north side seems to hold more deer but I have seen the biggest rubs I have ever seen anywhere on the south side. This time of year my experience is that the deer don't move much in the am. I see them mid morning once the frost burns off, if we actually get cold enough for frost. Then I see them again in the evenings coming into the food plots. By this time they have made it through two gun permit hunts and a decent amount of bow pressure. They won't just come strolling into the food plots unaware. My best luck is finding a heavy trail leading up a draw into the plots. Set up on it in the timber 30 or so yards before the plot. The bucks and leary does will come in on those trails and basically wait for shooting light to fade then slip into the plots. Setting up a ways out gives you the chance of catching them.

I am by no means a pro, heck I didn't even put anything on the ground yet this year, but this is what I have experienced over there historically. Maybe it will help you out, maybe it won't. Good luck either way.
 

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Discouraged

It's easy to get discouraged and want to be successful in a fast way; there lies your problem; learning patience is a top concern; there are lots and lots of books on this subject but NOTHING beats firsthand experience; learn to be quiet, no matter what; while most of the deer are killed while climbing a tree, some of the BEST lessons are done while still hunting, moving along in the woods at a very, slow,slow pace; while using this method, keep wind in your face; only move after an intense look around you; it may take you an hour only to move a few yards; make sure you carry bino's as well; also go to your local pro shop and just sit around and listen to the "old-timers" who kill deer; find out names in your area of guys who are successful at killing deer and drive by and ask questions; they won't take you to their spots but wil give out some good pointers;

If you don't kill a deer this year or even in a couple of years, don't get discouraged and sell your equiptment; be in the woods at every given chance and learn good woodsmanship; learn to be stealthy, learn the up-most patience, and by all means learn to be still and quiet; you will never learn until you get out there; ALWAYS keep the wind in your favor; also remember that squirrel season runs all summer long now in Arkansas; what a GREAT way to learn how to deer hunt; if you become a GOOD and I mean GOOD squirrel hunter, then you won't have no problems in killing deer; the squirrels use the same food source as do deer; if you can kill your limit in squirrels on a consistent basis, then you can also fill your deer tags as well;

Remember, PATIENCE, PATIENCE AND THEN MORE PATIENCE; it will come the more you are out there; remember as well, squirrell season opens in middle may and runs all summer long; the smae trails that deer makes now, will be there in the summer as well; find your major food sources and hunt, hunt, hunt; if you make mistakes, learn from them; good lucl and if you need any more help, you can find me here; just pm me................rem
 

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X is right, Weddington has produced some nice bucks but is hard hunting, i never hunted Hobbs but have seen alot of deer while driving around out there.Madison Co is where it's at in my opennion, I have a friend with some land bordering the WMA and the numbers and quality of deer are good. It's always tuff this late in the season but look for heavily used trails, fresh droppings and always mind the wind. I don't care how much scentblocker suits, sprays or whatever other crap you buy you can never completely be scent free. You should also try Bella Vista, it's leagle to bow hunt fairly low pressure and has some Nice bucks. Hang in there, if you put in the time you will eventually be successful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
THExONE - I appreciate your help! Thanks for the pointers on location and how to set up my stand. That helps a ton!:up:

remhunter - Thanks for your advice! I am definitely not going to sell any equipment and just quit! I honestly don't know how to just quit! I know you're right about first hand experience. That's why I am going to just keep hiking around and trying my luck every chance I can. I know it will take a long time to figure this sport out and I will just keep on tryin.

Maybe I'll see you out at Madison THExONE :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Natural1. I use all the scent free stuff like laundry detergent, shampoo and soap and sprays. I will just take is slow and try not to sweat when hiking...

Here's a question for you guys. In this late season, do you use any scent lure spray??? I didn't know if it's too late to use doe pee or if it still works this time of year. I heard to just hunt the food and forget the rest, but I am looking for anything that can help me lure them in on a WMA.

THANKS GUYS!
 

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Don't get discouraged. I hunted for 5 seasons before before I actually harvested an animal. I got busted SEVERAL times, missed mre than I care to admit. Learn from every mistake. That being said if you can find any honey suckle that hasn't been picked clean, it will probably draw a der this time of year. If you can put out corn or ricebran this time of year they definately seem to draw a crowd. Public ground makes your taks even more difficult. Just remember........Don't gt discouraged and quit !!!
 

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I'm a 34 year hunter and hate to break it to you, but it don't get better with time at least not for me. I get discouraged just as much today as I did 34 years ago. But really that's the beauty of deer hunting for me. If it was easy, we would not have deer, or at least big deer. And when lady luck leans on you, you know you have accomplished something. There is nothing sweeter than to harvest a trophy, whether its a big doe or small buck for the beginner or a 160 inch buck from the seasoned hunter, the feeling of accomplishment is a natural high. It's better than sex! And that ain't no BS. So keep on hunting and don't give up and you will see.
 

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Thanks Natural1. I use all the scent free stuff like laundry detergent, shampoo and soap and sprays. I will just take is slow and try not to sweat when hiking...

Here's a question for you guys. In this late season, do you use any scent lure spray??? I didn't know if it's too late to use doe pee or if it still works this time of year. I heard to just hunt the food and forget the rest, but I am looking for anything that can help me lure them in on a WMA.

THANKS GUYS!
I never use any scents or lures anytime of year. Just my personal preference but I think the best scent is no scent. I believe that any scent you bring into the woods that is not "normal" to them is not good. It may draw a young curious buck in but I don't think it is good for regular use. I know people use it and have success but I think those are far less in numbers than the hunter that uses nothing.

I do think that a good grunt tube and bleat can are the best tools if used correctly. Just give some different things a try and see what works for you.

Shoot me a message sometime and I would be happy to go stomp around in the woods sometime.
 

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I'm up in Fayetteville and hunt Wedington.

X is right about Wedington, its hard. I didn't even see a deer my first year. Had some success this year. Don't be too discouraged. If it was easy, killing a deer wouldn't be so much fun! Pm me if you want to go out to Wedington and walk around.
 

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everyone says hunt food I hunt 90 percent bedding areas with 100 percent success by no means a pro but i see deer at least 90 percent of the time in the mornings and 50 percent in the afternoons. use google earth to locate food plots and thickets u might just be suprised
 

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Get out without your hunting gear and scout. Walk out the ridges, benches, saddles and drains. Figure out where the travel routes are. While scouting, look for all rubs on saplings or trees. This time of year is great for scouting rubs. Any bucks that made it though season will use the same rub lines next year. Look for old scrapes, because the same holds true. Scrapes are generally made in the same areas year after year. Connect a line of rubs and hunt the line. Hunt all active scrapes. Scout hard this winter and make soem notes. Scout early next season in September. You WILL see rubs if the bucks are there. Come season, set up a tree along a good scrape or rub line and get your buck! Rememeber big rubs=big bucks.
 

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X is right, Weddington has produced some nice bucks but is hard hunting, i never hunted Hobbs but have seen alot of deer while driving around out there.Madison Co is where it's at in my opennion, I have a friend with some land bordering the WMA and the numbers and quality of deer are good. It's always tuff this late in the season but look for heavily used trails, fresh droppings and always mind the wind. I don't care how much scentblocker suits, sprays or whatever other crap you buy you can never completely be scent free. You should also try Bella Vista, it's leagle to bow hunt fairly low pressure and has some Nice bucks. Hang in there, if you put in the time you will eventually be successful.
Legal....yes....
Low pressure....not by my house....

They go noctural about the middle sept. from all the yahoos that are "scouting" and then "hunting"....I'll start seeing them in daylight again in about a month.....
 

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Keep your head up. It took me 7 years to get my first deer with a bow (sad, I know). It'll happen. Keep doing the right stuff and you're bound to get a deer. It takes many hunters a few years before they connect. You're more of the rule, and not an exception. Keep at it.
 

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Keep your head up. It took me 7 years to get my first deer with a bow (sad, I know). It'll happen. Keep doing the right stuff and you're bound to get a deer. It takes many hunters a few years before they connect. You're more of the rule, and not an exception. Keep at it.
I'm even sadderer.....It took me longer than that....missed a bunch of deer before I finally killed one.....
I even quit two or three times.....just couldn't resist the temptation to be in the woods.....

Keep at it, you'll figure it out.....
 

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I know how you feel this was my first year hunting without my grandpa with me I never killed a deer, but I will be ready for Sept. Im going to get me a deer anyway I can compound, crossbow, or gun. I quit setting my goals to get a big stud next season I will take what I can get.
 

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I saw a ton of deer out at Wedington this year, saw a a little buck and a few does while squirrel hunting just yesterday! So, they are out there, its just a patience issue. Also the woods are big, so I don't think its a location issue, there are deer everywhere. Scout A LOT and when you think you have found a good area they are traveling in, set up and wait. Many times I walk up on deer and spook them off, so there's my first sign deer are in the area, I watch them run away to see where they go for safety, then find deer paths which are easy to spot, so I already have a good idea of an area and set up according to wind/situation.

As far as hiking into a bedding area, good luck, there are way too many leaves and its too loud. Just look for rubs, scrapes, deer paths, and know that deer bed down in all the thick stuff (usually* in low areas) and move to eat on the acorns in the open woods(usually*on the hillsides/ridge tops). When you see trails leading from these areas this is a sign there may be deer there, but you have to just wait and hope. I haven't been out to Madison yet, but I imagine the terrain and tactics would be the same.

It's getting very tough right now because a lot of the food is covered up, it's kinda magical that they survive to me as I don't know what they are eating out there, and I don't waste time hunting one little honey suckle or something. These kinds of food sources can be happening one day and stripped clean the next, focus on established beat down trails. Doe's will always use them, and once bucks get back into routine, they will use them also. I also have a theory that the public land deer are smarter, I seem to have my best luck the first day I hunt an area. Once they get spooked they quickly look for new ground and avoid that area for a few days, so I move around locations quite a bit. Also for the record I never shot a deer out there this year, I saw/let a few walk (including a monster) so there should be a couple nice bucks out there for us all next year !
 
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