Mike: I hunt on 80 private acres, 40 of which are on the west side of a road and the other 40 on the east side. When I sit in a stand on the west side all I see are does, no matter the time, food source or wind direction. When I hunt any of my stands on the east side all I see are small bucks. Not just one or two, but like 5 or 6, with the biggest one maybe a 6-pointer. There is sign of bigger bucks in the area, and locals have seen some big deer on both sides of the road.
So where should I hunt? Wait it out on the east where all the small bucks are, or watch the does hoping for a shooter to show up at some point?–John from Connecticut
John: Strange situation, but here’s what I would do.
Hunt the west side 70 percent of the time and 100 percent of the time during the 10-day peak of your rut in November. If there are signs of big boys in the area, one and probably more of them WILL show up sniffing around the does at some point, hopefully one day in daylight hours when you are in your stand. Be sure to hunt hard at midday-11:00 AM till 2:00 PM-during the rut. A lot of hunters miss their one chance at a hammerhead 8- or 10-pointer by focusing too much on dawn/dusk. They move more at midday than you think!
One thing to remember: Most days during November, you’ll probably have a west to north wind, which could be tricky on the west side of your small property. Try to sneak in and hunt from somewhere to the SOUTH; that way no deer on the west or east sides will smell or see you.
The other 30 percent of the time (outside peak rut) I’d hunt around the best food sources on your 80 acres, or in the direction of the closest corn or other grain, no matter which side of the road that’s on. Set a stand downwind of the thickest cover near the feed or a travel route to and from it, you can never go wrong doing that.