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fr0sty

When did your scrapes go dead?

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Mine basically dried up after opening morning. I assume that's due to my hunting pressure. Just curious what you noticed in your area. Anyone in 240 would be especially helpful.

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I have game cameras on 4 different scrapes. Very little day time visits. Have pictures at night tell Monday Nov 10 after that they did not stop at the scrapes just passed. The rut in our woods was very short. zone 242

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hunting pressure can throw everything off but aside from that if a buck finds a doe that's close enough to her cycle he will skip the scrap line to stick with her. then it's time to find the does and that's where the bucks will be.

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I think our does got taken care of before the snow! We had 3 to 6 does every evening around the stands and just a little fork showed up!

The snow sure changed things.

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Geez, wonder what made the big guy dash off like that?

Our scrapes went dead opening weekend in 172. I made a pretty long mock scrape line last weekend and it was never touched.

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I had fresh scrapes and rubs in zone 342 last week. Scrapes and rubs were made after the snow, so later in the week. Haven't been out since. Cameras are still going though.

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Is this what the pros refer to as the "lockdown" stage? When the bucks find their doe in estrus and just stick to her like glue until they consummate the marriage?

I've talked to several folks now who experienced the same thing on their hunting properties. Lots of sign and animals around Fri before the opener, and then Sat morning, on the heels of the cold and snow, everything went dead quiet.

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That's kind of what I was wondering. If it was hunting pressure or does coming intro estrus that moved them off the scrapes. I had a doe and two fawns come by my stand Wednesday evening looking like they didn't have a care in the world. Maybe she had been bred already?

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I'm in area 240 frosty of course with a name like O.T.C there's a good chance of that. Area 240 might have the best buck to doe ratio in the state and I saw once again more bucks than does this year, my gut feeling is we saw many buck with does the week b4 gun season and I think in some parts most were bred only to have the ugly opening weekend winds and the deer scent checking their trails and our stands leading to a lot of nocturnal breeding which is normal anyway which took care of most of the does. By legal light, they were bedded tight and not trusting their ears and noses they waited for dark and quickly found human scent everywhere which spared a lot of deer this season. Then throw snow in the mix on Monday which can make them quite skittish that first snow of the year and then it was wind again. The scrapes I was hunting went dead a few days b4 opener in both places within area 240 that I hunt, they were not visited again as my tcams with new batteries caught nothing but a yearling buck looking scared. This is the first year no one in our hunting party(s) saw a buck chasing a doe and there's about 20 of us out there on different farms and river bottoms.

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Interesting observations OTC. Very interesting.

Like I stated a week ago, it's going to be really interesting to see what's out there during the muzzleloader season this year! wink

I'm counting (hoping) on seeing several nice bucks running about.

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My experience also. I'll be checking my cams weekend after Thanksgiving. It will be interesting to see if any visits took place since firearms.

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I agree Canopy Sam, I'm plenty fired up for muzzleloader more so than any other year, very few went down by rifle and there's plenty around, but to slide into an area and see muzzy daylight movement has never been an easy task especially when I have zero food sources to hunt and the darn things are bedded down b4 legal light much of the time. Most important reminder for me now is......trigger pull is nothing like my 30.06, need to remember that if I plan to fire, longer trigger pull, stay down on the deer, most get missed high would be my guess, on occasion I'll see a fresh scrape in the snow on Thanksgiving as I scout a little, have yet to see the buck return though kinda like the dead rifle scrapes I was watching this year, for me the earlier rifle opens the better chance he'll check his scrape(s) and or add to them. They were already with does this Nov. 8th in my area, about Halloween we saw some chasing, but an abrupt end come Nov. 8th, sure in the night of course some of that had to be going down per usual.

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Well I checked 3 scrape areas on 3 different pieces of land muzzying this weekend and none have been touched since early November, barely even a track near any of em. They are food/water driven animals now and my dad who is on the road early every AM in great deer country is seeing nothing. Evenings the last 15 minutes if lucky otherwise a good hour after dark a neighbors cornfield fills with deer but by the time I drive by in the AM to hunt 5:30ish it's barren like nothing was there so they're leaving the fields plenty early. We all hope 1 will make a mistake and on occasion that happens, if you want to see deer you need to organize a solid deer drive or have a solid food source way off the road with thick cover right up to it if you're in fairly pressured areas right now. Wish that wasn't the pattern year after year but it is. I regularly talk to 8 or so muzzy hunters in 240 and the weekend tally was 1 fawn sighting other than the doe and fawn I saw and these guys are on good soil with lots of deer around, leaf river bottom stuff, but nothing moving.

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Yep. OTC. You're right on. Find the food, and you'll find the animals.

Only suggestion I would make though, if you don't mind....you'd be surprised at how many animals will stay in the standing corn 24/7.

On a day with a little wind to cover your sound, and so you know which way your scent is blowing, you'd be amazed at how close you can stalk up to deer in standing corn.

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True Canopy Sam but not always, everyone around the talk was the 120 acres that was standing just a few days ago, must be tons of deer in there, I hunt that farm alone, we surrounded that thing and watched and a doe and 2 fawns came out of it, the farmers in the John Deere's and the new CAT combine said we're primarily watching the rows and not looking but our semi drivers are etc. and you guys etc. Let me CB them and ask as I was in listening in the combine, 3 deer was it and that happens more often then not as I ask all the farmers always how much sign or how many deer came out on the north 80 etc. it's generally very very few and I'm always as surprised as everyone else like no way cmon. But then we'll go drive my uncles 20 acres and kick out a dozen and the next day after stinking it up drive out 6 more etc. so idk what to make of it, could it be irrigated stuff 0 and not as well kept stuff they hold in it better idk and here it's been plenty cold, food is #1 for the deer, the last standing field around, 120 acres and a doe and 2 fawns in there the other day ???? Realize I had roughly 2,000 deer pictures from Sept.-present within a 1/2 mile of that standing field so there's plenty plenty around. The combined field of 40 acres across the gravel is the one I mentioned earlier, drive by that with snow/moon shining and it's just caked each night and they're gone by 5:00AM. But I agree Canopy Sam even if they're not staying in it or are hunt the edge of it as all those cobs are gone and they follow the irrigator tire tracks for their trail so to speak. Most of the deer where I'm at now aren't going to corn just yet, most are in my dads freshly seeded alfalfa field or the neighbors still, the corn is a cartwheel across the gravel and I'd assume they make their rounds in there late late and back to the alfalfa b4 bedding. I've never had good luck with corn or cornfields yet idk why lol.

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Interesting article that I thought kind of fit on this thread.

Deer “know” when hunting season starts and react accordingly, disappearing into nooks and crannies of the landscape where they become almost invisible.

Every hunter has heard that tale. It turns out there's truth to it.

Researchers from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are entering Year 2 of a five-year deer and forest study. It's being carried out on four sites, each measuring 25 to 40 square miles, in Bald Eagle, Rothrock and Susquehannock state forests.

The study has several goals, including:

• Examining deer impacts on forest health and the effectiveness of the measures to monitor it.

• Determining how hunters use the deer management assistance program and how they react to changes in the deer population.

But something else is proving interesting.

As part of their work, researchers have put collars on deer — including bucks that have survived two hunting seasons — and tracked their movements. GPS collars transmit data about deer locations. That occurs every five to six hours in winter, spring and summer and every three hours during archery season. It increases to every 20 minutes during the two-week firearms gun season.

Information collected thus far shows deer react — and not in a small way — to the orange army of hunters nearly 800,000 strong each gun season.

“Their behaviors in archery season, there's nothing to suggest these deer are being impacted by the hunting that's going on to any great extent,” said Duane Diefenbach, leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and one of the study's leaders. “But once the rifle season begins, we see some pretty dramatic differences. Some of these bucks will leave their home range and go places we've never seen them in the previous 10 months. It's pretty amazing.”

Equally so is how sensitive those collared whitetails are to pressure, Diefenbach said. They change their patterns almost immediately on the Sunday before the opening day of deer season — when hunters enter the woods to check on their stands, make a last scouting trip or burn off the energy of anticipation — and then go back to their normal routine within a day of the season ending, he said.

“It's like flipping a switch,” Diefenbach said.

And where do all those savvy bucks and does go?

Wherever hunters can't, don't or won't, said Chris Rosenberry, head of the deer and elk section for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and a biologist involved in the study.

He cited the example of one savvy buck. It climbed about 400 feet higher in elevation once hunting season started than it had before and moved further into the woods, so it was about 1,000 yards from the nearest road.

That kind of reaction was typical of deer that survived the season, he said.

“These animals were in areas that are not readily accessible. They went beyond where the hunters were,” Rosenberry said.

It's not true that they become largely nocturnal, Diefenbach said. That commonly held notion appears to be “a lot of bunk,” he said.

Rather, Rosenberry said, deer retreat to places hunters aren't.

“Every one of these animals, if they survive two hunting seasons, have places that either no one goes or that are just so thick. Unless you did a drive, they're just going to walk circles around you,” he said.

Diefenbach said he hopes to send people to walk the ground where these deer hide to see what those spots look like.

In the meantime, the deer are making good use of them. Hunters killed only about 10 percent of collared does and 20 to 25 percent of collared bucks in Year 1 of the study, Diefenbach said.

That so many deer survived is not surprising, at least when it comes to does, Rosenberry said. Multiple studies have shown 85 to 90 percent of does survive hunting season no matter how long the season.

The low buck harvest rate was a little more unexpected, he said. But, he added, as the study is revealing, perhaps they shouldn't be.

“The odds are stacked against the hunter,” Rosenberry said. “These deer are not nearly as predictable as hunters would like them to be.”

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Excellent article, think most of could assume that is the way it goes down especially today. I'd highly question the nocturnal statement for MN farmland deer with the volume of pressure it receives. Then again much of my thoughts are how windy the last couple seasons seemed to be and that hunkers them down so maybe with calmer winds etc. one might see some slipping up a bit more often in daylight.

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