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Wild Willie

To Move OR Not To Move - Quick Decision Required?

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Lets say you are making your way to a morning set-up spot. You have about 60 minutes until first light. You have scouted this particular spot a couple of times and have even analyzed it by viewing aerial photos and topos. To your left/west is a big lake with a steep bank that drops straight down to the lake at about a 45 degree angle (for the entire length). The lake is about 1-mile long and your set-up spot is right smack dead in the middle of the length of the lake, about 5 yards from the drop off and 15 yards from the trail. You deem it a great ambush/blind location, because deer heading north up to, or south down from, a bedding area will not see you until it's too late. You can't set-up to the east because the terrain goes up at too steep of an angle.

You know deer work the trail in both directions, to and from a bedding area, under a group of cedars, just 75 yds north of your ambush position. There are many secondary escape and travel trails branching off the primary trail away from the lake.

Here is where a quick decision was required. You're about 50 yards from the set-up spot, when you notice two sets eye reflections, caused by the light of your head lamp, glaring back at you from the bedding location. They are stationary and do not move.

Here are your three obvious choices:

1) Keep sneaking your way up along the trail as planned and hope the deer stay put?

2) Freeze, and back down the trail and locate a good secondary position on the trail?

3) Slowly cross over the trail to your right up a knoll/ridge that would conceal you from the pair of glaring eyes. You know on top the knoll you would be concealed from the bedding area, and have a good look down where the primary trail, secondary trail and a couple of escape routes meet. There would be two 25 yard to 30 yard shooting lanes.

There was a slight breeze from the northwest that day. What would you have done?

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BUSTED! okay its not soo bad. I know it sounds stupid but hoot like an owl. the deer will probably skit off but not too alarmed. Its also morning and dark. DARK IS YOUR FRIEND! deer dont seem to be as disturbed when something goes bump in the night. but from here I would be as quiet as possible and sneak with a random stop and go "deer walk" to the stand. Humans are the only animal in the woods that dosent stop when they walk or listen for five mins if they do stop. Also make sure you use colored lenses so you dont spook as many deer. Or preferably lose the light altogether. you will be suprised as to how much you can see once your eyes adjust to the dark. The best deer hunters I know take the old school no light approach. on the darkest of nights a small pen light may be all that is needed.

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I agree. Because it is still an hour before light, I would slowly continue to my stand.

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you say you know your hunting area, save your batterys for tracking.

that time of the day the deer are still feeding and just resting before moving of to morning beds, back off and move futher down the trail system. if the wind is wrong wait for another day.

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Hey -

Did this happen at a certain controlled city archery hunt? If so I know exactly the spot you are referring to smile

I vote for setup in the secondary location - although...

Once when it was raining 30 min before light I literally walked right past 2 bedded deer 15 yards away. They were not the least bit alarmed - I did not notice them initially as I was slowly walking scanning for that 'perfect' tree. I figure my deerlike walking kept them calm (and lack of crunching leaves).

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What to do? what to do? I agree with Bassboy your busted. Even if they didn't spook and run, they know something is up. They can still be spooked and sit if they think it is safest. I would back off and move down a ridge or two, with the wind in your favor. Who knows some of the less experienced Does may circle around leaving the bed and present you with a target. If you stay, I really don't think there is a good chance they will walk in the direction of possible danger. Were they bucks, hmmm? I don't think it is very likely unless they had CWD.

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