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nik

Bow hunting Beltrami Forest

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I was wondering if anyone on this forum has any experience bow hunting the Beltrami Forest. I am new to this area and am having troubles finding deer. The forest is just so big and the terrain is completely out of my comfort level. I just moved to northern MN from the west metro and I am use to hunting food plots or forests that have large amounts of acorns. Trees that are producing acorns in this forest seem to be very sparse. I am obviously not looking for specific spots or anything, I am just curious on how people go about scouting this monster of a forest. Thanks.

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I hunt in similar terrain. Frankly it takes a little trial and error to figure it out but to begin with I'd try to find some sort of funnel area. The funnel may not be as distinct as you'd normally be used to but low boggy areas or some other terrain feature that make deer go a certain direction is a starting point. You aren't really able to hunt a food source in many areas because it seems the deer just browse along as they meander through the woods in what seems like a hap hazard fashion.

Bedding areas can be pretty much anywhere in woods like that. I laugh when a hunting magazine puts a map together and then outlines where the "best" spots are. It's usually a few fields in one direction, a thick "bedding" area in another direction and narrow strips of woods leading to the fields where the pinch points are and ezpz you put your stand up in one of those spots and wait to ambush Mr Big. You are not dealing with something like that.

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Try and find some spots closer to the ag land. Another option would be to go north and west of Baudette, there is scattered state forest land all over patched in with the ag land. Good luck.

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Find logging and work the edges, any clearcut 2-10 years old will hold deer, sometimes they are used for bedding, feeding or both. If there are any trees large enough to hold a stand in the interior of the cutting try those, otherwise work the edges. If you can find where multiple transition lines come together all the better, think swamp next to 4 year old clearcut next to larger timber.

After that focus on bedding, food is everywhere in the bigwoods so if you find the beds your odds will go up. Look for ridges with blowdowns, swamp edges or small pockets of lowland like cedar swamps or spruce swamps. If there are any rivers nearby they can also be gold, deer will bed on the inside corners.

You hit a pretty down time in the population up north, if you can score a deer now you will have earned it the hard way. Once you master the bigwoods all other hunting will become much easier. Good luck!

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Been hunting Beltrami for 35 years or so and it is always changing and challenging. Just when I figure out an area it will get logged or it will be too dry or too wet and the deer pattern changes. There are a lot of areas that look good but they do not all have deer. I have found the best way is to study maps and then hike and hike and hike. I usually pretend to grouse hunt while I am deer scouting. It ain't easy hunting but I enjoy it there. Good luck.

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There is a lot of outstanding advice written above smile

Funnels, edges, water and cover are the key components when I'm hunting an endless woods.

Also as mentioned, logging and clear or selective cuts attract deer to. They create a lot of food and a lot of edges.

But by far my favorite tactic is to find a narrow funnel between two ponds or lakes. The bigger the bodies of water and the narrower the land between them, the better it is.

These can be great hotspots for bucks covering a lot of ground in the pre-rut seek phase.

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I have rifle hunted Beltrami State forest for years (since mid 80's) although I haven't hunted there the last 2 years. Many of the deer I have shot were actually within bow range mainly because of the thick cover.

I agree with 5 bucks, it can be challenging and is ever changing for the same reasons he lists. I have had good years and years where I don't see a deer in 5 or more days of hunting (and I hunt all day). I usually look for areas that may naturally funnel deer movement like high areas between low wet spots, changes in vegatation, etc. It is much more challanging in my opinion patterning deer there than in other parts of the State where you are hunting near fields, food plots, etc. But that also in my opinion makes it much more rewarding when you are successful. You also can have a true "hunting" experience vs. just a shooting one. Hopefully I helped a little. You really just need to get out there and learn the area you are hunting. Good luck!!

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