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Old 10-05-2016, 01:57 PM   #1
Mallard1100
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Quest For an ADK Buck...

This will be my 4th season hunting the Adks. I have learned a ton in those 4 years and have gottne close to deer, scouted and found endless sign, but have yet to bag my first Adk buck. I covered alot of ground and being out of state I have not had the most time to hunt the entire season and take advantage of the snow for tracking. I have run cams and gotten some pictures of some great bucks just never could catch up to any. With that said, the season is near and I'm getting fired up. Lets here some stories/share some info on how you bagged your first Adk buck or any bucks after for that matter. What strategy has worked for you? Still hunting, tracking, sitting a stand mid day during the rut, grunting/calling/scents etc. Time of year? 2nd, 3rd week of November etc. Time of day, weather etc. Lets bring it all together and talk about what you have done to consistantly bag that elusive ADK Buck.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:26 PM   #2
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Quest For an ADK Buck...

I spent years and years still hunting,sitting on stands,and a few drives. Only saw tails! Then one early morning I crashed through a spruce swamp into a stand of 3 foot tall new growth spruce on the swamps edge. I stopped to look for an easy path through and saw a antlered head looking at me 10 feet away. I brought my rifle up thinking the head would turn into a tail quickly,but alas I was able to aim between the eyes and fired. Took out two molars and dropped like a stone. A nice 5 pointer for my first ADK buck. No wasted meat at all! Pure luck of seeing the buck after putting in the time and being confident of my shooting ability.


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Old 10-05-2016, 04:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mallard1100 View Post
This will be my 4th season hunting the Adks. I have learned a ton in those 4 years and have gottne close to deer, scouted and found endless sign, but have yet to bag my first Adk buck. I covered alot of ground and being out of state I have not had the most time to hunt the entire season and take advantage of the snow for tracking. I have run cams and gotten some pictures of some great bucks just never could catch up to any. With that said, the season is near and I'm getting fired up. Lets here some stories/share some info on how you bagged your first Adk buck or any bucks after for that matter. What strategy has worked for you? Still hunting, tracking, sitting a stand mid day during the rut, grunting/calling/scents etc. Time of year? 2nd, 3rd week of November etc. Time of day, weather etc. Lets bring it all together and talk about what you have done to consistantly bag that elusive ADK Buck.
Mallard,
It'a challenging quest to bag an Adirondack buck. Keep trying.
You mention that you've covered lots of ground.
Choose an area and get to know it intimately.
Covering a lot of territory is usually unproductive, all you'll see are tails.
I've found that Veterans Day is a good time to hunt.
By then, the leaves are down and the rut is in full swing and you may have the bonus of snow cover to improve your hunt.
Just remember that although you can see better in the woods, the deer have the same advantage.
Jim
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:27 PM   #4
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Four years is a pretty good run.

But it depends on where you go, how you hunt it, when, and for how long. There's a lot of land and not a lot of deer in the ADKs. There are guys in my camp who have gone 17 years between bagging a buck. Some do it a few years in a row and then nothing for five years.

BTW, Jim hates walking.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:40 PM   #5
bioguide
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My Adirondack deer quest started in 2012 and ended with a spike on the last day in the last hour of my 7 day hunting trip in the regular gun season of 2015. I was still hunting my way out of the woods and I looked over my right shoulder and there he was. Prior to that I spent a lot of time scouting areas in the spring, summer, and fall using my 3 trail cameras along the way. I finally settled down in an area where I know deer and bear are active including a 9 and 4 pointer captured on camera (maybe I'll take one of them this year???). I still and stand hunt. I haven't had the opportunity to track in snow but I would give it a try. We'll be heading off to that area next week for the entire week of muzzle loading season and then again during the regular season for 12 days leading up to Thanksgiving. While tagging a deer is thrilling; for me the solitude of hunting and just being in the Adirondacks is what matters the most...but like I said a big Adk buck sure would be thrilling...

I've video documented my quest, including the scouting, starting from May 2014 through last years take. I continue with the video documentation for this year as well.

The video play list links are below:

May 2014 - November 2015 Adk Deer Quest:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...OHwHd9FkDqKssq

2016 Adk Deer Quest:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...pQi72r0guc4DC8
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:56 PM   #6
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Great stuff so far guys. I believe this is actaully my fifth season. Absolulety love the experience like bio guide said. I live and hunt in NJ so its great to just be able to roam and cover ground and enjoy the peace and solitude. I belong to a club so basically each year is getting better and better as I learn every spot in and out along with new logging on our property. I have catalogued yearly rub and scrape sites as well, so I think it will come together for me eventually. The camp life to me is just as enjoyable as the hunt as I'm the youngest guy in camp by far (31) so its great just taking it all in from the older guys. Flyrodder, we have a similiar experience in my club as well. Some guys have hunted for far longer then me without bagging a buck while others have had a few success streaks. Our biggest deer have come from those with the discipline to sit a proven area for whole days at a time. I wish I could get up longer as well but with a baby and wife at home I get up for a few days around muzzy and the opener then 5 or 6 days in mid November. Cant wait!
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:59 PM   #7
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Four years is a pretty good run.

But it depends on where you go, how you hunt it, when, and for how long. There's a lot of land and not a lot of deer in the ADKs. There are guys in my camp who have gone 17 years between bagging a buck. Some do it a few years in a row and then nothing for five years.

BTW, Jim hates walking.
F.R.
Walking without seeing equates to seeing tails.
The secret is to see the deer before he sees you.
I'll discount the "Jim Hates Walking" because you don't know anything about me.
I don't know why you would have said that.
But, on second thought, i agree.
Stomping through the woods will seldom be successful.
Jim
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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If I don't at least bag a turkey this season, I'll feel like a total failure when it comes to ADK hunting. I see those buggers all along the main roads and on people's lawns just chilling...never see them on hikes though.
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:37 AM   #9
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Mallard1100
I have hunted the Dacks for many years and have never found a more enjoyable and challenging place to hunt deer. I live in the foothills of the ADK Park and can walk out my back door just about any day of the week and harvest a deer but it is not the same as taking a Buck in a more remote wilderness area. I have taken ADK Bucks stand hunting, still hunting and tracking. Tracking has always been the best way of taking a Buck consistently. The problem is that you need snow! My second best way has been to still hunt. I shot my first Buck in a heavy snowstorm and my last one, a beautiful 10 point on a warm, rainy October morning and I have not wanted to shoot another since. I think that I'm getting soft in my old age I just recently retired and all my life I looked forward to hunting and fishing as much as possible. I still love to go out every year but have not had the desire to harvest one. Hopefully one day the desire will return. You have your whole life ahead of you so if you hunt long and hard you will eventually be successful. I wish you the best of Luck! You will cherish the memory forever when you do get your first ADK Buck.
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
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Arrow

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Originally Posted by Hard Scrabble View Post
F.R.
I'll discount the "Jim Hates Walking" because you don't know anything about me.
I don't know why you would have said that.
Because It seems like when this kind of topic comes up, you say that hiking or covering ground is a waste of time. Guys like Jim Massett and the Benoits must be crazy to log all of those miles every year for no reason. I hunt about a 8-9 square mile area. Every year, the bulk of the deer are in a different place at different times. Food, shelter, water. Maybe the acorn crop is better one year, or the beechnuts are fat and abundant, but it takes a few hikes to figure out where most of the deer are. Or the there's a hot doe on one mountain and 5 bucks are sniffing around and there aren't any on the next mountain over. I cover ground to narrow down where the deer are most likely hanging around. Deer cover lots of ground, so I cover lots of ground.

I guess you have one of those spots figured out where it's a short walk from the road to the tent and you sit a stump 150 yards away, and are successful year in and year out*. The day I stop the truck in the Adirondacks, get out, see deer, and harvest a buck, is the day I'll win the lotto, too.

* If so, please send GPS coordinates.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:09 AM   #11
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I'm blessed to have been raised in the Adirondacks by a hunting family which still constitutes our hunting party to this day. Our tactic is mostly drives. sometimes just two or three guys, and we do cover a lot of ground, especially in the early season as we hit each of our spots. Our main mission is find the does, which comes with finding the food. That’s where we’ll be when the rut kicks in. We seem to have most of our luck on bucks around Thanksgiving (weather pending), but have done well late in the season in recent years.

I killed my first ADK buck at 18, got another a few years later then suffered a drought that lasted into my early 30s. I’m not bragging, but things have been pretty steady since then and I’m now over 50. As much as I enjoy the party hunt, I also love to still hunt, archery hunt (including crossbow), but my favorite is black powder season.

My advice is as follows:
-Prepare for the hunt, especially getting to know your rifle through shooting practice
-Have more than one location to hunt and don’t waste your time in the places you’re not seeing deer
-Find does, and hunt near them during the rut.
-Put the time in. The drought in my 20s came because I had little vacation time and also played in a band that kept me out late at night and out of the woods the following day. When I gave up the late night gigs and took more vacation during deer season, success came more often. I also hunt most of the day; I don’t go back to camp or go home to watch football. And I love football!

If you keep at it, luck will come your way. I just heard someone say that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hard Scrabble View Post
F.R.
Walking without seeing equates to seeing tails.
The secret is to see the deer before he sees you.

But, on second thought, i agree.
Stomping through the woods will seldom be successful.
Jim
I agree with everything that you have said, but there is a HUGE difference between "stomping" or even simply walking through the woods as opposed to still hunting, as you already know I'm sure.

No doubt about it - if you still hunt there are times when all you will see is that white flag bounding away, leaving you silently cursing to yourself. That's assuming you see anything at all. However, if done properly with patience, skill and a bit of luck you will be able to see them before they see you many times too.

I've been made and exposed by scent, sight, or sound both on stand and while still hunting and I've been successful both ways too. However, in the Adirondacks, where the woods are big and the deer are few, I normally prefer to still hunt and be proactive. I have had more success and I find my hunts to be much more enjoyable while doing so.

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Old 10-06-2016, 04:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fly Rodder View Post
Because It seems like when this kind of topic comes up, you say that hiking or covering ground is a waste of time. Guys like Jim Massett and the Benoits must be crazy to log all of those miles every year for no reason. I hunt about a 8-9 square mile area. Every year, the bulk of the deer are in a different place at different times. Food, shelter, water. Maybe the acorn crop is better one year, or the beechnuts are fat and abundant, but it takes a few hikes to figure out where most of the deer are. Or the there's a hot doe on one mountain and 5 bucks are sniffing around and there aren't any on the next mountain over. I cover ground to narrow down where the deer are most likely hanging around. Deer cover lots of ground, so I cover lots of ground.

I guess you have one of those spots figured out where it's a short walk from the road to the tent and you sit a stump 150 yards away, and are successful year in and year out*. The day I stop the truck in the Adirondacks, get out, see deer, and harvest a buck, is the day I'll win the lotto, too.

* If so, please send GPS coordinates.
Fly Guy,
The Benoits didn't go stomping through the woods.
They found a fresh track and followed it with great success.
In reality, deer spend most of their life within a couple of square miles.
If they're on one beech ridge last year, they'll be probably on the same ridge this year.
Walk a little, see a lot.
Jim
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Old 10-06-2016, 05:01 PM   #14
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Methinks that if you can sit and stay focused you will have the best chance of seeing deer. I can't do it. Sitting bores the heck out of me. I can't wait for them to come to me, I have to go find them. Besides I always considered "hunting" an action verb. I am so much more aware whilst on my feet. I learn more when I am on my feet. I bagged several deer in the Adirondacks whilst on my feet. I am sure I drove away 100 times more deer by being on my feet. Hunting in the Adirondacks is hard. I look at hunting as just another reason to be in the woods, that's good enough for me, shooting a deer is a bonus gift.
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Old 10-06-2016, 05:12 PM   #15
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I always sit in the early morning hours and then still hunt from then to the late afternoon.
Still hunting to me, is a moving stand, one or two steps at a time.
The object is to see a buck before he sees me.
Jim
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:18 PM   #16
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Fly Guy,
The Benoits didn't go stomping through the woods.
They found a fresh track and followed it with great success.
In reality, deer spend most of their life within a couple of square miles.
If they're on one beech ridge last year, they'll be probably on the same ridge this year.
Walk a little, see a lot.
Jim
I disagree.....In big woods one doesn't usually find a nice, lone, fresh track without putting some miles on, and mature bucks typically don't live in a small area during the rut as they're covering lots of ground looking for hot does.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Hard Scrabble View Post
"G"
I always sit in the early morning hours and then still hunt from then to the late afternoon.
Still hunting to me, is a moving stand, one or two steps at a time.
The object is to see a buck before he sees me.
Jim
Well put about the "moving stand". It can sometimes be so tediously slow it feels almost like a stand, but with a slowly evolving and developing view.

I actually find mid-day to be a great time to be sitting. Many times other hunters get up and move to go for lunch or because they're cold and they inadvertently get the deer up and moving for you. It can turn it into a very productive time of day.




Sorry to just butt in to your conversation, but you guys are really helping to get me even more excited for the season... (In addition to some of the nice scrapes I've been finding on scouting trips, that is. That certainly helps too! )

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Old 10-07-2016, 08:26 AM   #18
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Big bucks can cover a lot of ground. Several years ago I spotted one in a woods along the side of a road while I was driving to my property... the distance to my property from that spot was 4.8 miles.
That evening when I left the woods I watched that same deer (a horse,truly a monster) cross the road onto my property about 160 yards from my truck. He was not in a big hurry, just sort of moseying along. He had covered those nearly 5 miles in about 4 hours.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:11 PM   #19
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Well, there you have it Jim ... you just need to define your scale. covering lots of ground means different things to different folks.
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Old 10-07-2016, 02:38 PM   #20
Mallard1100
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Fly Guy,
The Benoits didn't go stomping through the woods.
They found a fresh track and followed it with great success.
In reality, deer spend most of their life within a couple of square miles.
If they're on one beech ridge last year, they'll be probably on the same ridge this year.
Walk a little, see a lot.
Jim
Not exactly a fair comparison to The Adks. The Benoits don't stomp through the woods because they have endless logging roads to drive and find that big track that crossed the road so they can get on it. The Adks don't have that except for a few areas. So yes in reality you are going to stomp around and cover ground to cut a track since you don't have endless miles of logging roads to rely on.
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