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arrowflipper's picture
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Where do deer go?

Where I hunt, if I don't see 50 to 70 deer by noon on the opening day, something is wrong.  There are deer everywhere.  Little does, big bucks and everything in-between.

But day two is a totally different story.  I may see 20 to 30 if I'm really lucky.  And day three is even worse.  Where do all these deer go?  They have to be somewhere. 

If I knew where they headed after the pressure starts, I could just skip the opener and go sit and wait for them.  Could someone please tell me where that is?

Critter's picture
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What time of year are you

What time of year are you hunting them?  I know in some areas the hunt is about the same time as their migration to lower lands.  If you watch them they are most likely headed down when you see them the first day and then by day two they may be well on their way.  I have hunted areas where if it has a nice cold rain the deer start to move and don't stop moving until they are down or just about down.  I have even watched it.  One night years ago I had between 50 and 100 deer right in front of me, I went back to the same location the next night and didn't see a animal.  They had all dropped off the edge of the hill.  I have also talked to hunters that have told me that the deer kept them awake all night long as they made their way past their tent on the way to lower country.  Sometimes it seams that when they decided to move they move and do it quite fast. 

arrowflipper's picture
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not the case

Thanks Critter for a quick reply, but this isn't the case here.  There isn't any "down" for them to go.  This is wide open, flat land that you could drive 50 miles and not do much more than a couple of hundred feet in elevation. 

The deer are there every opening day, no matter what the weather is like.... and they are gone a couple of days later, no matter what the weather is like.  They are gone due strictly to hunting pressure.  So where do they go?  It's all farmland, sagebrush scab land or CRP.  They have to go somewhere.  But where?

niceshot_smitty's picture
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The wild animal comes out in

The wild animal comes out in them.  SAVE YOUR BUTT and live another day.  They are there, you just have to think like a deer or elk.  I have seen deer make them self smallier to get in to place they don't normally go.  I have even seen deer come in to town after hunting season starts knowing that back yards are safer then the woods or flatland is.  Some times they are right there in plan sight, you just don't know it.  Try walking the way you would normally leave and end where you would start. if you can. 

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i agree with this. as the

i agree with this.

as the deer start seeing hunting presuure, they tend to "hold up" meaning they don't flee at the sight and sounds of humans, instead, they hide. every little piece of sage or dip in the terrain can hide them. when i see this happen in the flatlands like you describe, i put lots of miles on. i'll check out all the tall sage, all of the washouts and every juniper if there are any. i have always managed to find around 15-20 a day, but it can be very physically demanding, even in your mid 20's.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Same thing you would do if

Same thing you would do if someone was after you.  You would use all available hiding places, places that offer the most seclusion, etc., to avoid them.

The deer do the same thing.  It's animal instinct.

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I don't have too much of a

I don't have too much of a problem with this for deer where I hunt as there are not that many on the public lands anyway. But after years of hunting there if we stop seeing many in our regular areas I have found several places that usually pay off that no one ever looks into as it either seems too obvious or they don't want to take the time to head into a few small canyons. I have even found on clump of oak brush that almost always holds some deer halfway through the season only 50 yards from a trail that all the hunters walk in on. The der have simply moved closer and watch them walk by less than five minutes from the truck.

Elk on the other hand are usually only an opening day deal in my best spot. After the first day they have pulled well back into the surrounding private land and you usually only get another chance at them if we get a good snow to push them around again or bring in another herd that didn't get shot at yet.

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