Originally Posted By: NickD90

WSU - I've hunted from stands a few times back out east...a very LONG time ago. So I'm (we) are just sort of re-learning it all over again. One thing I can tell you is that you only need to be in your stands at dawn and dusk (for BT's). Once the sun comes, mature animals will bed down tight for the day. It's best to give em' till 9 am or so, crawl down out of your stand and get into the bush for a daytime still / jump hunt. Or just leave em' completely alone and not pressure their beds.

Both of my animals came within the first and last 5 minutes of hunting hours this year. It's pretty much a 15 - 30 minute window of opportunity....more or less.

Wait until we give our season recap sometime here in the future. We learned some interesting things this year. This was my 3rd year hunting BT's and I don't think I'll ever truly figure them out. The only truisms are to expect the unexpected; their pattern is that they have no pattern; forget what normal deer are "supposed to do" and be in the right place at the right time. Once or twice per ENTIRE YEAR they will make a legit mistake and you have to be right there when it happens.

Also, game cameras are THE most important thing. There is a reason Salmo doesn't see his yard 3 pt. all that often and that his 3 pt. isn't the big daddy that IS there and NOBODY ever sees.

Good luck,

I truly appreciate your continued academic growth at BTU. Should one be paying attention in class, and given the stakes, deer and elk are incredibly gracious professors on campus. They spend their entire lives evading far more proficient predators than those of us seeking to "overwhelm them with superior technology" (ala Caddy Shack).

If I may, I proffer to you and the readers that you correctly stated that "their pattern is that they have no pattern." Accordingly, to best tip the odds in your favor, why eliminate the bulk of the legal shooting hours under the traditional mythos of a solely dawn/evening sit in your stand in the am/pm with a mid-day stroll? If you spend any time at all out among your quarry inhabiting your AO during non-hunting season months, you will discover which animals call it home, feeding patterns, travel routes and bedding areas (snow reveals all).

A brief story as illustration: I grew up in the company of those that focused on the am/pm hunting strategy. First year out of college and working at an engineering consulting firm, I met a co-worker who I still consider to be the best true hunter I'll ever know in my life. We shared our common love of bucks, pack horses and solitude in alpine environs and our respective families enjoyed many hunting seasons together until he sadly lost a race with cancer in his late 40's. His bride asked me to spread his ashes where he loved to roam....

So, first day hunting together, we trek over a tall ridge and into a beautiful drainage and go our separate ways. About 10am, I'm having a hard time from the lack of sleep in the preceding days to get to camp and head back down to catch a nap in the wall tent before exploring around camp in the evening of Day 1. I'm rousted from a wonderful slumber when my pard throws back the tent flaps with a dandy buck's head in one hand and blood on both. He states in a deadpan monotone, "You won't find any bucks in here." Since then, I'm generally hiking into alpine drainages well before daylight and don't get back into camp until well after dark. And to quote Robert Frost, that has made all the difference....

Continuing, ethereal bucks tend to go nocturnal as you cited and generally all will get up mid-dayish to stretch/browse a tad. More so when it's cold. You failed to cite the rut when most of the above goes out the window. Hormonally-addled bucks will ravenously pursue does. The latter will seek respite in open areas and the like where even a tad of hesitancy by the former will suffice. Bucks will travel miles seeking those in estrous and tending those that are there or close. Does in full estrous will pursue bucks, loving them up to seal the deal. I felt dirty watching.... Accordingly, I look for does and I *do not* still hunt to avoid stinking up my AO. Bucks get big by avoiding such obvious interlopers. The only exception is the last day dumpster dive into bedrooms. YMMV. My primary stand is *downwind* of a number of features that afford a front row seat to the desired sojourners that also removes their primary defenses and tilt the balance in my favor. I have never used trail cams. I know mature bucks exist in the surrounding habitat and those that aren't on home turf will likely pass through during the rut.

After glimpsing one such buck recently materialize and stop to inhale the sweet aroma where an estrous doe had squatted to pee, he lifted his head toward the heavens, flehming hard. That evening I had butterflied Rockies fried with a couple strips of bacon and topped with a dot of sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions for an appetizer before a tenderloin dinner. I softly said "thank-you" again for such a truly wonderful gift...