One suggestion: look for an area where three cover types converge in that hunting area, then look for sign of a nice buck. I have no idea why they gravitate to sites like this, but they have consistently produced for me, particularly when they are beaver flowages in or near clear-cuts.
Funniest walk-out experience I have ever "survived" was just after I had undergone ACL replacement on my right knee six months prior gun season. We were doing a three man drive where the outside hunters drop back from the point guy who follows good runs or sign. I was point man and jumped what i was sure was a buck based on neck thickness, but never got a good look at his rack. As I worked down his tracks slowly my partner off my right shot and then shouted he had a buck down. I followed that tracks back to him to see a nice heavy high 8pt. laying in the snow. Mike and Jim agreed to drag the buck out on our access trail the mile-plus to the woods road where we were parked in my Buck Sleigh'r which we had stashed with our packs by a nearby stream on the way in. I was tasked with carrying three rifles, 3 packs and two heavy jackets tied-down tight to their packs. I pulled away from them in the darkness, hoping to get to the truck early and come back in with an extra pair of hands and more lights other than our headlamps. When I popped out of the woods at the truck, a pair of headlights immediately lit me up on the road. As I stood in the light-field, I thought, "this will be an interesting conversation!' A MDNR CO walked over to me with a smile on his face and said, " I hope your story matches-up with what I am seeing, otherwise the ticket I write for you will be one of the strangest I have ever issued!" After checking our licenses and making sure all the rifles were empty he helped us load the buck on Jim's Explorer and get it back to our tent campsite.
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