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Heading to U.P. this week. Going to try last week of rifle season for a change.
We will be hunting near Paradise not far from the Silver Creek Tavern.
All other hunters in my group are older guy's in their 50's. They are content to sit in ladder stands all week watching bait. I am not so patient. With deer numbers as low as 5-6 per square mile there I think I need to cover ground to find a good buck. I tried a little of this last year but we had no snow and finding a track to follow was almost impossible. Also when I was about 3 miles in off the 2 track my GPS would no longer pick up a satellite. It just does'nt work in thick cover. I've looked at topo maps and satellite photos of the area this year and have gotten somewhat familiar with the lay of the land.
Can anyone give me any pointers on how to go after the bucks in this area. Regardless of size a buck taken from this area would be a trophy. The past 4 years the deer have seemed nonexistant.
 

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Drive the roads to find a track big enough to go after. Don't just wander aimlessly...waste of time. Make sure the track is over 3" wide. Then look for clues to make sure it has a decent rack (i.e. doesn't walk between narrow trees, dribbles forward as it pees, tine marks in the snow where he ate). When you see evidence that he is starting to eat, slow way down. He'll probably J-hook and bed close by. If you jump him and he runs (even if you don't see him), run run after him until his track slows down, and that's when you slow down. Other than that time period, walk fast. Don't dress too warm either. You'll get hot and sweaty anyways.

I know that area pretty well myself. You may end up driving over 20 miles before you find a good track. Once on the track, start heading out at 2:30 so you know you can at least make it to a road before dark.
 

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I was at a camp north of Hulbert last night, they had 10" on the ground until Saturday morning. Most of the snow is gone but more is in the forecast starting Wednesday afternoon. Thanksgivng weekend should be great for tracking.

A word of advice, a GPS is a mechanical device that can fail at any time. Bring along a compass!

Front hooves that are over 2 1/8" wide are a mature whitetail. I just shot a buck with a hoove that measured 2 1/4" wide. It weighed just under 300lbs in the round, dressed 242lbs. Pics will be in my gallery when I get them back.
 

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Luv2hunteup said:
I
A word of advice, a GPS is a mechanical device that can fail at any time. Bring along a compass!

.

Along with matches, a fire starter, water, 20' of small diamerter rope or cord,
6'x8' small tarp or piece of drop cloth. a steel cup or canteen cup with a package of instant soup or noodles. just incase you dont make the road by dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
uptracker said:
Drive the roads to find a track big enough to go after. Don't just wander aimlessly...waste of time. Make sure the track is over 3" wide. Then look for clues to make sure it has a decent rack (i.e. doesn't walk between narrow trees, dribbles forward as it pees, tine marks in the snow where he ate). When you see evidence that he is starting to eat, slow way down. He'll probably J-hook and bed close by. If you jump him and he runs (even if you don't see him), run run after him until his track slows down, and that's when you slow down. Other than that time period, walk fast. Don't dress too warm either. You'll get hot and sweaty anyways.

I know that area pretty well myself. You may end up driving over 20 miles before you find a good track. Once on the track, start heading out at 2:30 so you know you can at least make it to a road before dark.
I've been hunting this area for 4 years and have only seen 2 bucks. Neither were real big. What calliber buck could I run into in this area, best case scenario? Ever had to spend the night in the woods?
 

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Never spent the night out, but I do carry 2 lighters, space blanket, and water tablets that I can put in an empty 20 oz. after I drink that. I have never had a problem with my Etrex Legend. I may lose a signal for 200 yards or so, but when you come out to an open area, it usually picks right back up. If you need to, circle a bit to get a signal. Do take a compass though.

I've seen more biggen's in that area than any where else in the U.P. I missed two 2 years in a row that would of went in the 140's and well over two hundred pounds. The deer up there are not pressured as much and don't get shot at much. Therefore, they can be upwards of 4 1/2 years old. Not having a rich soil or cropland with nutrition close by, these deer rely on age to grow big racks. Like you said though, deer are sparse. For the guy that said that his 300# whitetail had 2 1/8" hooves, remember that those are hooves...not tracks. I wouldn't even go after anything less than a 3" track. It is true that some small bucks and does have huge tracks and some huge bucks have tiny tracks. Not often though. When you look at tracks, try to determine how old it is. If it looks like an ice cube, it's about a day old depending on weather conditions. If it is still sharp on the edges and crumbly, it's within a few hours and he may have only gone a mile. You can walk about 3 miles per hour on average. You can learn to age tracks by placing your foot in the snow in the morning outside camp and look at it in the evening when you come back. You'll notice how it changed. It's better to have a dog in camp and pay attention to what his tracks are doing throughout the day. Try it at home this winter...A LOT.

Here's some tips on knowing if it's a good buck:

1. A buck will dribble urine in the snow for a few feet while a doe will only leave a neat little hole.

2. I doe will walk between two trees that are close together while a buck with an 18" spread will not wank through an opening 16" apart, he'll step around it.

3. When a buck feeds in the snow, he'll sometimes leave two antler prints in the snow like this ( ) Sometimes you can count the points too!

4. A track 3" wide is most likely a BIG buck. Use a 30-06 or .270 shell to measure.

5. Look at width between the left and right track also. >8" is a good one. A stride of about 36" indicates a big deer to. Remember a doe has wide hips, but not wider than a big bucks chest. When you look at a set of tracks, you're usually looking at the back track...on a buck track anyways. They usually step into their front track.

When are you leaving? I can send ya some good maps via snail mail.
 

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P.S. If there is a ton of snow, you may have to go a couple miles south. BUT, contrary to popular belief, the big boys will stay north longer than the does. They won't move much though. I've witnessed a big buck, more than once, that never went south. He stayed within two hundred yards of his bedding area and had beat paths through the snow to feed. Like a wagon wheel. These guys are stubborn. They are their own boss and answer to no one.
 

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For sure make sure you are prepared that country has turned around a lot of people, don't rely on a cell phone either even if the battery is good the signals are few and far between. good luck
 

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If you haven't already done so, check out "How to Bag the Biggest Buck of Your Live" by Larry Benoit - lots of down to earth valuable tracking info in plain language - a great read!

You will sweat - no way around it. Go with the fast drying wicking base layers. The advice above is good - think water and basic survival gear.

Although - Larry Benoit claims he never spent a night in the woods - always makes it back to the truck.

The problem, which is a good one to have, is if you shoot the big boy way the heck out there you need to figure out a way to get him out. Don't let that discourage you, though.

This is a great way to hunt that beats the snot out of staring at a baitpile, and even if you don't get a deer it's a day well spent in God's Country.

Good Luck and Be Safe!
 
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