PATTERNING PART 2: FINDING THE CORE AREA
After you have found a buck you want to hunt, the second step in the pattern process, is to find his core area.
You need to know where he spends most of his time because that is where you are most likely to catch him on his feet in daylight. The challenge is to find the core area without spooking the buck.
I make a distinction between a buck’s core area and his bedding area because they are two different things. The core area is bigger, and contains his bedding area, feeding area and trails in between. It possible to find this without stepping on his toes.
As long as you are cautious about where you place your cameras, you can learn a lot without alerting the buck.
You will know you are getting close by the number of images you are getting of the buck. It is quite possible that the buck is nocturnal and doesn’t enter even his nearest feeding areas until after dark. However, if all the images are in the middle of the night (more than an hour after dark and before daylight), you are still too far from his core to be hunting him effectively.
Mid-to-late September is a good time to start the patterning process. At this time of the season, bucks aren’t yet roaming. You should be able to get photos of a buck just about every night if you are in the game. If you aren’t getting the photos that often, you need to keep moving in the direction he is approaching from when he first hits the camera each night.
Little by little, this process will bring you to where the buck is most killable. Step three is to learn how big his range is and to determine your best options within that range for hunting him. More about that in future episodes.
Kill Plots: I discussed Poor Man’s Plots in the blog that went with the last episode. Poor Man’s Plots are definitely kill plots, but you can also make these plots using equipment.
When deer are moving more or less randomly, or feeding in a large area that is really hard to cover with a bow, the kill plot is the best solution.
The key is that they need to be relatively small (no more than an acre) and secluded enough that deer will use them at all times of the day.
Many of our kill plots are clover or Big N Beasty. Both are very attractive and hold up well to deer browsing pressure.
In Episode 3, Troy Sachsenmaier creates a perfect kill plot where takes his nephew to shoot a great buck.