Where would you hunt this farm?


New Member
My father-in-law and I hunted the family farm last year and are planning to again this year. Problem is, neither of us knows what we're doing when it comes to picking a location. I shot a yearling buck last year but only because he was stupid - I'm sure every other deer in the area knew exactly where we were.

I'll be using a shotgun with an accurate range of 60 yards or less. My father-in-law has much better equipment and has an effective range slightly exceeding 200 yards. We will both be hunting from the ground and there are no prepared blinds on the property as of yet.

So anyway, I was hoping we could get some pointers as to where might be some good spots on this piece of ground. I've tried to mark as much relevant information as possible, and left a lot of the surrounding area in the image to provide some context.

Any thoughts?FarmHuntingMap.jpg
It's going to be hard without knowing deer travel into and across that field. Can you give more info? I'm assuming the green area in the field is some kind of drainage ditch.
Sorry, I meant to mention that there's a mile or so of farmland to the east, then a large hog operation. There are scattered trees but no woods for a long ways (as in miles) to either the east or south.

Deer travel in our field is mostly limited to the western half, primarily just south of the southernmost "hump" of woods. There has also been a ton of activity in the low-lying area I marked on the photo, but they stay within about ten yards (max) from the treeline. That would actually be my choice for where to set up if I had a tree stand, but there's not really a good shooting angle from the field even if I had a blind there, which I don't.

Last year I was at about the halfway point on the east-west treeline overlooking the pond. I heard two bucks snorting down there but that's one of the areas of thicker underbrush and I never did see them. I've also seen some does in that corner just south of the pond.

The green area probably provides some drainage but it's not much of a ditch. It's easily driveable in a normal vehicle and there's no cover to speak of. With no woods for a LONG ways to the east, I doubt deer go there very often to feed, in the daytime anyway. At least I've never seen any there.

The problem I'm having is figuring out how to hunt from a more heavily-trafficked area without blowing my scent into the woods that the deer go in and out of, given the prevailing wind direction.
I would see if you could have the farmer leave some crops in the low area or see if they could take a small section in the low spot out of rotation so you can plant a small food plot there and I would never enter the property unless I had a north or west wind.

We have 80 acres as well and with a south wind ours isn't huntable in very many places. Our muzzleloader season is this week and instead of chasing brutes at home I am chasing lackluster deer on our lease simply because of this 9 day season south wind every day deal
That place is going to be hard to hunt with your normal prevailing wind. Your best wind would be from the NW. As kubota said add some food if possible. In one of those inside corners along the timber line. Your best looking spot to me would be a plot just NE of the pond in that inside corner with a stand in the timber line that runs east to west on your northern border that way your scent is blowing onto the neighbors land with the NW wind. Deer love to come out in the inside corner to feed.
Massive field has got to be hard to hunt without ag or plots. I guess you are limited to shotgun only, if not get a rifle or better yet a Howitzer :p .

Best bet might be that inside corner just NE of the pond as the little wood line might give them the cover they need, especially given you said there is virtually no cover to the east.
Thanks for the ideas, guys, I appreciate it a lot.

It's too late for food this year - bait is illegal, the field is already totally harvested and there's no way we'll get anything to grow before the season opens. But we'll bear that in mind for next year and probably try to get something going.

We're shotguns and muzzleloaders only - and I don't have a scope, so I'm limited to about 60-yard shots. The upside is that the farm is located in an excellent deer area and there are a ton of them around...if I can only get into range!

Since most of the deer activity that we've seen is on the southwestern portions of the property (in the two areas noted), what about this: Start a scent trail at that southern "bump" of woods, drag it through the low area staying close to the trees, head into the field to within easy range of that "middle" corner just south of the pond, then end with a circle around the corner through the woods and set up a popup-style blind in the center of the circle, just into the trees? Is that too long for a scent trail? Are there other things to consider?
#1 - get to your local seed co-op and get some winter wheat or rye spread on that bean stubble ASAP. It will grow with a decent rain and provide the deer something for you to help narrow down their feeding movement. Plant in the low area with lots of tracks - give those deer a reason to stick around in that area. the deer have shown they want to be there so - simply give them a reason to be there more.

#2 - a location just east of the low area with the tracks - even out in the wide open may not be a bad idea (maybe use the water way as access to remain hidden if possible) - use the elevation terrain to your advantage to stay "above" them if possible. I would post up spots around that area for different wind direction alternatives as well.

#3 - Use the pond and the sign there wisely. Figure out where the deer are coming from and where they are going and how you can best get in there without alerting them and then use the terrain that narrows their movement and sit there.

#4 - use whatever weapon you legally can to extend your range for hunting the field edge and if possible consider a decoy to help bring the deer closer to you. Mark the decoy with bright colored tape to try to keep folks from shooting at it, but put some white material on it to move in the wind to help give it "life". These can work great in bringing deer way across a field to within shooting range.

#5 - get you a "magic bucket". I have a 5 gallon bucket that is covered in camo duct-tape that I use to sit on in the woods when I choose to hunt an odd location. This is a great tool and very portable. Use any terrain features that over you a view to your advantage and try to watch over any place where the deer travel may become narrowed down. Creek crossings, around ponds, or steep areas or even just large brush piles and the like. You have to sit still but it can and does work. Some folks use large brush piles or downed tree tops to help hide then as well. I called it a "magic bucket" because that is what my son calls it - because when I use mine I kill deer.....like "magic".

Good luck.

PS - use any sign you see during this years hunting and last to your advantage - many times deer will travel the same routes, rub the same trees and scrape in the same places. By keeping these in mind you will get a historical map of how deer use the place and help you make sense of it later.
A big factor would be the wind. I wouldn't hunt if the wind was wrong. Find a couple of big trees and construct a couple of ground blinds in different spots. I'd find a spot around the pond and another south if it somewhere.

Good luck!
Being from Illinois originally, I first hunted deer with a shotgun. So many people look down on shotguns, but they flat lay deer down!
Range being the big drawback (though I have always heard with some single shot fully rifled shotguns you can reach 200 yards with) I always tried to set up in corners when hunting a field.
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