I hunt in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland although not every year in each state. I've also been to Illinois and Iowa. The book contains my own views on hunting deer, plus stories from everyday hunters from Arkansas to Pennsylvania that back up what's written in the book. It's not a strictly bag a giant buck book. It's really more of a guidline to give frustrated hunters a helping hand. I've inserted a little bit below.
Deer will however use relatively open areas (i.e. saddles and narrow ridgelines or spines) as they travel between areas for feeding and bedding. If you can find these areas that also include some growth such as hemlock or brushy growth you may have found a hot spot!
You’ve found a good amount of deer sign. Deer droppings, rubs and a trail that ascend the mountain from the lowlands up an incline that is studded with hemlock growth that tops out in a flat of dense mountain laurel. Slap a stand up and see what we see right? No, not quite yet. A hunter has the advantage of being able to station themselves above the deer which works very well. The problem is when deer may be approaching from above. Keen sighted whitetails will pick off the hunter a good amount of the time. That’s why we’re looking for a turn. Finding a turn in the trail where deer are traveling almost level and are not looking down at a hunter is also an important consideration. By hunting near a turn or dog leg in the trail the archer stands a much better chance of being undetected.
The archery season has now passed and you’ve had a few encounters with wild whitetails but haven’t quite sealed the deal. The opening day of gun season looms in the near future and you need to make an adjustment, but what do you do? If the stand that you’ve had success in is very close to a road (within a half mile) you may need to abandon the site completely as the orange hoard may have you surrounded at daylight.
It’s time to circle back and think about the situation. Go back to the map with the circles on it. Find the circle you made for the area you’re hunting now. Double the size of the circle you’ve drawn and see where you are in relationship to it. If you’re outside that circle you may be ok.
Finding myself inside that circle I would be faced with a hard decision. My two choices would be as follows. First I might look for some thicker cover in the area the deer are traveling in the vicinity of the hot stand. Chances are that if when daylight comes and I’m not surrounded by hunters I might get a crack at a deer.
In heavily hunted areas I would bet on being surrounded and frustrated. The other alternative is to follow the deer sign to a more remote area that is outside the circle. At the very least I would find heavier cover in that direction that is further from human traffic. Be prepared to sit the entire day and let others hopefully move the deer to you. Hunting heavy cover and escape routes is a very effective method for opening day deer. My early years in the mountains of Columbia County in Pennsylvania were a proving ground for this theory.
My family had started to hunt the State Game Lands around Beaver Station in the 1950’s. In the twenty six years that followed my father, Uncle and Grandfather had learned the deer movements on Catawissa Mountain very well. As years progressed and hunters and hunting pressure increased in the area they made their way from hunting a valley in between Catawissa another mountain steadily up the slopes of Catawissa.
My elders pointed out different trees where they had taken countless deer over the years as we climbed the rocky terrain on my first trip.
By the late seventies and until we stopped hunting the area we hunted the last bench or plateau from the top. We would rarely see a deer in the time previous to opening day simply for the fact that the deer spent most of their time closer to the agriculture in the valleys. By shooting time on opening morning gunshots rang out in the distance slowly advancing in our direction.