Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Master Of Baiting

Attracting whitetails to the farm has been an ongoing project/hobby for the past nineteen months. My first attempt was to raise food plots. Using a mixture of clover, chicory and turnips the soil was plowed and seed planted. Well it didn't take. Time for a new plan.

A shed antler found on the property late last January.

Coming to the conclusion that if I did not correct the soil properly and tend to it regularly what little time and effort I had time to put into it wasn't going to be successful. Similarly two friends have been trying to raise sunflowers to attract doves on the same property. It has been futile. Just a guess but without correcting the soil and regular maintenance that sunflower patch has been a waste of time for them as my food plots have been to me. What to do?


Yep, every few weeks I will be placing bait out to bring in and hold does to the property in order to attract the many bucks that roam the area. This effort began over a week ago in an ongoing plan to scout the property early in order to pattern these critters for the upcoming archery/crossbow deer season that begins October 1. Bait can range from corn to peanut butter to Kool-Aide to apples, acorns and other easily obtainable produce. On the internet there are hundreds of fool-proof homemade baits others have used with success for years.

With so many new modern prepared deer bait products to choose from I went with a commercial liquid called Buck Jam from Evolved Habitats. At $6 (with  my discount) per gallon every two weeks this will be placed in two or three of my selected spots. Spots that I have learned most of the deer travel on our property. Pre-season scouting and recognizing the signs they leave builds confidence in the selected spots and increases my chances for success.

Figuring out where they travel has been much easier using our trail cams. Having eyes on the property when I cannot be there allow me to eliminate unproductive zones so I can focus on spots deer most frequent. Last year my limited season was cut short by weather but my efforts patterning the movements increase my potential for success this year by far. That and having a crossbow allow me to have from October 1 to January 15 and the multi-season option provides me with a lot more time to be out in the woods, not just the two week firearm season.

Over one week ago I traveled to the farm to place my trail cam near a prime spot and laid out the bait where the cam could do its thing. Doug came along to help. We also shot off a few mags from my Ruger 10/22 and practiced using the new crossbow.

This Parker crossbow is incredible. I have the scope zeroed in so tight that at 20 and 30 yards I can place a dead center shot consistently. A 50 yard shot would not be a reach and I have all the confidence I can make a clean kill shot at that distance if necessary but my choice would be closer.

In addition I have been practicing on a 3-D deer target from my upstairs window to simulate shooting from a high position. I will be bring the crossbow along to Gunstock and you guys can try it for yourself.

We emptied one gallon of the very viscous sweet & salty corn flavored Buck Jam onto two logs near the wooded entrance trail to the wooded deer bedding area. They have liked this spot as an exit/entrance in the past and it is adjacent to a new alfalfa field that deer love to eat.

This alfalfa field may as well be one huge food plot for me that requires zero maintenance and zero cost. Mom seemed to like the alfalfa while little Bambi went for the Buck Jam bait.

Six days later I returned to download the cam images and see what happened to drop by and sample the Buck Jam bait. There were 1,129 photos total. Upon review the settings on the cam were on ultra sensitive so branches and large weeds moving in the recent stiff winds caused a lot of unproductive images that I had to cull through. In day two of the bait placement this doe showed up.

The scars along the side of this doe indicate she may have had an unfortunate incident with a barbed wire fence.

One night she showed up with friends.

Night time or day time it didn't make much of a difference.

These does really love that Buck Jam bait.

Doesn't that looks like one satisfied pair of backstraps?


Dan from Madison said...

Can you take a buck without a doe or do you need a doe first?

Gerry from Valpo said...

Good question and it changes year to year. They make it complicated. From the 2014-15 INDNR FAQ page:

Q Do I have to shoot an antlered deer before I shoot an antlerless deer? (or vice versa)

A Yes and No. There is no required sequence in harvesting deer for statewide seasons (youth, archery, firearms, muzzleloader). If a hunter is using an urban deer zone license in an urban deer zone, the hunter must take an antlerless deer with an urban deer zone license prior to taking an antlered deer. The "earn-a-buck" requirement only applies to urban deer zone bag limits, which are in addition to statewide bag limits.

Gerry from Valpo said...

…and I will not be hunting the urban deer zone since the property is not in a designated urban zone county.

andrew said...

So is it safe to say you are a master baiter?