Suggestions on a set up needed.....

Kahuna

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Hey guys,
Ive got a new spot this year that is all planted pines.  Since the trees are so small in diameter, I can't use a climber, and I don't think my regular ladder stand would be all that safe.  Any ideas on how I can set up without buying an expensive blind or anything?  Any suggestions would be great....thanks.
 



StringShooter

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The only thing that I can suggest is to build a ground blind and camo it with the pine branches.
 

FTTPOW

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Welcome to Jesses, Kahuna. Why do you think that you have to be in a tree? It sounds like you've got good cover on the ground. Once you find the ambush point, build a ground blind. This doesn't need to be anything more than enough cover to break up your outline. Having a good background will help you blend in, but nothing will be more important than being downwind. This may mean finding more than one blind site because you don't want to hunt there if the wind's going to ruin your set-up. This also gives you a little variety. Give yourself enough room to manuever a bow without getting tangled in your blind and have some sort of swivel seat so you can move easily and quietly. If you can't find enough dead branches in the area, you can use camo netting or burlap. If at all possible use what's laying around your blind. Aside from being more natural, it's free, won't bring human scent from home, and you won't be out anything if someone else discovers it.  
 

Kahuna

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Good Suggestion FTTPOW......as it gets closer and closer to opening day, it seems like that being on the ground is the only option....I definitely dont have a problem doing that, but obviously scent control becomes an even bigger issue!  Should I basically just have a few places to set myself depending on wind conditions?  
 

FTTPOW

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I think you'll benefit from having several sites available. If it's possible try to have a variety of ways to get to your blind, depending on the wind currents. Don't scent up the area by walking around your hunting area anymore than neccesary. Now would be a good time to try a cover scent on your boots while walking in to throw off any suspicion. Try something like coon or fox urine.
 

Cdad

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Kahuna, FTTPOW has just given you some excellent, practical, proven tips. The only thing I might add would be to make sure you keep the ground in your blind(s) really clean and free of sticks, small branches etc. It has been my experience that with a set-up like this (I have several) you will be in VERY close quarters with the deer. This can result in some really CLOSE shots/opportunities, any noise at all could very easily give away your presence. If possible you might want to rake or clear (not too much) a path to each one of your blinds/setups, so you can be really quiet slipping in there to hunt. In Michigan the forest floor is REALLY NOISY in the fall, I don't know about Fla.
 

Cdad

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Fttpow, I hope I didn't upset or offend you the other day. Up here we all tease each other,I farm, and am SURROUNDED by green and white fans, you know that other college in East Lansing. I think you guys (Buckeyes) usually show them how to play football at least once each year--LOL.
 

Cabin Fever Bob

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How tall are these pines? I hunt an overgrown pine farm and the trees are ~12-15" tall and it's THICK! I hunt the edges between the pines and hardwoods.
 

gobblestopper

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Well, I hunt alot in these types of areas and it aint easy. First thing I would do is check the planted pines for drainages. In many of the pine forests here in the south there are some hardwoods remaining along the "buffer zones" in drainage areas. These are required when the areas are logged to prevent erosion. Often, these small stands of hardwoods are not visible from your trail or road. So, grab an aerial photo to see what you can find and then hoof it to find what the ground has. You may just find a tree big enough to climb. More importantly, you may run into a valuble food source such as a persimmon or an oak. You may be surprised at what you find in those thick, small pines that nobody dares walk into....
Good luck, safe hunting      
 

shadow

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Well said FTTPOW!!!  Just one thing though...when hunting on the ground it more imporant to hide, mask, or cover your sent since you are at ground level with the deer.  The higher you get in the trees the less you have to worry about it but you still have to worry about it some.  Typically I take some leaves or dirt from the area which I will be hunting and place it in a bag with the clothes I will be hunting in...but that's a whole other topic.  Just keep in mind to cover your scent well.
 

Kahuna

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These are all great tips guys and I appreciate it!  Cabin, these pines run anywhere from 12 to 20' I would say, I hoping to find one in a nice spot that is thicker to hold a stand.  People keep encouraging me to hunt from the ground because I can be just as effective, but it is much easier to spook off deer that way (simply because there are more variables like those sticks on the ground).  Do you guys think if I stuck a small swivel seat in the middle of some Palmettos that that would suffice?  That way the cover is much more natural and I don't have to worry about cloth or anything for the blind itself?  There is one bunch of hardwoods, with only about 2 trees that a climber or stand can attach to.  It overlooks a small clearing, but I havent been able to see any tracks or anything.  There are a bunch of leaves on the ground there, and only game trails that arent accessible without making noise.  Im thinking this may be a good spot, but can't figure out how I can make a good exit/entrance.  Anyway, thanks for all the tips, any others out there are welcome!  
 

Cabin Fever Bob

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This is the pine thicket that my stand overlooks 2 sides of. It's THICK and NASTY! Actually there's 3 lots of these next to eachother that are about 300-400 yards square each. It's so thick inside that I couldn't even think about hunting it especially from the ground as you can't see more than 1-2 yards "at most" in any direction. That's why I hunt the edges.

 

deerstalker

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Kahuna, I have hunted primarily timber company land here in Mississippi for the last 15 years. Many years ago I began to focus on areas exactly like you have described, 12-20' tall pine plantations, precisely because "there were no trees big enough to climb". These are the areas most hunters avoid and therefore are the very places bucks, especially mature bucks, tend to set up housekeeping.

Some good advice has already been posted concerning using ground blinds, looking for those hidden drainages and the extra precautions about limiting movement and controlling your odor dictated by the up close and personal nature of this type hunting. However, I do have some suggestions to pass on.

You did not say what weapon you were planning to use. I do not attempt to bowhunt this type habitat from the ground. If you choose to try, good luck. I use a scoped rifle, but a shotgun would work in most situations. Five to fifteen yard shots from the ground in thick brush are just not conducive to sticks and strings.

Concerning "ground blinds" I strongly suggest you adhere to the KISS principle. Keep it simple, stupid! You are talking close quarters here and a mature buck will immediately notice any new "construction" along his trail. I carry a pair of hand clippers while scouting and hunting. On average, it takes me about 2 minutes to construct a "ground ambush site". Find a bush or tree downwind that will give you a solid backdrop and cover just above your head. Ideally, your position will be in the shadows with the sun behind you during the time you expect to see deer. A solid bush or tree behind you and some cover close over your head puts you in the dark from the deer's perspective. All you need in front is a low wall about knee high. This is really all you have to "build" in a set-up like I use. I make a semi-circle with limbs, dead ones and a few cut from bushes. When I clean out the leaves and pine straw from the blind, I drop this material on the limbs and let it fill in the spaces. If I am building the blind ahead of time, say during a scouting trip, I don't prepare the inside. Do that the first time you hunt it. A good blind is one another hunter will walk past without seeing.

I also have had good success stalking through young plantations. You will find they are not consistently "thick". After several trips through the pines you will see there are always areas that are relatively open. Another thing you will find is the deer tend to follow the more open areas as they move through the interior of the pines. Enter on the downwind side and follow the trails. Be forewarned, this is not an easy way to hunt. It's probably the most mentally taxing method I have ever tried. Moving 100 yards in an hour is way too fast under some conditions. The trick is to see or hear the deer before it sees or hears you. Trophy tactic #1: Keep a grunt call tied up close to your mouth and listen closely. Many times when a buck in a thicket like this hears something coming down a trail, he will make a short, relatively soft grunt. I call it a contact grunt. If you hear one, he is within 30 yards (at least that is a far as I have ever been able to hear one). Grunt back and get ready! He will probably try to circle and approach from downwind. You have to make the right decisions, RIGHT NOW, in order to seal the deal. Get him before he gets the wind on you or it's all over.

The last piece of advice I have is to scout your area thoroughly in post-season. Visibility is so limited in young pine plantations it takes a lot of walking to put your eyes on everything. There's a lot more I could tell you, but this post is getting kind of long. Good luck on your efforts.
 


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