Hill Country Buck Bedding Tactics: Opening Evening Success

Sportsmen's Empire
Sportsmen's Empire

Initial Look

The winter of 2016 had my hunting partner and I scouring the Indiana public land topographical maps. We had added kayaks to our whitetail arsenal and were in search of extremely secluded and difficult to access public hunting land. This one particular area with river access and a long hike to some good buck bedding territory was calling our name. We made the first scouting trip in March of 2017 and here is what we found. The below sketch represents the ridge where we identified mature buck bedding. The close stacked lines represent the steep angle of the slope. The locations 1/2/3 are buck beds that we identified. These bucks will bed right above the steep slope of the ridge. Often on a point where they can efficiently adjust to changing wind directions.

Topographic Map of Buck Bedding

Buck Bed Location 1 – It was evident this bed was being used during the presence of a prevailing N/E wind. The imprint of the bed was textbook as he was laying there looking for danger down the ridge, with the prevailing wind at his back to smell anything from behind him, above the ridge.

Buck Bed Location 2 – This buck bed was being used on a prevailing E wind. This bed was just offset from the center of the ridge point. An E wind will allow for the prevailing wind to be at the animals back. He then will lay facing the west where he can visually see danger below him, and smell anything from behind him.

Buck Bed Location 3 – Just like the previous 2 beds, the buck is able to efficiently work the point and use this bedding location on any prevailing S wind. Wind at his back smelling danger, facing down the ridge for visual inspection.

Plotting the Kill

We identified the food source to be south of the known buck bedding locations on the ridge. Because of this, we chose to make a late August glassing trip prior to opening evening in October. We knew that we wanted to wait until a north/east wind was present. This wind would put the animals bedded in locations 1 or 2 on the map. This places the buck’s bed nearest to the food source on the south. Giving the animal this wind direction, would allow for optimum chances at a daylight occurrence in the food source. We chose to setup very far south of the food source and utilize mobile stands to glass the area from afar.

Prevailing wind out of the Northeast placed the bucks in locations (1) and (2). This minimized the travel distance from the bed to food source and maximized the odds of a daylight encounter during our glassing trip

The Kill

After the successful scouting trips, all fingers were crossed for a prevailing wind direction out of the North or East for the October 1st Indiana Archery Opener. All stars aligned up for us and the nearing weather was calling for a perfect NE wind. It was time to load the kayaks up and make the kill strike. We got in there early with our mobile setups ready to hang and kill. Milkweed confirmed the NE wind direction and we pushed the envelope for the successful bed strike kill.

Blue arrow represents prevailing NE wind the evening of the hunt. Stand location is marked with orange X.

We got as close as we possibly could to the exact buck bed we had identified back during our spring scouting trip and our stand setup was within 150 yards of his bed. Our #1 target animal read the script and by 6PM he was at 15 yards where I sent my death dart through both his lungs. Mission accomplished.