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Thread: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    LML
    Posts
    339

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    Quality insights on this thread. A good reminder to get off the beaten track, hunt slow and don't worry about stepping on the odd stick.
    Hunt, Enjoy, Repeat

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    1

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    Also being a novice, been out twice now and wish I had read this thread before I started. Started with clear cuts and while out today, I caught a glimpse of three does dancing off into timber. I checked out the timber and saw way more signs of deer (droppings, tracks) than browsing clear cuts.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    2,818

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    If it is MD, I like timber or slopes to hunt over cut blocks.
    Had way more success to go in and hunt them.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    In the bush near a lake
    Posts
    4,945

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    To the novice hunters interested in trying this it takes practice and it is a solo hunting technique for the most part

    Practice how to place your feet in order to minimize noise. The right footwear helps and you want something you can feel what is under your feet. If weather and terrain allows it I wear runners but that can’t be done a boot with soft flexible soul. Place your feet down slowly and gently that way you can shift weight placement of your step minimizing noise. People are noisy naturally so we have to work at moving like animals

    Its STILL hunting not hiking this is where most hunters fail in this style of hunting. Depending on the location I can be really slow like snails passing me slow. If I am in a thick noisy location that looks good it is 3 slow steps and stop for 15min or longer. This is for multiple reasons it gives you a chance to hear/see game and let the bush settle. It’s not about covering ground it’s about finding out what is in that stretch of timber. If in game rich area my morning hunt is measured in yards not miles. Knowing when to creep vs cover ground takes time to learn but most I find try to rush too much

    Letting the bush settle a novice usually is lost on what this means. Well when you are walking in the bush and all you hear is silence or squirrels alarm call that’s not natural. Majority of animals shut up, hide and freeze if they hear something in the bush with them. This is why stopping and listening is important. If you sit in the bush and don’t move or make a sound the bush is not silent. You will hear animals move( you will be surprised how noisy mice are lol), squirrels stop alarming, and birds/other animals start calling between each other. This is when a deer calmly steps out 10yards in front of you lol.

    When you stop sometimes for visibility reasons sometimes you will see more sitting so you can look below the bows

    Learning to hunt with your ears more than your eyes. Playing cat and mouse with a noise in the bush takes practice. For starters being able to tell the difference between a squirrel in the leaves and a deer helps. In thick bush odds of stalking up on an animal you can only hear is really tough. The trick I use is trying to work into a position that I cut them off and they come to me well I wait. It takes lots of failures before you start getting good at anticipating where the animal is going to go. You need to be able to sit still for long( I have sat for well over an hr) periods just to see the animal 20-50yards away from you. Being too aggressive often fails but with mule deer I find you can push harder

    I like to combine calling because it helps create opportunities and the ability to push harder

    This is my style of still hunting but others have their own style that works. My style may seem too slow to some the way I describe it but it is because at times I hunt thick bush most would never consider. My pace and style varies depending on the conditions

    To those who want to figure this out except to just hear/see animals run for a while till you get good at it. I have years of screwing up behind me to help anticipate how a situation will play out lol

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Haney,BC and anywhere you can hunt in BC out of the rain !
    Posts
    5,972

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    Regardless of where you hunt scout an area out to see if
    A- there’s any sign or deer in the area
    B- how are they using the area ? Are they using that area to feed or is a travel route to and from feeding to a bedding area, summer area, Rut, wintering area, think like a deer !

    Watch your wind, watch your wind, watch your wind

    You can waste a lot of time in areas that hold no animals, if no sign MOVE

    Cutblocks can be productive, I prefer to hunt them in the evening if I have to !
    Because.........I just love rifles !

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Langley
    Posts
    3,480

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    I much prefer still hunting the timber as Wild One described. While I have no doubt cut blocks produce results for many, in the area where I normally hunt there is a lot of pressure. Heli-logging aside, cut blocks mean roads and roads mean a lot of pressure (in my case). Deer certainly feed in the cut blocks even in my area, but they know how to play the game and virtually all at night.

    In other areas with less pressure and plenty of cut blocks to go around, I'll look at the cut blocks from time to time and glass the odd one but I probably a lot of opportunity. I really dislike staring at cut blocks and glassing. It's almost painful to me. It's a personal preference thing. I know people who can glass cuts and power lines all day and think still hunting is unnecessary torture, so obviously personal preferences are a factor.

    My favourite part about cut blocks is they are almost always an excellent starting point. You can stomp around in there and see what it holds for trails, tracks, poops, etc. As you work around the tree line, you will see the trails the animals are using in and out of the timber. This is a good place to poke your head in the timber since you are going to have a trail as a starting point. See where they go, then find intersecting trails and see where they go, then find more trails that intersect with them. Opportunity from here is pretty much endless. You can walk around looking at trails and sign, playing detective and thinking about how you will still-hunt that area.

    I find still-hunting much more stimulating. Using my eyes (rarely glass) ears and nose is so much more stimulating, even exhilarating. It makes me feel so in touch with everything around me.

    What WO said about letting the forest settle is bang on. If you hear silence, or only alarms from squirrels or birds giving you heck (crows, ravens, stellar jays, wood peckers and even chickadees all have their own way of telling the whole forest there is an intruder) it means you are not being accepted, but rather rejected.

    In Blacktail Trophy Tactics, Boyd Inverson talks about "the ripple effect" which takes it even further. It is not just the immediate area you are being rejected from because of your unnatural movement, sound, smell, etc. The rejection and warnings can spread beyond your immediate area and far beyond earshot. For example, you creep through the timber and reach your blind that you left all zipped up... zipper door and Velcro windows. You unzip the entrance, go in, zip it back up, tear down the Velcro windows *RIP* ... *RIP* then press the button on your Buddy Heater *CLICK* and you are sitting in front of the cozy wooshing of the heater. No problem right? A deer could probably have only heard that 150 yards at most, especially with that creek in the background. NOPE! In reality, your immediate area went silent or maybe a squirrel chirped. 100 yards away, critters heard the squirrel chirp and went silent. 100 yards from that sudden silence, a stellar jay knows something is going on and flies off squawking for another 150 yards. This sets off some chickadees which then let off their warning call. The deer you were hoping would walk by the blind is 700 yards away freezes, ears back, eyes forward alert and ready to stand there for an hour just waiting for subsequent warnings before deciding if it is safe to travel around or if it should go lay low until the forest seems safe again.

    One of the cool things about running trailcams with sound is that you can see/hear this all unfold. When you see a deer on alert, it's usually not just the deer acting differently... the birds are silent and you might hear an alarm in the background. While you don't get to see where the chain reaction started, you see the deer become alerted to the silence or the alarms and then you get an hour of camera footage of a deer staring off into space and moving it's ears around for an hour. The deer seem the most at ease when the forest sounds rich with life.

    This is why I absolutely love (and obviously prefer) still-hunting timber.

    Moving slowly, pausing, sitting and keeping sounds natural are keys to acceptance. I only move quickly if I am scouting or trying to get from point A to point B and have a lot of ground to cover in between.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    In the bush near a lake
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    4,945

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    Caddisguy your telling me that these days you can learn this info from books. You hunters these days have it way too easy

    That is a hell of a a lot easier then following a mentor through the bush getting whacked with a stick or arrow for being impatient or stepping heavy lol

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pitt Meadows
    Posts
    12

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    All good advice above, as for a novice like me it all helps! I’ve been out a few times this year and ATV’s on FSR’s scare most anything from cut blocks. Still hunting takes time, early I can go slow but then find I’m moving too fast and likely ruined my chance. Found a ton of trails, tracks, droppings and rubs but timber was so thick I couldn’t move quietly. Going out again this weekend to keep practising before the rut as I hope to perfect the art of still hunting in timber. Anticipating the deers movement is solid advice and I will try this as it makes total sense.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Walnut Grove, Langley
    Posts
    36

    Re: Hunting the timber or cut blocks - how do you choose?

    Going to try some of these tactics out next week! I’m one of those guys who has hunted mostly clear cuts and goes way too fast in the thick stuff.

    thanks all for the tips

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