Mapping Whitetails With The Hunting Public: Episode 5

Putting it all together.

Its time to put a plan in place. Follow along as the guys from The Hunting Public are back in the field. Watch as they combine all their E-Scouting and boots on the ground knowledge to find actual bedding areas, scrapes and the perfect trees for setting stands. Follow along and dig into more whitetail knowledge than you ever knew.

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Video Transcription:

Welcome. Well, we’re here guys. It is video number five of the onX Mapping White Tail series and we’re back at a familiar spot. A few videos ago, you all saw us down here where we were scouting for access right next to this lake. We decided we’re gonna come right back in here and try to find bedding areas today. So Zack and I and Greg and Ted are going to head up into the timber here to a bunch of spots that we marked on the map here recently. We’re going to try to find buck bedding areas. We’re going to show you the process that we use for finding buck bedding.

I’m sure their bedding in there some, but that stuff’s pretty close to the road and we’re thinking if a mature buck is in this area, he’s going to be further back in this security cover. This is exactly what we were looking at on the map. You’ve got this ridge that is covered on both sides with cedars and small oaks. Just tall grass. Thick, nasty cover. What they’re doing here is they’re bedding in here up against these trees, but they’re not right in the middle of that thick cover. As you can tell, these woods open up here behind me. This is actually private land. The fence is about twenty yards away from me right here and that’s all wide open timber over on the private grounds.

He’s completely bulletproof in this spot. If anything comes to the top of that ridge, he’s going to smell it. If anything comes from the private side through those open woods, he’s going to see it and he’s going to retreat back into security cover. If you get down in the bed, just like he would be laying in here, he’s laid up, tucked up against this cedar tree, and he’s watching straight down through these open woods. I mean it’s middle of summer right now, so it’s about as thick as it’s gonna get and I can still see fifty, sixty yards down through those woods. Just laying here, with wind coming right over his back from the top of the ridge.

So once you get in here and you find these beds, what we’ll do is we’ll mark them on onX. We’ll mark these, not necessarily just these individual beds, but we’ll mark the bedding area. Then we’ll get in the beds, within the bedding area, and we’ll see what these deer can see. Then we’re trying to find ways to set up around them without alerting the deer. And that’s going to be the next part of this video.

I would assume Greg, too, with the way this transition is from thick cover to open woods, that there’s going to be bedding all down this transition line for westerly type winds. Southerly winds, this would be, this bed’s more suited for a Westerly type wind of some sort. So if we keep following this, we should find more of them.

Another one right here looks like anyway. Found another bed right in here and this one’s not near as obvious as the last one, but there’s droppings in it. If you ever find a bedding location that you’re not sure of, you got to get down and dig in the actual bed and you’ll actually find hair in it if a deer has bedded there before. This is the same general setup that we were just looking at thirty yards away.

No bed is necessarily created equal. I mean this one, they may not have used for some time now. It looks pretty old, but it could be one that they’re using during the fall when acorns are dropping in these woods, for example. Keep that in mind as you’re finding bedding areas. That a lot of this is seasonal bedding and deer will only use it during certain times of the year. But, they constantly have these factors in their favor when it comes to buck bedding. They’ve got to have that wind, sight, or hearing advantage in the bedding area or they’re just not going to bed there.

I want to look for fence crossings down that fence there, Ted. Anywhere where there’s the fence is falling down or something. Right here, the fence is down. We’ve been walking down this transition. There hasn’t been a lot of trails coming out of that bedding area and headed up into those hardwoods until we got to right here. There’s like four major trails coming out of this bedding cover, going across onto this hardwood ridge. The reason being is this fence is down right through here. Fence crossings are definitely something that you need to be paying attention to, especially in a situation like this where you have a really good fence most of the way up the boundary except in this one spot because you got four trails that are merging right here. This would be an excellent spot for a camera or a stand, potentially, in the rut. We’re getting far enough back away from the road where very few people should be hunting in here.

The next step, though, is figuring out how you would get into this location to hunt. That goes back to what Zach and I were originally talking about with the kayak access through the lake. The lake is several hundred yards away from us right here, but you could yak all the way around a lot of this timber and this bedding cover that we’d been walking through and hook in the back door.

This area is real close to where I initially guessed and I bet there’s bedding in that next draw over to where, because that’s one of my original pins right there. But right here where we’re at, it would be hard to know what exactly is going on just from looking at the map. That fence crossing you never see from a map. This trail crossing right here and this bedding around this pretty subtle transition you would never see from the map. That’s why you make the guess and then you come in here, boots on the ground and you figure it out.

Right now we’re about fifty yards from where that fence crossing is and there’s another really good crossing right here at the head of this drainage. This actually washes into that pond down there. I would assume that it starts cutting out pretty deep where the deer aren’t crossing it and that’s why there’s so many trails right through this area. Right up in here, about ten yards away from me, there’s a bunch of beds right here in the edge of the transition facing that open timber.

I’m going to follow these trails in there right now and see if I can find another bed. It looks like there’s a little opening in the brush up there. I would guess that that’s another bed. If we start finding rubs in these beds, there’s pretty good bet that bucks are using them. Entry trail that I walked in on is coming right through here and the bed is right here where I’m sitting. The deer is just backed in here, probably watching right down that trail with wind coming in from this way. That’s why you can’t set up directly over top of that crossing that Gregs standing at right now is because you’re going to be ten yards from bedded deer, potentially. That’s why you got to get in here, find the beds, and then make your strategy from there.

A bedding area is right behind me here. About forty yards away is where the start of the beds begin and they run all the way up that transition, so I’m just following this exit trail out. Trying to get out of sight of those beds.

Well, we made it over the top of this ridge. We were just in that bedding area, probably seventy-five yards away from us. We’re looking for a stand location in here to try to set up as close to that thing as possible without spooking those deer. What we’ve got here is this little gradual ridge. A few minutes ago we were down in that low spot right along the edge of the bedding and we’ve come up over the top of it here just far enough where we can’t see that transition where all that bedding was at. We’re not very far away from it, but I want to make sure that we’re just out of sight from that location. We got three oaks right here that are growing up. It’s kind of like a triple trunk tree. There’s another good one right here behind me, too, where you could come in from this direction and climb up in one of those trees. Only get about twelve, fifteen feet up. Stay out of sight of those bedded deer. Yet still be close enough to them to kill them during daylight.

That main fence crossing is thirty yards up there. There’s another smaller one right here at fifteen. Then there’s another one that’s run right here, right at the base of the tree essentially. So based on the bedding that we found, this is where we would likely set up in a tree stand, trying to get as close as we can without alerting the deer.

Want to go ahead and add a waypoint here on onX. Then we’re going to walk out and trace our trail out of here. So that we can come up with a good access plan to get back to this spot.

That bedding area we were just scouting is right down here below us. There’s actually two fingers that come off of that thick ridge. That original ridge that we found the initial beds on is just right over there. There’s two ditches that come off of it. Both of them are real thick. One goes on the left side of that pond, one goes on the right side. That fence crossing is just right up there.

But I’m thinking right now about how we get in to hunt that bedding area. The best way to do that is if we come in from the lake, you might be able to just see it right over there, my fingers pointing. If we come in on kayaks around the lake and then come up the top of this ridge and hook all the way around to that fence row and then go in right behind that pond, we can get to that fence crossing. There’s actually a little knob, I walked down in there a minute ago that will shield your access from most of that edge bedding that we found.

Obviously, it’s going to make more sense when you’re looking at it on a map, but in theory, it seems to work. As long as you’re planning your hunt at the correct time, you know. If they’re not feeding on that corn and there’s no acorns in that timber, there may not be a lot of deer using that bedding area. That’s why the map scouting in combination with the boots on the ground scouting is so important. We made our initial guess, which landed our pin right over there, about two hundred yards away. We ended up fine tuning our stand location over here at that fence crossing.

Well, we made it back to the car. We’re hot. We’re tired. We found some good spots. But that’s going to conclude the fifth episode of our Mapping White Tail series. We’re going to do a sixth and final show on the evening of August 6th. It’ll be a live Q & A podcast where we answer all your all’s questions from the first five videos. So, if you have any questions about this fifth video, please post them in the comments below and we will try to get to them during the live feed on August 6.

So, just follow us at our Facebook page, The Hunting Public, and you should be able to catch that.

If you haven’t already checked out the onX Hunt app, go over to And to get twenty percent off all their apps, use the promo code: THP. That’s capital T-H-P.

Greg’s got a bite. Just keep rolling.

Pretty much every time that we’re looking at a piece of public land, whether we’re at home, whether we’re traveling, whether we’re traveling within our own state, we’re doing this whole process. We’re looking at it, looking at the access, eliminate areas that we think are going to get a lot of pressure and then, just the next stage is down the line. And the whole time, we’re just marking that on our map.

Yeah, I mean, hopefully y’all got to see the entire process from the get go, when we start and actually pick an area to go hunt, all the way to identifying potential tree stand locations and setups for this fall. Which is something that we’re already doing a lot right now with our public land deer tour coming up this fall. We’re going to be hunting multiple different states, where we’ve never been before. We’re going to be picking new public areas and going into them using this exact same process and, hopefully, it’s gonna pay off.

Beauty of it all. It’s just a game out here.

Yeah. We’re just stuck in the middle of this game all the time. It’s true.

Written by Cavan Williams