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Finding "pockety deer"

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I put in for an early 23 permit, looking for a hunt I can do most years, hopefully. I have heard many references about the deer being somewhat "pockety" in the central units. I have also read most everything I can find, here, as well as other forums and podcasts. Much advice is given regarding "patience" in glassing. I think I understand that to a degree, but I feel like it's going to be on an entirely different level. I have read where a number of you will glass from the same spot all day, which to me is the equivalent of an all day sit in a tree stand, which I am ok with. However, being 25 hours away, hunting pockety country, in an unfamiliar area, how do I find a balance between patience and finding those pockets? When do you determine it's time to move on? I think I understand the basics, glass the south slopes until sunrise, glass into the sun the rest of the day, change angles relative to shade. What specifically should I look for to locate those productive pockets relative to the remaining country? I have "seen the light" running my 10x binos on a tripod for mule deer up here for a number of years, so looking forward to putting my 15’s to use. Thanks for any thoughts.

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Just keep doing what you said until you are not a newbie.  Newbies always want shortcuts.😒

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Just scout until you find coues, and spend time in there. I hunt a unit that is pockety as well. There will be coues in one canyon or on one ridge and none on the other ridges or canyons around that spot

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You can always go south in that unit.  The coues aren’t “pockety” in the southern part.  Easier to glass so you’ll see coues deer.  If you’re looking for a giant or bust, then you can hunt up in the pines but you’re gonna be up against a pretty big task.  Most of the big coues that come from the pines are either killed over salt or atleast found on a cam over salt and then glasses for.  If you won’t be around to run cams you’ll be better served to drop down into the desert in my opinion.  

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15 hours ago, ThomC said:

Just keep doing what you said until you are not a newbie.  Newbies always want shortcuts.😒

I'm a little slower than average so I need all the help I can get, but I hear ya.

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14 hours ago, GreyGhost85 said:

Just scout until you find coues, and spend time in there. I hunt a unit that is pockety as well. There will be coues in one canyon or on one ridge and none on the other ridges or canyons around that spot

All things being equal, food/cover/water, just making sure there wasn't some recognizable feature that would contribute to one area holding deer and not the next. 

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13 hours ago, yotebuster said:

You can always go south in that unit.  The coues aren’t “pockety” in the southern part.  Easier to glass so you’ll see coues deer.  If you’re looking for a giant or bust, then you can hunt up in the pines but you’re gonna be up against a pretty big task.  Most of the big coues that come from the pines are either killed over salt or atleast found on a cam over salt and then glasses for.  If you won’t be around to run cams you’ll be better served to drop down into the desert in my opinion.  

I am actually focusing on the south half of the unit, mostly because it was further from Payson but technically closer to Phoenix for whatever that is worth. The wilderness areas are kind of intriguing and the area to the east on Cherry Crk looks to have some slightly rougher country that might be self limiting? Really appreciate that insight though, gives me some optimism that I'm not headed in the completely wrong direction. No, not holding out for a giant yet but not interested in something immature either other than to verify I'm closer to the right areas.

Really appreciate the feedback by all, thank you. 

 

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I used to hunt bear in 23S.  Rough, steep and thick.  There are giants in there which will stay in there until they die.  Ive found the head of one of them and doubt I could have ever seen him a foot in the area i was trying to grind my way through.  Exhausting and fustrating.  Be sure you can actually recover what you shoot.  There is enough cover, water, feed etc that they don't have to move much and even if they do you cant see them.  I once stumbled into a deer "DEN/Pocket" whatever you want to call it in oak the jungles..... I was hating myself and everything with leaves...  I was beat to heck and no way could pack an animal out of there IF I was able to shoot one. This opening was COVERED in deer droppings... 20ft across and absolutely no way to see down into it from above and literally looked like a dumpster dropped piles of deer pebbles... They are there or close by but may never see them.  You'll have to have lots of patience and diligence.  Some areas Ive glassed 3 days in a row, see 3 or 4 bears ( no deer) and then all of a sudden a deer makes an appearance.   Yotebuster mentioned the difficulty of hunting in the pines. it applies to areas in the southern part as well.  On a bear hunt I glassed a 120-130 buck for 30 min but I was up high well before light.  I would never have seen him if I hadn't spent and hour and a half bushwacking before light. Get hiking early and away from easy access. The terrain was so difficult I never went back to find that buck for fear I would drive myself insane trying to take it out and Im slightly on the crazy side.  You usually wont have to move much if you can get to an area which others are afraid to hike once you make it.

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Unfortunately, like many I suppose, I didn't draw the tag. Which was a bit of a surprise to me considering the most recent available data prior to the draw showed a 1:1.25 chance of drawing. However, current data suggests that there is a definitive increase in demand that subsequently lowered the odds. Good news is I have a point going into next year, so OTC archery in January to do some needed scouting. Didn't want to be "that guy" that never reports back. Thanks for everyone's input. 

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Guest oneshot

I feel glassing as a scouting tool is over-rated, sold my big optics/tri-pods years ago, get mobile and walk an area to learn it...Walk game trails, find those choke-points and areas of heavy use... Every Coues i've ever killed was in thick terrain where glassing is impossible...

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8 hours ago, oneshot said:

I feel glassing as a scouting tool is over-rated, sold my big optics/tri-pods years ago, get mobile and walk an area to learn it...Walk game trails, find those choke-points and areas of heavy use... Every Coues i've ever killed was in thick terrain where glassing is impossible...

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.... and there are many, many hunters - myself included - that have killed big, mature coues bucks via spot and stalk.

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There are a lot of places in 23 that hold coues but they don’t leave heavy trails. Some of the areas you can’t walk. It’s all crawling on your hands and knees and your only going to cover a fraction of it. Glassling these type areas is very efficient. In a thick canopy glassing provides very little and you must walk it. There’s no one style that’s going to cover every thing. 

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I usually don't stay in one spot.  But have seen first hand the proof it provides by staying in a good spot all day.  The spot will tell you how much time it takes.  If you got lots and lots of land Ill be there for a while.  And sometimes you need to hike a 1/2 to get to the other side and see that side.  Plus that will put you at a different angel in the same spot behind you and you can find stuff 

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6 hours ago, bigbuckclub said:

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive.... and there are many, many hunters - myself included - that have killed big, mature coues bucks via spot and stalk.

Choke-points and heavy useage??? Well ground sign doesn't lie... Are deer/big game using all choke-points??? , No, thats why you use your feet and have the skills to track...

You, and others use spot-and-stalk, good on you???, (i prefer stand/blind hunting or still hunting (places where big optics are more of a  hinderence then help for me)...

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