Preseason Scouting an Elevator Ridge

Nothing is worse than spring for a big time addicted whitetail hunter like me.  We spend all winter anxious to get out and see the woods, search for sheds, move stands, and try to find the new “perfect” spot.  Then, as soon as the snow melts the whitetail woods suddenly looks just as it did last November and you realize that it is 5 more months of waiting.  All that aside it really is a great time of year to see the woods as it would look before everything greens up.   We are in the second year of hunting this 80 acre parcel (actually our first spring) and have learned a ton.  One of the highest concentrations of deer occurred in one small area of the property; we watched countless deer go in and out of this particular area and this spring we investigated why.  It turned out to be a potential hotspot and a perfect example of an “Elevator Ridge” for next season.   The concept of an elevator as it relates to deer hunting is actually pretty simple.  Humans use elevators because we are lazy and would rather not scale 3 flights of stairs to get lunch every day.  This concept can be applied to deer as well; they prefer and usually take a path of least resistance (as long as it’s safe).  This newly found scenario brings bedding (creek bottom) to food (corn/beans) in the simple, fast and efficient method just like an elevator brings me to 4th floor every day. The blue lines in the photo below show the boundaries of the Elevator Ridge, the black lines are known deer trails and the red dot is the location of our new stand site.

Aerial View of the 2011 Elevator Ridge

Below are a few key characteristics that make this Elevator Ridge work well.

  • Bedding – Perfect bedding area to allow deer to feel safe and within ½ mile of a major food source can make for a great combination.

Creeks that flow year-round offer water/cover for bedding

  • Steep Ravines – The steep hillsides along creek effectively push deer directly up the “Elevator Ridge”

Sheer walls 40 feet high on either side push deer into the middle of ridge

  • Rubs – Fresh Rubs from previous season show areas bucks frequented in during the pre-rut.

Fresh Rubs in the middle of ridge indicate directional travel

  • Trails – Find a heavy doe trail worn to dirt and bucks will follow 

This trail follows the creek up to our “Elevator Ridge”

  • Stand Placement – Place your stand on the downwind side of as many major trails as possible.

Stand on the peak of the Elevator Ridge

In the end, this time of year can be hard because we can’t test our theories, but this new spot has all the makings of a fantastic stand for 2011.  During the Season 2 of Bowhunt or Die I can promise you will see us perched on top of an Elevator Ridge waiting for a chance at a monster buck! Do you agree with this setup?  Do you have an Elevator Ridge on your property to take advantage of next season?

See you in the woods,Neal McCullough

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