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Hunting Arcadia for the first time this weekend, I live in the area and bought a crossbow a couple years ago just for this hunt and still hadn’t done it.

I had private land lined up but something came up and it won’t work out, ended up with the last open zone (11) that no one seems to want so wish me luck.

Any tips or tricks for a newbie?
 

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Hey Bratch,

So sorry I missed your comments (I can't believe it didn't notice). I hunted zone 7 last weekend 6-9th. It was tough, high humidity and I believe the full moon screwed with them. I saw 9 does, almost all of them in bow range, but no shots taken.

I've hunted zone 11 before. If I'd seen your comments I was going to tell you to walk all the way around to where 10 and 11 meet. There's a, kind of, valley back there with a pond in the middle. The deer transition through there and bed on that side. Several private properties next to that zone put out corn feeders and the deer simply walk back and forth across the private to either side of zone 11. I've seen plenty of deer and a couple really good looking bucks on that zone, 8 or so years ago.

Zone 11 is tough because it is so narrow between private and the water, but it's definitely huntable.

I'm supposed to be hunting zone 6 next weekend as a buddy hunter with a friend who drew that zone. You can still buy any open unit and hunt out there again if you want. I've hunted 5,6,7,8,11, and 24 over the years. Done a bunch of fishing in zone 4 and 9. Never set foot on 1-3, or 13-23. You can count on an opportunity to shoot a deer practically anywhere out there though. I like hunting 5-7 because it's behind a locked gate and the road has been closed the last 5 ish years due to a tinhorn getting washed out and the road has been demoed. It's a steep 30 foot embankment on either side you have to walk down, then back up. It makes for a real long walk. I shot a doe on 6 last year and I ended up dragging/pushing a cart, literally, a mile to get her back to the truck. A lot of folks don't want to work that hard for a deer though.

Apparently vandalism out there has run rampant. The hunt managers told us about all the gates that got ran over opening weekend. The lock to 5-7 was busted, but ODWC replaced it by the time I hunted out there. I don't understand what is wrong with people. Some pothead kids met me out there on the road as I was walking out Sunday afternoon. They were screaming and playing music real loud, smoking a joint. They about crapped their pants when I walked out of the woods in full camo, backpack with hunting saddle on, longbow in hand. The were so confused they couldn't speak. I said "Hi" and kept walking to the truck, didn't hunt that evening.

With all the urban development, I guarantee the hunt at Arcadia is in peril, will probably not exist in 5 more years which is just sad. I've had a lot of fun out there, shot several deer. The folks who work at the lake are always friendly and nice.
Archer22

THANKS. That is the best write up I’ve see on Arcadia, most of the time it’s just someone saying they’d been there.

I actually found that spot on 10/11 scouting after the first morning hunt. Tracks and sign everywhere but the undergrowth and sticker vines were so thick I couldn’t find a good shooting lane. I was ground hunting so the brush was a big problem. I found a decent clearing on the west side by the water and saw some does over there but no shots. After walking around and seeing the layout I plan to get a saddle after season and spend next year learning it. I think it will open a whole new world if opportunity.

I’m hoping to get in on 11 another time or two this season since I’ve scouted it and have an idea where to set up. I live in the area and it is a super easy zone for me to get to.
 

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Hello y’all. Going to zone 6 next week. Be my first hunting trip so hoping to harvest some meat.

Any pointers for an new fella? Excited as this has been a journey of trying to learn a life skill at an older age. Lot to experience and learn for sure.

I’ll be hunting from the ground. Trying to keep mindful of wind and scent.


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I’m a new guy too so here’s what I have learned this year:

Escout before you go out morning to have a plan where to go. I just used the maps on my phone but just downloaded OnX and am liking it.

It’ll look different in the dark, I thought I had found a great opening on the map but could never find it the first morning.

Pay attention to your shooting lanes, you’ll be limited hunting from the ground with the brush. You can not trim any vegetation so you have to work around it. I plan to try and get in the trees next year because of this.

If you have a rangefinder range a bunch of trees around you to know distances incase you don’t have time on the deer.

Plan to spend time walking the property after the first morning hunt to find better sign. The place I started the first morning was garbage and I never went back.

Take flagging tape to mark spots you like and trails so they are easier to find. I flagged the tree I was going to sit under.

Be prepared to adapt. I hunted the first few sessions behind a blind but it had horrible sight lines so I gave up on it and moved to a turkey lounger. I’m shooting a crossbow so I can shoot low easier.
 

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I’ll be out in my first sit this weekend in 6.

Sounds like rough weather so we’ll see.

I’m having all sorts bow tuning issues with my bow at this point. So frustration is high.


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Good luck for some reason I thought you were hunting last weekend.

Friday looks like it could be a bust maybe Saturday morning but other than the wind rest of the weekend looks workable, warm Thursday and Friday morning.
 

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Appreciate the heads up! Met another fella hunting on 5 tonight.

Know this is a stupid question but Something I forgot to ask the hunt manager said you need a physical tag. Is that something I need to get from dept of wildlife?

Excuse my new guy questions.


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Nope you can use anything that you can affix to the deer. It needs your name, ODWC number, date and time of kill.

I had my wife grab me some tie on gift tags at target that I’m using now, before that I had a “my name is…” sticker that I was planning to stick to the body.

I didn’t think about it until after I left but I should have found you, I had the wife and dog in the Jeep so I didn’t linger.
 

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Well good new and bad news.
The good
I had 3 does come in about 5:45 and mill around about 25 yards out. The biggest would look at me occasionally but never spooked and kept hanging around. Facing and quartering towards me she finally turned broadside and I let it fly. I heard a thud and they took off. Wait a bit and go check it out and I had a pass through with a bloody meat chunk laying by the arrow.
Road surface Asphalt Grey Tar Bedrock


The bad

While I was waiting to track it started raining/misting again. She wasn’t spewing blood so I had a hard time getting started on the trail, I finally got her tracked a little ways into the brush but lost the trail. The rain was washing off the leaves and on top of that there were various red and discolored leaves that complicated the track. I called two different blood dogs recommended by the lake but both of them are out of town. I’ll look some more tomorrow but as of tonight I’m assuming I lost her.

This was the fourth time I’ve sat this spot and the first deer I’ve seen, it’s covered in tracks so I was happy that patience and sign kind of paid off. I was also very happy that they were looking at me at 20 yards and never spooked, reinforced my set up was working. Those don’t make up for losing the deer but at least some bright spots.
 

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Well that was disappointing…

I hunted zone 13 again for the last weekend. When I hunted at the beginning of November I saw deer 3 of 4 evenings and coyotes 2 mornings. I shot a doe Friday evening but lost her in the rain.

I was shorter on time this weekend not getting to hunt Thursday morning or Friday night so I decided to stick with a zone I’d been on and already had walked and scouted with a sit I’d had success on previously.

I didn’t see a single deer all weekend and only saw one coyote running along to pond dam. The dry creek was now wet with the rain we’ve gotten so I’m not sure if they weren’t hitting the pond as hard as early November since they had more water sources.

I was excited Sunday morning seeing a Buck and 3 does on the 3 mile drive to the zone after never seeing a deer while driving but again no luck.

I’ll be back next year with new tactics (getting airborne) but this year the deer won.
 

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Yep, when I'm in the stand freezing my arse off, wife will send me a pic of a buck that is worthy of taking in our front yard. Those are her deer though so I continue to trudge in the middle of the night to my stands in the middle of the night in hopes of taking one of my deer.
My wife gets a big kick out of me sitting for hours and coming home to deer in the yard. She’s not attached so if I could come up with a way to shoot them I would but not sure what the neighbors would say. I’ve threatened to post up on the roof.
 
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