In another thread Maustypsu mentioned me in an unsuccessful Ohio hunt in December 2015 and it got me thinking that more often than not that a hunter can learn more from unsuccessful hunts than successful ones. Typically on successful hunts most things go as planned so there isn’t much to take away from them. However on unsuccessful bowhunts where the hunter/animal had a close enough confrontation, yet the deal wasn’t closed, there had to be a reason why and typically there’s something that can be taken away from that experience. In 2015 Mike invited me down to Ohio to bowhunt and to be perfectly honest, even though I said I might be able to make it in December or January, I doubted I would go as from mid-December through March are my busiest months of the year from a work standpoint. However I saw an opening in work in early December and went. The property was located in your typical flat ground agricultural area with about 40% timber and brush and 60% crop fields. I don’t remember the acreage but would guess it to be around 80. The property was relatively common for farm ground in that there was a plowed under soybean field on the south side that butted up to the road and a large stand of timber to the north of the soybeans. The only terrain feature that jumped up and screamed out from all the timber on this and the surrounding properties timber was that butting up to the soybean field was an extremely dense area of brush and briars. The bordering properties crop fields dictated where the deer fed at night as to the east of the properties timber was an extremely plush winter wheat field for that time of year and to the north of the properties timber was a picked cornfield. All the rest of the surrounding properties were relatively open timber and at this time of year all the foliage was down making the timber extremely open and not very secure for daytime mature buck movements, especially since Ohio’s main gun season had ended the week prior. During the rut, while hunting in the timber along the gas line (map attached), Mike’s friend Donovan who had the permission to hunt the property, caught a brief glimpse of a monster framed buck that had at least 10 points with at least a 22 inch inside spread. He was on the south side of the gas line which is where the dense brush is in and Donovan said it was the biggest buck he’d ever seen. Mike and Donavan had been sporadically bow hunting the ground all season and had seen the big bucks unmistakable signposts and confidently felt he was bedding within that small brushy area and they chose to leave it as a sanctuary area which for its tiny size, was in my opinion the right move. He would have certainly been killed during gun season by a bordering properties hunter. Mike was able to go with me during the first day to scout and prepare a couple locations and showed me a primary scrape area in an excellent congestion location along the gas line where a narrow lane converged and went south through the timber. Both the lane and gas line were being well-used as transition corridors. I prepared a location about 33 feet up a tree right where the lane and gas line met. At that height the tree had a large crotch that would offer a little cover as there wasn’t much for background cover and the tree didn’t have much for lower branches for concealment cover. Shockingly, we didn’t have to cut any shooting lanes as the gas line and lane were both in line of the tree. Once finished I had to walk that lane further south because it went in the direction of where the buck was likely bedding. At the very south end of the lane where it met up with another lane just inside the fence line from the bordering property we found a large active scrape beneath a small oak that was still holding most of its leaves. Not 15 yards from the scrape was a perfect oak that still had its leaves and I set up about 30 feet high in it and cleared the tops of a few trees that would’ve blocked a shot to the scrape. We never went anywhere close to the small bedding area but there was no doubt that if he were there, he definitely heard our preparation commotion at both of our set-ups which is never a good thing with mature bucks. Bucks in pressured areas don’t get old by being stupid and other than when they are being driven by high levels of testosterone during the rut, they rarely make vulnerability mistakes and I sort of knew by this and the bordering properties layouts and the areas obvious hunting pressure in the form of box blinds that this buck would likely not be moving during daylight hours.