QUESTION: I'm hunting 1,100 acres in Alabama. There's a nice ridge on the property shaped like the number "7." It has a saddle at the top left of the "7." One side faces north and has a ravine cut into it. The other side faces south, which forms a huge bowl of mature hardwoods and cedars leading down into a gulley.
There are a few subtle benches at the top and halfway down. This is not steep terrain. On the bottom of the north end, where the deer exit, the path is beaten down like a cow trail.
How should I hunt this place? I've read that you need to set up in the saddle. In my case, it's hard to access this because of all the noise I'd make accessing the saddle. I'm also stumped on the winds and time of day.
-- Thank you, Cade G.
ANSWER: It's hard to be very accurate without more knowledge of your specific circumstances, but I'll take a stab.
You might start by setting out trail cameras to learn when deer are using various areas/trails on the property.
Even in moderate terrain, deer tend to use the path of least resistance, which means a saddle would be a good place to set up if you can access it without too much disturbance and the wind is favorable. Deer also tend to travel and bed along benches.
Depending on where their food source is, deer generally tend to move uphill in the morning and downhill in the afternoon. You might try hunting above them in the morning, anticipating they'll move uphill to bed; then set up low in the afternoon, trying to intercept them. Sounds like the "cow trail" might be a good option as well.
Keep thermals in mind too. As the morning air warms, it rises and takes your scent with it. In the afternoon, cooling air will carry your scent downward.