Scouting? What do you guys look for when you are scouting? And when you are scouting for deer how much scouting do you do?
I was looking for deer tracks and trails when I scout. This year I kind of knew where they were based on cam footage so I have placed more cams out on likely trails and crossings and have been rewarded with some pretty good sightings on the cam. I am still new to the game as this is my sophomore year actually hunting. I also am using google footsteps on my phone to log GPS coordinates of my stands and then trying to use google earth to do aerial surveillance for more possible spots at my lease.
I have a vague idea of what scrapes are so I do not do to much looking for those.
Next year while the weather is cooler say April when the seasons close I am going to hit the scout trail harder.
Believe it or not...I was scouting on the patio behind the house about 40 minutes ago. lol Relaxing w/ a cup of coffee. 4 young bucks ran by at about 25 yards. Busted out of my neighbors woods and ran into mine. All looked to be still in velvet. Happened real fast. Made my day!
To answer the question, I do alot of post season scouting to pattern late winter deer. This is where I pick up the following late spring. Travel routes to food, water and bedding. I look for natural funnels between hills and transition areas from thick cover to wooded and or field. I look for that not so heavy trail just off the heavily used trail. Rub lines always get my attention. I generally don't go too crazy or change too much when I find a scrape though (as long as I'm in the area). Don't use cameras as much as I should.
Chasman, 2010 Martin Bengal 60#,Parker Phoenix 60#, Parker Hornet 70#. Hutch-n-Son strings.'Makes a lot of sense if you don't think about it!
I have regular spots that I use in the different woods that I hunt in. I have found over the years, that the deer typically move on the same paths year after year, (at least where I am hunting). The things I look for most are downed trees, or other obstructions that may move the deer off the normal travel paths. It is nice to find scrapes and rub lines, but for me it is more important to make sure the travel corridors are still open and being used. I also look for tree stands to make sure nobody is moving into my area. I actually found one a few years back. I used to hunt with my father out of an old half built log cabin my uncle started. He split his leg with the ax and never finished the cabin. The logs were about waist high, so we built a seat in the corner and shot many deer from that spot. One year, I found a tree stand in the tree right behind the cabin looking over the path that the deer took which would lead them right to us. I left the stand in the tree for several years, and never saw anyone or any sign of it being used. It was nice to know that it was there, because I would always check the tree to make sure no one was in it, especially during gun season. I have found other stands over the years, but that one was the closest. I like to know where other people are in the woods, just because if the deer spot them, I know to look left or right from where the stand is if the deer try to skirt the stand.
2012 Alien X
Besides the trail Camera. I try to find the high ground and use the glasses more than boots. I had a habit of walking too much looking for deer. One year I actually over done it and got dehydrated. I ran out of water and there were no tree's around to find shade. I stopped sweating, had chapped lips and a really bad headache. I ended up getting underneath some brush for shade until I could regain composure. What I learned was that I could cover more ground with Glasses than with feet. For 1 dollar a page I can get maps from the County Assessors office. From my high vantage point, I look for visible animal trails and mark the trails on my map. You can get a close up map for a certain property if needed. Mark watering holes, paths, etc. There's what's called a 911 map that the cops use for my county. It has everything on there including the map sections for area's. With that information I can get close up maps of certain area's that I'm interested in just by showing the assessor office the area on the 911 map. It has the coordinates on it. If you do it the right way...you can find out who owns what property...it's all public info. Great for getting permission to hunt slips.
I went last Monday, and I was very happy with my last day of scooting. 1 evening, 1 morning = 15 deer. 13 does and 2 bucks. One of them an 8+ points. Not that I'm looking for trophy, but it nice to see one of them since they're not always easy to see.
From after season until late August the next year, I do all my scouting with spotting scopes or binoculars from a good distance. That'll give me a very good idea of deer travel, and hang-out areas. Granted, while turkey hunting, I do notice all the rubs and scrapes from the previous season, and mark them on a map. The deer in my area tend to use the same routes, food sources, and bedding areas every year unless something has moved them out. I hunt private land, so I leave my stands up all year. 3 weeks before season, I go check them all to make sure they are safe and still standing. lol Once season opens, I spend the first few weeks watching the deer moving, and then if neccessary, I'll move a stand to get closer. I won't even think of trying to move up close to a bedding area until it's the middle of the rut. I hunt the travel corridors, and creek crossings for the most part early in the season, and so far, I have had pretty good luck with that. Season opens Oct. 1st here, and so far, it's been 5 years since I haven't gotten my buck before Nov. I like the small Oct. rut that kicks in around here better than the main rut in Nov. Deer show up earlier in the day, later in the mornings, and are still on a fairly predictable pattern during that Oct. rut. Last 4 years have all been P&Y bucks, and none shot later than Oct. 25th.
2006 Rytera Bullet X 60#---2008 Moab 70#
2008/12 Firecat 60#--- 2010 Warthog 70#
2009 Warthog 70#---2009-10-12? Warthog Frankenbow with Nitrous B
2010 Strother SR-71 65# & 2012 Strother Rush 65#
2012 Strother SX Rush 60# & 2011 Strother Infinity 70#
BSD strings and cables
Yeah, I know I'm grumpy and opinionated.
i look for heavily used trails between known feeding and bedding ares. thick brush lines on the edge of a woodlot that has crops on the other side. my best spots so far are a thick creekbottom that is surrounded by crp fields on 3 sides and a large oak woods with plenty of flats and ridges. then i narrow it down even further towards the rut and find dense thickets in the creek bottom close to the base of a ridge with shallow draw leading to the ridgeline.
second spot is a 10acre mixed hardwoods lot with 3 sides being bordered by over 300 acres of corn and clover on the forth side. the woodlot is shaped like a backwards 7 and it alone doesnt really hold the deer,which is fine with me. its a well used travel area that the deer use to cross from one area of corn to the next. i see more bucks in this location than any other. in the 10 years ive been hunting it,i've had only a handful of doe sightings. this is where i shot my 11pt and have passed on way more 8 and 9pts than i probably should have. more points but smaller rack. as much as i dont want to,im supposed to be taking any and all shot opportunities at any and all deer per landowner request. ill start a new thread on this subject.
another area is a 7 acre parcel literally at the city limits. the hunting area is outside the limits,cross the street is inside. there is a factory on the SW corner,a cemetery nestled in an oak forest right next to it on the SE corner. there are two main rds to the N and E of the Parcel. in the middle of it all is my honey hole. a 65acre swamp know as "NO Man's Land" . virtually impenatrable with its insanely dense thickets and muck bottom. it designated trout stream meanders through the property with the 7acre parcel being the only dry ground in the swamp/creek bottom. its also very thick and dense with max shots being 20yds once the leaves fall 15yds in the early season. its extremely hard to hunt,but the size and quantity of the deer there are unbelievable! ive only been able to take one young doe here. the older deer are way to smart for me. id be willing to bet that the average age of the deer are 3 1/2 on up and are over 200lbs on the hoof.
'14 ChillR 28.5"/74# Extreme Recon sight,Schaffer Opposition rest,LS modular stab, Beman ICS Hunter 340
Boy!, Things can change by the day. I guess that's why it's hunting and not catching. We've had a Cougar hanging around our little housing community. We don't even remember when a Cougar just came in someone's yard and bedded down. It's been a week roughly since that happened. My cam is down to almost Zero Deer pics. The Movement is all haywire and my Hunt starts in a few days. The great thing about trail camera is that it logs the date and time. With a computer software you can log that all down into a graph and it will kinda give you the best times for when the deer move in that area where the cam is located. My best times were either at sunrise or right before sunset legal times of course. We have an idea where the Cougar is mainly located. We can actually watch the deer line up on top of the mountain and just look across to another area. All they do is watch that area and DON"T come down. I'm bringing my Taurus Judge with me for extra protection. We can't hound or bait Cougars here so it's mainly Spot and stalk or what I call a chance encounter. I bought a Cougar tag, bear and Elk tag too. I pray that everyone that goes out, comes home to their families. Be safe hunt hard. For your Tree guys and gals make sure you use a tree harness of some sort. between the Cougar and the rattlesnake that was on my front porch I'll be packing a Gun and using my Snake Gaiters. Make sure you give someone a copy and map info of the place you'll be going too. just in case they don't hear from you...they'll know who to contact and where to go. The ex cop and hunters Ed instructor is coming out again. lol Happy hunting...Godspeed.
This little fella was on my front steps. I thought it was a bull snake at first until I walked up to take a picture. He coiled up and rattle at me. For the safety of my family..I dispatched him.
Last edited by Double S; 08-30-2011 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Correction.
I have a Taurus Judge and S&W is now making the Governor.