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Old 08-21-2007, 12:25 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,242
Default RE: Pre-season scouting: any tips?

Pickerel: First tip is to consider wearing insect repellant when you scout. You may find more bugs out before the first frost. I suppose some will decry this for leaving your scent in the woods, and they may be right. Where I hunt there are gazillions of insects called "seed ticks" that get all over your legs and cause pain and discomfort for a long time -- a week or two -- if you let them crawl around on your lower legs.

The best tip I have is to get out and walk around your hunting grounds, several times. You begin to "see" things only after you have grown accustomed to the place. Then you begin to notice things. Sure, take note of deer tracks, where the tracks cross the creeks or go to water such as ponds. If there are fences have an eye open for tufts of hair stuck to the wire that may indicate crossing points. Just look. Keep in mind that deer are prey species: other animals want to eat deer, and deer want to avoid being eaten. Look for travel routes that keep close to cover but which are relatively easy to travel. Look for natural concentration points where deer will be led to -- for example one shallow point for crossing a stream, one place where stream banks are low rather than steep and high, where the deer will generally prefer to cross the stream if they have it their way. Look for food -- berries, persimmon, apple trees, crab-apple trees, acorns, etc. This is basic scouting.

More sophisticated, serious hunters may try to spot and pick-out a particular buck that they wish to hunt. They may further attempt to determine the particular buck's movement patterns, the better to lay an ambush for this buck when the season opens. That is more involved and dedicated than my deer hunting interests. I'm more of a meat hunter than an antler hunter. A middle-sized doe will suit me just fine, and to bag a doe doesn't involve elaborate and involved scouting, typically.
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