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Old 07-30-2008, 07:06 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 52
Default scouting

When I read magazines alot of them tell you to scout from hills or glass over fields to see where deer enter... Where I hunt there are no fields its just thick woods. So When I scout I tend to walk the woods until I come across a trail or rub etc then try to follow it. Should I be walking down a deer trail or do you think they will choose alternate route once they smell that someone has been down it??

How do you scout big thick woods, to determine best place for stand placement? There are some water sources where I hunt but they are enourmous and picking the best location is not the easiest.

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:27 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,526
Default RE: scouting

I tend to study topo maps and pick out likely travel routes, pinch points, funnels, bedding areas, etc. After I have done that I get out in the woods and look for sign in and around those areas.
This early in the season they might alter their routes for a day or two, but will end up using them again as long as they are not pressured.
Good luck.
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Old 07-31-2008, 04:48 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: west central wi USA
Posts: 2,149
Default RE: scouting

Agood time to scout the big woods is just after thedeer season is over and again in early spring (turkey season). You can see the well used trails and locate the funnels and bedding areas. As long as there are no great changes to the landscape, (ie. storm damage, logging) these stay pretty constant. Then in late summer, in as few trips as possible, locate the likely early season food sources and put up stands.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:43 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Lake County, Florida
Posts: 3,313
Default RE: scouting

when scouting practice the same steps as you do when hunting regarding scent elimination. those "glassing" techniques shown on t.v. to scout are pretty much useless in the south east. here i have to actually work by beating the brush and finding trails. look for old rubs and scrapes because bucks will use these area's year after year.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:25 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 3,406
Default RE: scouting

Hunting big woods can be challenging. I hunt big woods as well and here's a few thoughts that may be helpful.
Forget about the comments of finding the feeding and bedding areas and hunting those travel routes. In the big woods deer may not
have to travel far because both may be available close by.

Deer need a food source and security. I would get a topo of the area and look for the thickest,nastiest place and begin concentrating there, yes, begin there.
It may be a swamp, thick alders or thick pines. All these places offer security that the deer need. You may also find travel routes in and out.

I have come across thick alders and ask myself how can a deer get through there. Alders are those small trees that may grow 10+ feet tall but are
very thick, have thin branchesand always grow together. So thick that you have to brush the branches aside just to get through. My son recently shot a big doe with a bow and that's where she ran. As we later returned to look for her, I got on my knees to look for her blood trail, that's when I saw the trails, like highways, going through those
alders. That taught me a lost about deer and cover. BTW, we found her soon after.

Scout for food sources, especially acorns, beechnuts, etc and determine if the deer are feeding there.
One of the best signs you can find is droppings. Especially if you see old/fresh dropping because this will tell you the deer are using that area.

As the Summer comes to an endand Fall season approaches, buck signs will begin to appear. Scrapes and rubs will be the evidence that you need.
Also remember that food sources changes just as the season changes, so continue to scout other areas. This is crucial because you always want to setup where the
deer are, not where they have been. I heard a comment years ago that I believe is true. If you have only 3 days to hunt a new piece of woods, scout the first 2 days and hunt
the 3rd.

Try breaking down your area into grids. If you have the luxury to scout often, especially in the off-season, try to cover a lot of ground. I call it speed-scouting. I check an area
by looking for tracks, droppings, trails etc. and I move on through quickly if I see no evidence that deer are using that piece of woods. There's no reason to waste time if the sign is not there. You can eliminate a lot of time.

Try to determine the places that other hunters enter your woods and stay clear. These hunters may be unknowingly moving deer in deeper, so try to
get to those areas by entering from the opposite location.

I also remind myself, as simple as this may sound, that - deer have to be somewhere all the time. You can't shoot them if you can't see them. Ask yourself - "If I was a deer..."

Soooo, get a topo of your area, find the thickest places andhardwoods deer may use for feeding.
Look for all deer sign, tracks, trailsand especially old/new droppings.
Check for possible funnel areas and edges. Deer love edges, so scout those places where the woods are thick but adjacent to more open areas.
Alsoridges are places bucks just love to stay. They will bed down 2/3 from the top, espeially onthe southern side.

As I said earlier, hunting big woods can be tough but very rewarding as well.
Take your time, enjoy your time in the deer woods, come up withstrategy when Opening Day finally arrives and....
Good Luck!

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Old 07-31-2008, 03:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 79
Default RE: scouting

I look for last year sign ,scrapes rubs.I will walkbeside deer trails but as you scout now there are plenty of leaves on the trees.As the leaves come off ,areas (hardwoods) open up .Big bucks like to have cover to "feel" safe.Small bucks and does will still travel the deer trails.Having topo and walking in the woods for me is the best way to scout.I try to low impact scouting.I don't want other people to know where i am scouting and i try not to bump deer or leave any sign, smell that i was there.Even though there is still timenot to worry about bumping deer,I still try to be careful.The trails you find or walk by ,look around and you should find another trail that might not be traveled as much.I find the bigger bucks use those.And yes there is a but to all this it's called the rut.Then i try to find where the does hang out.I still- hunt with muzzleloader , rifle so i am hunting and scouting at the same time.
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