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REAL EARLY SCOUTING   Leave a comment

Early Scouting

If it is your goal to finds that records class buck then look to the record books for just what areas produce them.  Records of big deer and press stories about hunter success are available online.

Scientists tell us that there are three elements in deer growing big antlers.  They are genetics, nutrition and age.  You might also add isolation.

Deer growing up in isolation tend to reach their genetic potential at younger age.  Pressured bucks never get that chance.  Not only do they die at a younger age but they also live their life under stress.  Stress seems to retard natural antler growth.

Study of the record books shows that if you can find a place where all these conditions exist, you stand a good chance of harvesting a great deer.

Once you identify an area it is time to find a landowner there who will allow you to hunt his property.  You might need to pay a trespass fee.  Or do some work in exchange for gaining permission to hunt.  Other land owners will allow you to hunt their property with no strings attached.  But, they are getting fewer each year.

Landowners are hearing that wildlife is another crop that they can harvest to help pay the bills.  As agricultural profits decrease, the need for money to pay the mortgage and taxes become more of an interest to the landowner.

Once you secure a good location for the hunt, it is time to go out and check the land.  It is helpful to interview people who work and live in the immediate vicinity.  They see those big deer in their daily activities and often can tell you where the big guys are living, feeding and traveling on a regular basis.

Do not spend too much time scouting as you can cause deer to change patterns to avoid you.  Just go out enough to locate a place to set up your stands and/or blinds and then stay away until hunting season.

One way to find out just what deer are using the area is to use a trail camera.  Deer are photographed without being aware of the process.  The camera operates in complete silence using the solid state technology.  It uses a memory card that digitally stores hundreds of images.

You then view the stored images either in the field or downloaded to a computer at home.

Scouting has arrived in the computer age.  Still there is no substitute for good old hard work and study.  Doing your homework prior to the beginning of hunting season greatly increases your chance of a successful hunt this fall.  It also enhances the experience and expands the time spent scouting that big buck.


Sneaking doe


All too often we spend more time dressing up our ground blinds and treestands with too little thought about where to place them. That often is a big mistake.

Be aware of prevailing winds. Try to place stand in a location where the prevailing wind will be from the trail deer most likely to use in approaching you.  A second choice is a position that has a cross wind.  The idea is to prevent the deer from becoming aware of your presence by using his nose, his primary defense system.

By locating your stand with your back to the sun and front to the deer you defeat another of the animal’s defense systems. Deer do not have a UV filter over their eyes like humans.  They hate to look into the sun and avoid doing so as much as possible.

By placing a treestand high you can be above his nose level. Fifteen feet is usually enough but be aware of wind currents carried over ridges.  The nose level is also above any other scent line where your scent would carry it to them.  This may be high but it does not have to be sky high.  Some people place their treestands in the nosebleed area of a tree.  So high that it causes ones nose to bleed from the altitude.  Pick a tree that is easy to climb for safety sake.  Be sure to use a harness and lifeline in going to/from and while in your treestand.

Prepare your blind and stand locations so that you have shooting lanes that give a clear shot. If none is available then trim some branches and bushes to provide several shooting locations through which deer are likely to pass.

It is advisable to remain concealed from the ground level in the case of tree stands. Do not allow yourself to present a silhouette against the sky.  Deer do look up.  With a ground blind you can use natural brush and other vegetation to conceal yourself and your blind.

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