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Scouting Conversation and plenty of Questions

gcr0003

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My goal for this year is to get a kill with a traditional bow so Im not necessarily going to be targeting specific or big bucks, though as I scout if I pick up information leading to or supporting figuring out decent bucks im not going to pass it up. I want to find where the does and small bucks are and be on them almost every hunt. I enjoying seeing deer and so that’s where I want to be every hunt

How fast do you scout? I feel like I’m rushing the whole time and I’m a little cracked out like a squirrel trying to scan everything. Small trees, big trees, looking for acorns, scanning for scat, looking for ruffled up leaves, scrapes, rubs, acorns again, looking up at the trees to see what acorns they are and if they’re are many left, scanning far out to see if I can seen deer before they seen me as I scout, looking for bedding, deer trails and cover, the whole thing is very time consuming. I want to take in and mark good sign so that takes time as to. I ended up trying to cover the most ground as possible and passing on mediocre sign to find that sign that makes you stop and hunt a place. More or less in the back of my mind I’m thinking I’ll just walk walk walk until I bump deer and drop pins where I’m bumping them. I’ve covered a decent amount of woods and have bumped a significant amount of deer which I do believe has led to the deer I am seeing on my sits, but im still not able to put the whole picture together of why the deer are in the particular area, and where they are going.

1. Do you think this is and efficient way to scout or am I covering too much ground and likely overlooking a lot?

I’ll also cover the outer perimeter of a piece typically and then maybe cut through the center, that usually give me a good picture of a majority of that section of woods but there’s no way to cover everything unless I spend a lot more time on each piece.
2. should I be covering more of the internal pieces of

I have started to force myself into thick junk where there is only one trail going in and out say in some privot, greenbrier, and thorn bushes. I have found some does bedding and hope to start bumping bucks at some point as well. I know they have to be bedded somewhere during the day and I unless I bump them I’m not going to know where those places are.

3. what time of day do you scout?
mice been scouting mid day or mid afternoon but I recently had the thought that that is not when I’m usually hunting so wouldn’t I rather find where the deer are in the morning or in the late afternoon. Those are the places I want to be. If I’m setting up where the deer are in the afternoon but hunting in the morning I may be down and gone before they work into that spot unless I plan to hunt midday? So my thought was to sacrifice sitting in a tree a couple times and scout at day break and 30 mins before sunset or something similar. Does that make any sense? Thoughts? The one issue I see with this is screwing up other guys hunts, which I don’t want to do. One of the places I hunt is closed on Sunday so I could utilize that day though.

This is a long post so I appreciate you making it to the end. I would appreciate getting some seasoned hunters opinions on this.
 

Allegheny Tom

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Big woods or big ag? Small properties or huge public? Type of terrain? Deer density? Access and low disturbance routes? Possible surveillance sites where you can set up some low impact spots where you can monitor a large area to get a feel for what's going on? There's a lot of questions that need to be pondered pertaining to your area.
If you just want to shoot a deer, any deer, then look for edges and obvious travel corridors as a starting point but be ready to adjust to patterns that you observe.

This will be my 52 season and it still takes me a few years before I even begin to get a handle on a piece of property in regards to actually understanding what the deer are doing. It's not fast or easy, especially with trad equipment. Picking the tree that works versus the one that won't work can be a matter of 5 yard difference, sometimes less than that. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

For the places that I hunt...
The best time to scout IMO, is springtime before green up. You can put on big miles, spend as much or as little time in big or small areas without worrying about goofing up anything. Edges, funnels, trail, beds, and rut sign are easy to see. There's no time frame pressure to get it done quickly.
In-season scouting is a little trickier. I prefer low impact tactics. Check out the fringes for basic sign to confirm the general usage that you found last spring is still occurring. If it is, then you should have already picked some trees in the spring.
 

elk yinzer

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If I truly scouting I may go in with a little bit of a general plan, but I leave plenty of room for riffing. I pretty much walk where the deer trails/terrain want to take me and let those be my guide and not stick to any preconceived plans. I like to dive right into where I think deer are and figure out access and all that later.

I don't do much map scouting anymore because everyone does it now and they all end up in the same spots. That's been a big change in the past decade or so with onX and other phone apps so popular. I pretty much try to cover as much ground as possible and narrow out where I don't want to hunt. I'll cruise fast through unproductive areas and slow way way down if I am trying to pick something apart. Even then it's usually a few seasons hunting an area before I start to really figure it out. Here in the big woods I estimate I find maybe one good area for about every 20-30 hours of prospecting. An area probably has multiple good setups, but it's an area where deer concentrate and I feel like is good hunting.

If I am scouting my way into somewhere to hunt, well, don't listen because I'm not very good at it. I too find it to be a bit much of a mindf*** trying to balance finding good enough sign vs. going too far. It's worked for me but more often than not I end up in deer purgatory and wasting my time.

I think anything from leaf drop until green-up is the best time for scouting, really can't go wrong. Closer to the rut the better imo, later in winter and spring you have to filter out winter sign if deer do different things in winter vs. fall as they do here. I'm not a huge fan of scouting with snow on the ground other than that around here it's the best time to locate large tracks but deer use the landscape differently when there is snow.
 

elk yinzer

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In-season scouting is a little trickier. I prefer low impact tactics. Check out the fringes for basic sign to confirm the general usage that you found last spring is still occurring. If it is, then you should have already picked some trees in the spring.
That's a pretty good way of putting how I approach in-season also. Kinda poke around confirming if previous scouting or season's hunting intel still applies. I tend to use earlier season hunts to gather intel too, hunting my way in before I dive in full-bore for the rut. It's not so much a pre/post season thing as a continual process that never ends. I'm tagged out and already thinking about using the rest of this season for intel next year. I filled my tag already because of hunts where I came close last year and the past few years I've spent learning this area.
 

Jagger0502

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Try to keep it simple when scouting. Deer don’t take the same trail every time. Acorns don’t fall all year and ag fields get cut so their pattern will change day to day season to season. Find the three things they want, food/water/secure bedding area and connect some dots. Google and topo maps work great to get an idea but boots on the ground get you the real info.

find these three things, draw straight lines on the maps and then find pinch points to focus on heavier used corridors. These are the locations I start with. Once in there you might see them headed to a specific oak grove for acorns or bypassing a corn field to hit a small clover patch. Being in the woods and seeing them move is the best way to start to figure out their patterns. If it is an open woods area or field I like to set up in an easy place to get out but a place I can see their movements in and out of the area the first day. Mark their enterence or exits in and out of the area and check the wind for the best spot to sit and go in the next day and set up in the best possible spot. Bad wind… save it for another day. You can’t beat a deers nose.
 

gcr0003

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I’m in Alabama so the rut is fairly dispersed in this area and will be anywhere from mid December to late January. That good buck sign doesn’t show up for a while in this area. This is a lot of skinny woods surrounded by ag following streams and tributaries of the river. Lots of it get flooded in the winter. There’s lots of mud flats and islands. Lots of privot and greenbrier thickets and cane breaks. The woods that aren’t strings of woods running creeks are little 50 acre, 100 acre, 200 acre sections worth woods. A lot of which gets flooded in dispersed spots through out. I’ve tried to mark small mounds and such that won’t flood come winter when the lake/river is up more.

I’m not finding many white oaks dropping this year at all. The deer were feeding heavy on soy all the way up until it was harvested in the last few weeks. I even saw a bunch each in the bare fields what I assume were the soy droppings. There are still a few fields of corns standing.
 

gcr0003

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Try to keep it simple when scouting. Deer don’t take the same trail every time. Acorns don’t fall all year and ag fields get cut so their pattern will change day to day season to season. Find the three things they want, food/water/secure bedding area and connect some dots. Google and topo maps work great to get an idea but boots on the ground get you the real info.

find these three things, draw straight lines on the maps and then find pinch points to focus on heavier used corridors. These are the locations I start with. Once in there you might see them headed to a specific oak grove for acorns or bypassing a corn field to hit a small clover patch. Being in the woods and seeing them move is the best way to start to figure out their patterns. If it is an open woods area or field I like to set up in an easy place to get out but a place I can see their movements in and out of the area the first day. Mark their enterence or exits in and out of the area and check the wind for the best spot to sit and go in the next day and set up in the best possible spot. Bad wind… save it for another day. You can’t beat a deers nose.
There is close to zero undulation in most of these areas. They are flat flat flat, so finding topographical pinch points are less common in these areas. Some of the land I hunted last year in the national forest was very steep and those terrain features were a little easier to identify.

Having a predominately open wood section surrounded by ag with not many terrain pinch points is part of my trouble in pin pointing where deer might be traveling consistently or coming from. They basically have free roam to go wherever.
 

gcr0003

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Try to keep it simple when scouting. Deer don’t take the same trail every time. Acorns don’t fall all year and ag fields get cut so their pattern will change day to day season to season. Find the three things they want, food/water/secure bedding area and connect some dots. Google and topo maps work great to get an idea but boots on the ground get you the real info.

find these three things, draw straight lines on the maps and then find pinch points to focus on heavier used corridors. These are the locations I start with. Once in there you might see them headed to a specific oak grove for acorns or bypassing a corn field to hit a small clover patch. Being in the woods and seeing them move is the best way to start to figure out their patterns. If it is an open woods area or field I like to set up in an easy place to get out but a place I can see their movements in and out of the area the first day. Mark their enterence or exits in and out of the area and check the wind for the best spot to sit and go in the next day and set up in the best possible spot. Bad wind… save it for another day. You can’t beat a deers nose.
Yes! The acorns aren’t great and the fields get cut so if you’re not scouting during the season you’re using old Intel to set up on the deer.

They love this greenbrier stuff and it’s everywhere so they can basically eat where they bed, eat where they walk, and always be browsing. It’s not likely a primary food source but I’ve seen them eating it a bunch.
 

gcr0003

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I’ve been away from this land for 2 years so getting back into figuring it out. I was clueless before and I’m only slightly less clueless now. I’ve done far more boots on the ground scouting each year. I see close to no sign and then bump 6 deer. It’s been so random.
 

Jagger0502

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There is close to zero undulation in most of these areas. They are flat flat flat, so finding topographical pinch points are less common in these areas. Some of the land I hunted last year in the national forest was very steep and those terrain features were a little easier to identify.

Having a predominately open wood section surrounded by ag with not many terrain pinch points is part of my trouble in pin pointing where deer might be traveling consistently or coming from. They basically have free roam to go wherever.
I am hunting a new area next week, very flat and very swampy. My pinch points might be 100 yards wide between creeks or bogs. I am looking at two creeks running along a swampy area and drawing lines along the outer turns on the creek and lining those up with the open bog areas as my pinch points. I guess I should have been more specific, pinch points or areas of brush, creeks or field that funnel deer.

if you have fields I would set up on the edges and figure out enterence and exits and and set up on those. I find unpressured deer usually use the same areas to enter and exit fields when the food is around.
 

kyler1945

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Schemeecho said:
@kyler1945 Sorry I just found this information. The state forest in Newberry county is on avg. 45 deer per sq. mile. in lexington and saluda county it's 15 to 30 deer per sq. mile
Let’s take an average there and say 25 deer per mile.

If you walked the 5000acres like I suggested, you have the opportunity to run into 150 plus deer on average. Obviously these are broad terms, general terms. But the point is - if you cover 5000 acres and don’t run into a lot of deer, as in, most times you talk a walk, you’re bumping deer, then you can reasonably assume that area holds less than average numbers of deer.

Is there chunks of this national forest larger than 5000acres in size without roads, clear cuts, new growth, CRP, lakes, rivers, fields, etc? Probably not. So taking a 5000 acre chunk apart will give you a TON of data. You’ll identify patterns, and have a rough gauge of how many deer you should be seeing.

Next season, you will have identified terrain types, areas, etc that don’t hold deer like others do. You can then take the next 5000 acres and learn it in 75% or 50% of the time. Use the balance to “hunt” the areas you identified in the last season as “most deery”. The following season, you should be able to pick apart 5000 acres in even less time. You can take the best spots or tactics from the first chunk, and apply it to the second chunk.

You will get better at identifying spots that hold deer and why, and you will spend less time on land that doesn’t. You will spend the free time not burnt on crappy land hunting.

This is all a sorting and patterning process. It’s why you can kill deer to begin with - your brain identifies patterns at an astonishing rate compared to other animals.

When you disrupt your brain’s ability to identify patterns by listening to what strangers on the internet think, or even worse, what your brain thinks, you make this process take longer.

You think right now that just starting at square one is the least efficient approach. I’m willing to bet if you hadn’t wasted the first five years of your hunting career “hunting” and instead spent it walking around looking for deer with no weapon, you would be armed with an immense amount of useful information right now.

And confidence. I am willing to bet I’m within the top one half of 1% of deer sightings per hour spent in a tree. And it’s not because I hunt magic land or have some special secret. It’s because I don’t get in tree until I’m 100% sure I’ll see deer. And the only way I know to be confident of that is to become proficient at finding them before I set up.

Some people sit in a tree just grateful to get away from work or wife or kids or whatever. I sit in a tree to kill deer. There’s nothing wrong with the former. I’d just rather spend most of my hunting time doing things that lead to success.

Sitting in a tree because the internet said it’s the right spot, or it feels right, or I’m scared to booger a bedding area, or whatever dozens of excuses we make to watch squirrels, just doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m risking my life, and sitting still in crap weather for hours on end, I’m doing it to kill deer.

I can watch squirrels in my yard at home.

There’s much to be said for going “waste a bunch of time scouting areas that don’t hold deer.” I can think of no greater motivator for me to learn where deer are, than to never experience wasting that time again…
 

kyler1945

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Let’s take an average there and say 25 deer per mile.

If you walked the 5000acres like I suggested, you have the opportunity to run into 150 plus deer on average. Obviously these are broad terms, general terms. But the point is - if you cover 5000 acres and don’t run into a lot of deer, as in, most times you talk a walk, you’re bumping deer, then you can reasonably assume that area holds less than average numbers of deer.

Is there chunks of this national forest larger than 5000acres in size without roads, clear cuts, new growth, CRP, lakes, rivers, fields, etc? Probably not. So taking a 5000 acre chunk apart will give you a TON of data. You’ll identify patterns, and have a rough gauge of how many deer you should be seeing.

Next season, you will have identified terrain types, areas, etc that don’t hold deer like others do. You can then take the next 5000 acres and learn it in 75% or 50% of the time. Use the balance to “hunt” the areas you identified in the last season as “most deery”. The following season, you should be able to pick apart 5000 acres in even less time. You can take the best spots or tactics from the first chunk, and apply it to the second chunk.

You will get better at identifying spots that hold deer and why, and you will spend less time on land that doesn’t. You will spend the free time not burnt on crappy land hunting.

This is all a sorting and patterning process. It’s why you can kill deer to begin with - your brain identifies patterns at an astonishing rate compared to other animals.

When you disrupt your brain’s ability to identify patterns by listening to what strangers on the internet think, or even worse, what your brain thinks, you make this process take longer.

You think right now that just starting at square one is the least efficient approach. I’m willing to bet if you hadn’t wasted the first five years of your hunting career “hunting” and instead spent it walking around looking for deer with no weapon, you would be armed with an immense amount of useful information right now.

And confidence. I am willing to bet I’m within the top one half of 1% of deer sightings per hour spent in a tree. And it’s not because I hunt magic land or have some special secret. It’s because I don’t get in tree until I’m 100% sure I’ll see deer. And the only way I know to be confident of that is to become proficient at finding them before I set up.

Some people sit in a tree just grateful to get away from work or wife or kids or whatever. I sit in a tree to kill deer. There’s nothing wrong with the former. I’d just rather spend most of my hunting time doing things that lead to success.

Sitting in a tree because the internet said it’s the right spot, or it feels right, or I’m scared to booger a bedding area, or whatever dozens of excuses we make to watch squirrels, just doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m risking my life, and sitting still in crap weather for hours on end, I’m doing it to kill deer.

I can watch squirrels in my yard at home.

There’s much to be said for going “waste a bunch of time scouting areas that don’t hold deer.” I can think of no greater motivator for me to learn where deer are, than to never experience wasting that time again…

This was taken from this thread.

Need some more help with scouting concerns | saddlehunter.com

I think some very useful information in there. My belief is that "finding deer" is what we often conflate with "killing deer" and "gear modifications and practice and research" and "climbing methods" and "which tree to hunt" and "web scouting", and under title "hunting". Only one of those things is "hunting" - "finding deer". Spending an inordinate amount of time shooting bows, playing with climbing gear, internet scouting, etc. actively takes away from a person's ability to concentrate on "finding deer."

My guess is any small tweaks you could make to your scouting style, would have far less impact than reducing all other time spent doing "hunting" related activities by 90%.

That said, if you don't want to do that, expect the process of learning the specifics of your terrain, deer habits, vegetation, travel directions, wind directions, weather impact on movement, etc. to take you far longer than it has to.
 

kyler1945

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I have started to force myself into thick junk where there is only one trail going in and out say in some privot, greenbrier, and thorn bushes. I have found some does bedding and hope to start bumping bucks at some point as well. I know they have to be bedded somewhere during the day and I unless I bump them I’m not going to know where those places are.

3. what time of day do you scout?
mice been scouting mid day or mid afternoon but I recently had the thought that that is not when I’m usually hunting so wouldn’t I rather find where the deer are in the morning or in the late afternoon. Those are the places I want to be. If I’m setting up where the deer are in the afternoon but hunting in the morning I may be down and gone before they work into that spot unless I plan to hunt midday? So my thought was to sacrifice sitting in a tree a couple times and scout at day break and 30 mins before sunset or something similar. Does that make any sense? Thoughts? The one issue I see with this is screwing up other guys hunts, which I don’t want to do. One of the places I hunt is closed on Sunday so I could utilize that day though.

On these specific topics:

One thing to remember as you bust into thick cover - which I absolutely think you should do. Old big bucks aren't SMARTER than younger deer. They have more experience by default, and they adhere to what their instincts tell them to do more stringently than their buddies who are in our freezers. You may see does and young bucks and think that is all that is there. But there's also a good chance you're bumping big deer also. They've just seen, smelled, or heard you prior to the other deer, or were more likely to bail even on less sight, smell or sound than the others. They're probably there too. Taking advantage of windy conditions, rain - wet quiet ground, etc. will get you closer to deer generally. You may be around the big boys, and just haven't had the roulette wheel pop up on your color yet.

I scout all the time. In my opinion, scouting at the times you'd actually hunt will give you the shortest path to knowing where deer are when you typically hunt. You're intuiting correctly here. But don't NOT scout midday because of it. Prioritize being in the woods when the deer are moving around the most - dawn and dusk.

Lastly, don't worry about messing up other guys' hunts. It's public land. It is there for everyone to hunt, legally, as they see fit. Go scout, and hunt your way. Having said that, if you're in an area with close proximity to another hunter, and he's close enough to see you and be bummed out you're hunting near him - you probably weren't going to see deer anyway. I promise they know he's there if you do.

Obviously, a little courtesy and decency, combined with an extreme allergy to other hunters (which you'll share with the deer you're trying to kill), will go a long way.
 

Robert loper

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I would not be busting into bedding areas this time of year i would be scouting the edges.
you may bump one or two but thats ok.
note all conditions and keep on going.
You may be able to get away with it in some places but not where im at. Its to small.

Most terrain but, maybe some hill country.
I try to explain in a simple way and-try not to get too deep like some do.
Getting to in depth makes-people over think alot of where, when, and why.
you still need to know these things but keep it simple.
food is everything= If the food is there the deer will be.
pressure= if the deer are pressured they are gonna still use the food source until it is either not to thier liking or is almost gone.
but, in pressured areas they are going to be spooky
Moving later, staying within thick areas and eating browse within until after dark.
they will skirt around known blinds, presets and yes trail cameras.
so in short stick to thick transitions that will create a bit of bedding.
does will not care if its a straight transition or some sort of breakup in it.
bucks like a transition breakup
Points, bowls, fingers, corners, etc.
stick to scouting with bow in hand and gear on back ready to setup and you should start having more encounters with all age classes
Especially during the rut.
if you are not seeing deer move til you find hot sign in areas i described snd setup.
you will eventually learn throughout a few seasons how the deer use they area.
good luck bro keep us posted
Also remember this and no offense to anyone.
alot of these big youtube groups and hunters hunt and scout 7 days a week all season long.
In my honest opinion most of them are no better hunters than alot of guys on this forum.
they just have unlimited time to hunt and scout making more opportunities for themselves.
Also for most of them its their jobs or they are hard marketing something
 
Last edited:

gcr0003

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This was taken from this thread.

Need some more help with scouting concerns | saddlehunter.com

I think some very useful information in there. My belief is that "finding deer" is what we often conflate with "killing deer" and "gear modifications and practice and research" and "climbing methods" and "which tree to hunt" and "web scouting", and under title "hunting". Only one of those things is "hunting" - "finding deer". Spending an inordinate amount of time shooting bows, playing with climbing gear, internet scouting, etc. actively takes away from a person's ability to concentrate on "finding deer."

My guess is any small tweaks you could make to your scouting style, would have far less impact than reducing all other time spent doing "hunting" related activities by 90%.

That said, if you don't want to do that, expect the process of learning the specifics of your terrain, deer habits, vegetation, travel directions, wind directions, weather impact on movement, etc. to take you far longer than it has to.
Yea I’m getting to the point where my scouting is putting me where the deer are. When I hunt somewhere I didn’t previously see deer or have enough sign to convince me there is a high chance of them being there I feel like I’m wasting my own time. On top of that, I thoroughly enjoy exploring the woods. Many times I would much rather be bumping deer and finding fresh sign than sitting a tree hoping a deer comes by. So I’m at the point where I’m willing to sacrifice sitting bored in a tree for more time scouting and finding deer. I decrease my fooling with gear significantly when season is in, I don’t waste a lot of time internet scouting, but I do want to continue to increase my boots on the ground.
 

gcr0003

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I had found how deer were using the other land I was hunting after 2 years pretty well and I saw many deer almost every sit and several nice bucks. Now I’m trying to do the same thing with a significantly different type of area.

I think scouting will continue to be key but I find more deer than deer sign. So I’m leaning heavy on that.
 

gcr0003

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On these specific topics:

One thing to remember as you bust into thick cover - which I absolutely think you should do. Old big bucks aren't SMARTER than younger deer. They have more experience by default, and they adhere to what their instincts tell them to do more stringently than their buddies who are in our freezers. You may see does and young bucks and think that is all that is there. But there's also a good chance you're bumping big deer also. They've just seen, smelled, or heard you prior to the other deer, or were more likely to bail even on less sight, smell or sound than the others. They're probably there too. Taking advantage of windy conditions, rain - wet quiet ground, etc. will get you closer to deer generally. You may be around the big boys, and just haven't had the roulette wheel pop up on your color yet.

I scout all the time. In my opinion, scouting at the times you'd actually hunt will give you the shortest path to knowing where deer are when you typically hunt. You're intuiting correctly here. But don't NOT scout midday because of it. Prioritize being in the woods when the deer are moving around the most - dawn and dusk.

Lastly, don't worry about messing up other guys' hunts. It's public land. It is there for everyone to hunt, legally, as they see fit. Go scout, and hunt your way. Having said that, if you're in an area with close proximity to another hunter, and he's close enough to see you and be bummed out you're hunting near him - you probably weren't going to see deer anyway. I promise they know he's there if you do.

Obviously, a little courtesy and decency, combined with an extreme allergy to other hunters (which you'll share with the deer you're trying to kill), will go a long way.
Yea I don’t know why it took me so long to have this thought. I know I didn’t want to waste a morning or evening hunting for a while, but now that I think of it, sitting where I don’t know if the deer are using it or not is wasting my time. I have seen a lot of deer in my evening scouting. I need to make myself get up early and morning scout too.
 

Empostarr

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Location
SE Michigan
Yea I’m getting to the point where my scouting is putting me where the deer are. When I hunt somewhere I didn’t previously see deer or have enough sign to convince me there is a high chance of them being there I feel like I’m wasting my own time. On top of that, I thoroughly enjoy exploring the woods. Many times I would much rather be bumping deer and finding fresh sign than sitting a tree hoping a deer comes by. So I’m at the point where I’m willing to sacrifice sitting bored in a tree for more time scouting and finding deer. I decrease my fooling with gear significantly when season is in, I don’t waste a lot of time internet scouting, but I do want to continue to increase my boots on the ground.
I've been heavily scouting. I moved last year and have a ton of public near me. I internet scout to find places I want to investigate, then when I have time to get into the woods I go out and scout based on the predominant wind direction, aiming to check out one of those spots I've identified. I've been out 5 times and only got into a tree once. I'm the same, I like just being out in the woods exploring, and I'd rather be finding the spots they're actively using right now rather than hanging and praying for a deer to stumble by. It has def kept it really interesting this season and I've got some good intel.

During those times, almost every time I've either been yelled at by a deer or I've seen deer, or both. One spot I thought was gonna be good, I didn't see anything.

Weirdly, the piece of land I encountered the most deer on, had the oldest sign. Nothing screamed that deer were actively using it, but I saw 4 and had 2 yell
 

Nutterbuster

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
9,391
Location
Where the skys are so blue!
im still not able to put the whole picture together of why the deer are in the particular area, and where they are going.
That'll come as you continue to bump and hunt and kill. It's better in my mind to know deer are in an area without knowing why than to not know where they are in the first place. And it's a very bad thing to force a conclusion as to why deer are there. Man is not just rational, but rationalizing. Half the battle is being honest about your own ignorance. If it makes you feel better, the deer probably don't "know" why they do things or what they'll be doing tomorrow.

1. Do you think this is and efficient way to scout or am I covering too much ground and likely overlooking a lot?
Deer and deer sign aren't invisible. If it's there you'll see it. If you're not seeing it you haven't found it yet. Is it possible you're missing something? Hypothetically I guess so. But in my experience it's hard to cover too much ground or be too choosy/dismissive of spots. The woods are big. Most of it is just trees.

2. should I be covering more of the internal pieces of

I have started to force myself into thick junk where there is only one trail going in and out say in some privot, greenbrier, and thorn bushes. I have found some does bedding and hope to start bumping bucks at some point as well. I know they have to be bedded somewhere during the day and I unless I bump them I’m not going to know where those places are.
I focus on roads/trails, navigable waterways, property lines, and edges in that order. If you find good stuff, then by all means bail off into the interior and have a looky-loo around. But I'd say hold off until you have a really good feel for the macro lay of the land.

3. what time of day do you scout?
dark in the am walking in, dark in the am walking out, and everything in between. The only thing that keeps me from walking if I'm in the mood to do so is heat and courtesy to other hunters. But I generally scout my way in and out of areas and if I get a wild hair and don't think I'm near anybody I'll poke around mid-morning. If I'm not very sure I'll see deer on a sit, I'd rather scout. Even if it's the middle of the rut or the weather is good or whatever.

Also, if you're hunting the property I think you're talking about...what in the world made you go back given the alternative? You said you were seeing bucks and getting on deer...rule #1 of deer hunting is hunt where the deer are! Why are you leaving them?
 

gcr0003

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
6,450
Location
AL
That'll come as you continue to bump and hunt and kill. It's better in my mind to know deer are in an area without knowing why than to not know where they are in the first place. And it's a very bad thing to force a conclusion as to why deer are there. Man is not just rational, but rationalizing. Half the battle is being honest about your own ignorance. If it makes you feel better, the deer probably don't "know" why they do things or what they'll be doing tomorrow.


Deer and deer sign aren't invisible. If it's there you'll see it. If you're not seeing it you haven't found it yet. Is it possible you're missing something? Hypothetically I guess so. But in my experience it's hard to cover too much ground or be too choosy/dismissive of spots. The woods are big. Most of it is just trees.


I focus on roads/trails, navigable waterways, property lines, and edges in that order. If you find good stuff, then by all means bail off into the interior and have a looky-loo around. But I'd say hold off until you have a really good feel for the macro lay of the land.


dark in the am walking in, dark in the am walking out, and everything in between. The only thing that keeps me from walking if I'm in the mood to do so is heat and courtesy to other hunters. But I generally scout my way in and out of areas and if I get a wild hair and don't think I'm near anybody I'll poke around mid-morning. If I'm not very sure I'll see deer on a sit, I'd rather scout. Even if it's the middle of the rut or the weather is good or whatever.

Also, if you're hunting the property I think you're talking about...what in the world made you go back given the alternative? You said you were seeing bucks and getting on deer...rule #1 of deer hunting is hunt where the deer are! Why are you leaving them?
That place is blown up. Lots of hunting pressure and given how you access much of that land there are only so many places to enter. Every redneck in the south has a Jon boat, so you’re not really getting away from anyone. I did find one spot that you can only get to by rope climbing up over a ledge that I’m saving for the rut. I saw bunch of does in there as well as some buck sign and turkeys. But I’m not fooling with hunting next to the other guys. I was parked at one spot and 2 other boats came in on that same spot after daylight they both started blasting and I almost got shot (at least that’s how it felt). On top of that they’re baiting in many many places and I don’t want to be anywhere near any of that. On top of that I moved and so now I’m 2 hours from that area instead of 1. It’s just more than I want to drive to hunt most of the time. I have as good if not better deer on camera on this land I just need to figure them out some more. I’ve debunked my original thoughts that this area only had scrub bucks. It’s also has some dandy’s. Then lastly with me hunting with a stickbow I’m really just focusing on getting on deer and I’m not going to be prejudiced. I do want to eventually make a play on a buck, but does and scrubs is fine until I can figure out the big boys some more. It all goes towards figuring out the bucks in the long run, either that or to catch one slipping up.
 
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