Start Scouting for Deer in the Spring
Day 1: Spring Scouting for Deer
Editor’s Note: Deer hunters who hunt like the pros and who bag deer each year have scouted extensively. For a pre-season scout plan to be effective, you must pinpoint not only where the deer will be feeding and bedding during the opening week of deer season, but also where and what the deer will eat once that food supply is depleted.
Most hunters bag bucks by accident. They simply happen to be in the right place at the right time. When they fill their tags, they're often as surprised as the deer they've taken. Better hunters – those who hunt like the pros – have developed game plans from their scouting information to take the best bucks on the properties they hunt. Consistent hunters already have seen the bucks they'll try to take several times before deer season arrives.
These hunters know . . .
* where deer live, feed and bed;
* what routes they travel to and from their bedding areas;
* what seasonal changes deer make when the food supply is depleted;
* where deer go when hunting pressure causes them to move or to feed primarily at night; and
* where a buck's scrape line lies and when he works it.
Diligent hunters can predict with amazing regularity when and where a buck will show up. Then throughout the season, they’ll have stand sites in the places that provide the optimum opportunity for bagging trophy bucks.
“You can take a trophy buck without much difficulty,” Bo Pitman, a hunting guide at White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, says. “But you must be in a spot to get a shot when the buck's not expecting you. As long as you know where he is, and he doesn't realize where you are, you can bag him. To learn where the bucks are on our land, I start to scout at least 3 months before the season begins.”
“I try to spend at least two hours scouting for every one hour I hunt,” Dr. Robert Sheppard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, nationally-known deer-hunting authority, explains. “I've learned the more time I spend scouting before the season, the less time required for me to bag a buck during the season.”
To learn more about how professional deer hunters locate and hunt big deer, buy John E. Phillips’ latest book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available for $2.99 at www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks.