Start Scouting for Deer in the Spring
Day 3: Where and How to Scout
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.
If I'm hunting property I've never hunted before, as soon as I obtain permission to hunt that land, I spend time in the woods. I want to learn as much as possible about these woods. I find out if this region will have an acorn crop by seeing the green acorns on the trees. I will have learned when the farmer plans to cut his crops on which the deer have been feeding as well as where the deer will be feeding after their early food sources are gone.
For a pre-season scout plan to be effective, 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. If you stock your freezer for a month, you have an idea of what you'll eat first, what food is available in your freezer mid-way through the month and what you'll have left to eat at the end of the month. You will set your menus accordingly. Deer generally follow that same timetable. When a primary food source is gone, they already have other food sources identified that they can eat. By understanding the different types of foods the deer will feed on as they deplete their primary food source, you can predict where and when deer may be each week of deer season.
If you don't know the deer's food timetable, talk to your local department of conservation's district wildlife biologist where you plan to hunt. Then look for those food sources on the property you'll be hunting as well as trails deer travel and bedding regions. Next set-up tree stand sites to hunt over those food sources each week of deer season. If you're hunting private lands, you may want to go ahead and set up your tree stands 6 to 8 weeks before 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.