Keys to Scouting for Successful Deer Hunting
Keys for Successful Scouting
Editor’s Note: No matter how expert the hunter, how much he knows about deer, or what type of terrain he hunts, fate always can deal him a hand that will make him unsuccessful. But a consistently-successful hunter sets up in a place when and where deer most often will show up. To pinpoint such a place, you need to learn the keys to scouting success.
Key No. I:
Finding a place where deer live may sound academic, but numbers of hunters spend thousands of hours each season hunting sections of land with few if any deer on it.
Key No. II:
Studying the land, its terrain and its topography will help you scout successfully. You can save hundreds of hours of walking through the woods by obtaining aerial photos and topo maps of the land you plan to hunt from several places, including the U.S. Geological Survey. Studying the maps helps you learn the locations of roads, the creek bottoms, the river bottoms, the agricultural areas, the clearcuts, the rights-of-way and the closest houses. You can gain volumes of information about the region you want to hunt before you ever set foot on parts of the property.
From the aerial photos, you also can spot funnel regions, small necks of woods bordered on either side by terrain breaks. Often large numbers of deer will funnel through these small necks of woods to move back and forth through woodlots, making these ideal places for setting up a tree stand. By examining maps, you can locate several tree stand sites before you ever enter the woods and know from which direction you need to approach each stand and how to place those stands to hunt them with different winds.
Key No. III:
Going to your hunting-club property will allow you to see if the land remains in the same condition as during the creation of the maps. I once found an ideal location on a map to hunt my hunting-club lands. However, when I arrived at this spot prior to the season, a timber company had clearcut the entire area. My ideal stand site had become plywood on someone's wall. Another time I discovered on a map a place where two creeks ran together to form a bottom that had three ridges funneling into it. The site looked ideal for taking deer. But when I went to that location, I learned the maps hadn't shown me that beavers had backed-up both creeks, putting the region under 4 feet of water.
Tomorrow: Two More Keys to Successful Scouting