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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

Just wondering if there has ever been a discussion or sharing of different type of scouting techniques used by different hunters. I know there is people out there that may not want to share what is successful for them, but me, the type of hunter that like to see people take some nice bucks. I have been hunting for awhile and probably not as long as others (20+ years) and have hunted with so many different people from all over the US being in the military. I have learned allot of different things from people, some worked and some have not. But to some of these newer hunters, younger hunters and longtime hunters may learn something new from someone and use it and take a deer of a lifetime. Just wanted some input on if this and get your thoughts is this would be a good idea. Being in Iraq for the past 18 months my wife has sent me allot of great books on hunting and so called " secrets" and really has me thinking of ways i thought i was a good hunter, but know question some of the things i do. Thanks for your time...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A little lenghty

I guess I will start this off with a good technique I was taught by and old friend. I use a lot of Mineral licks for my cameras; of course I get some great bucks on film every year for years since I have been using them. However, the first week of Sept I find the bucks a little camera shy and don’t get many pic’s like you do in the summer months. I was told this was due to the removing of the Velvet and triggering the testosterone levels, changing of food sources and looking for their wintering grounds for the upcoming breeding season. Also hunting season plays a part in some states as people are now more in the woods as they are hanging stands and walking the ground scouting.
I was asked to tag along on a scouting trip just after season ended as he was showing me a technique that he uses that always scores him a P&Y buck every year. He explained that now is the time (post season) that you can see everything in the woods, and not to worry about spooking or jumping deer in their bedding areas. We went to an area of woods where he seen a 160+ class buck cross the road one morning on his way to his hunting area. We walked in the woods and within 200 yards we found a huge rub line and he pulled out his GPS. He marked this rub (R1) with a weigh point and said he is going to follow this rub line and mark every scrape (S), rub (R), shed (S) , large clumps of poop(P), terrain features (TF), choke points (CP), and anything that will help him pin point this guys travel patterns.
So we did this for 4 hours in one direction stopping and marking everything until we ended up about a mile away and hit a corn field just off the Military installation we were on. We then went back were we started from and went the other direction and walked about ¼ mile and ended up in a thicket on the side of nice step hill, and several BIG beds on a bench located about 1/3 of the way down from the top. So we walked around and the area and jump a few deer here and there, but didn’t see not horns. After all said and done he entered 81 weigh points on our walk and he said now let’s go back to his house…We got to his house and he plugged in his GPS to his computer and brought up a TOPO map of the area and down loaded all the points to the map…In some places it looked like a solid straight line and other points we farther apart but you could see just how this buck was using the lay of the land and terrain features to move from bedding and feeding area. His trails were crossing the main Doe trail about every 300 yards or so, and stayed downwind of the doe trails most of the time only crossing them when at certain terrain features. You could see where he used the saddles, thick areas, and terrain features to make himself hidden most of the time. He identified a couple of pinch points/choke points and terrain features and we went back out the next weekend. We looked at all these places and he picked his spot out for next year’s stand. He took a 139†BOW and a 153†GUN out of that stand the next year…
 

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As a follow-up to the last post, I agree that GPS can be a huge help. B4 the use of that technology came along I kept a small pocket size notebook with me and noted all the stuff I thought was pertinent to an area. I make a lot of excursions into the woods for other reasons besides scouting, but always have scouting in the back of my mind. Squirrel hunting trips for example are a good time to make some notes along the way.

For those who hunt public land, the first thing I do is mark off on topo maps all areas within 1/4 mile of any road or easily traversed trail. I figure any great scouting I do here will get screwed up anyway so why bother. This eliminates many conservation areas completely from the picture for deer hunting. The ones that hold up to this analysis tend to be south in the Ozarks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sewing thead

For those of you not fortunate enough to have a GPS unit, i used this prior to these high speed devices coming out..For example if I was scouting an area, and was on a ridge and wanted to know exactly where the deer was traveling along the ridge and there were no definite trails, i would go down over one side about 20 yards and tie the end of a spool of thread to a tree and about every 10-15 yards would rap it around a small tree and do this all the way across the top and down the other side about 20 yards. I would keep it about 3 feet high off the ground to keep smaller critters from breaking it. As a deer is walking through browsing or what ever it will break the thread, so when i would check i would see where it was broken at and that would normally tell me what side of the ridge they favored. Sometimes it would be broke in several areas, and that would lead me to believe maybe a small group of does came through...This can be used in several different areas too...Hope it helps..
 

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King of the White Ninjas
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3 main things for me here...

1. I spend a ton of time in the woods in late winter after the season is over and late summer before the season begins. This gives me an idea of which deer made it through season and which deer I'm going to be hunting early fall.

2. I do a ton of glassing late season from a distance over crop fields before I'll set up on a particular deer.

3. Trail cams, Trail cams, Trail cams...I have more $$ invested in trail cams than all my other equipment combined. They are out all year long and this gives me an idea of what is where and when. It is also a good way to get your kids involved...my two girls name each buck and as we get more pics of him over the years they get excited to see him growing. My oldest(8) can name every buck that will be over 3 1/2 this fall on all of our farms by heart.

I believe scouting is effective early and late but have had minimal success in patterning any deer but especially a big buck during the rut.
 

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Jenny's Lackey
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Late winter, early spring is the best time for scouting general travel. All the signs are still out there, even the scrapes, ya just gotta find them & put the puzzle pieces together. The more years ya hunt a property, the easier it gets to see the patterns.
 

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I basically do the GPS deal but in my brain. I look for rub & scrape density in the woods. It takes some time to make a rub.

I like to start at a food source and go backwards. A bedding area isnt necessarily thick. Plenty of big deer utilize space and sight distance for safety. When your following a trail and it just peters out start looking they have either spread out to eat or sleep.

As bucks get older it seems to me the space they spend the majority of the time gets smaller and smaller.

When I hit a new property I look at ridges, thick areas, bottle necks and last but not least I always stop and check out one area I would have avoided be it because it was out of the way or it just didnt look like anything.

If Im scouting a new place that I didnt get to post season scout I start glassing from the road ahead of season and work my way in over several days.
 

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All good info so far :cheers:. One thing I will add is to pay more attention to detail on aerial maps. I feel the land I hunt is one of the more difficult types to pattern deer...big flat square block of hardwoods surrounded by crops on all sides. My land doesn't have the ridges, saddles, wooded draws, and other obvious terrain features that can easily be picked out.

If you learn to look more closely at aerial maps, you may see things that will funnel deer movement that you can't see when walking through the woods. On my property I can distinguish between the younger timber where the tight canopy chokes out all undergrowth and more mature timber that has a more open canopy and more undergrowth. I have also picked out thickets on neighboring land from an aerial and knowing that bucks come from that direction, its safe to assume they bed and spend a lot of time in there.

One of my other mistakes initially was that I studied inside my property lines only. Those property lines mean nothing to deer, and the land surrounding you is just as important if not more important when looking at deer movement and patterns.

Most of this is probably old info for a lot of us, but that's my :02:
 

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Grrrrrrr
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[rquote=1569741&tid=109131&author=WHAC-MM]I guess I will start this off with a good technique I was taught by and old friend. I use a lot of Mineral licks for my cameras; of course I get some great bucks on film every year for years since I have been using them. However, the first week of Sept I find the bucks a little camera shy and don’t get many pic’s like you do in the summer months. I was told this was due to the removing of the Velvet and triggering the testosterone levels, changing of food sources and looking for their wintering grounds for the upcoming breeding season. Also hunting season plays a part in some states as people are now more in the woods as they are hanging stands and walking the ground scouting.
I was asked to tag along on a scouting trip just after season ended as he was showing me a technique that he uses that always scores him a P&Y buck every year. He explained that now is the time (post season) that you can see everything in the woods, and not to worry about spooking or jumping deer in their bedding areas. We went to an area of woods where he seen a 160+ class buck cross the road one morning on his way to his hunting area. We walked in the woods and within 200 yards we found a huge rub line and he pulled out his GPS. He marked this rub (R1) with a weigh point and said he is going to follow this rub line and mark every scrape (S), rub (R), shed (S) , large clumps of poop(P), terrain features (TF), choke points (CP), and anything that will help him pin point this guys travel patterns.
So we did this for 4 hours in one direction stopping and marking everything until we ended up about a mile away and hit a corn field just off the Military installation we were on. We then went back were we started from and went the other direction and walked about ¼ mile and ended up in a thicket on the side of nice step hill, and several BIG beds on a bench located about 1/3 of the way down from the top. So we walked around and the area and jump a few deer here and there, but didn’t see not horns. After all said and done he entered 81 weigh points on our walk and he said now let’s go back to his house…We got to his house and he plugged in his GPS to his computer and brought up a TOPO map of the area and down loaded all the points to the map…In some places it looked like a solid straight line and other points we farther apart but you could see just how this buck was using the lay of the land and terrain features to move from bedding and feeding area. His trails were crossing the main Doe trail about every 300 yards or so, and stayed downwind of the doe trails most of the time only crossing them when at certain terrain features. You could see where he used the saddles, thick areas, and terrain features to make himself hidden most of the time. He identified a couple of pinch points/choke points and terrain features and we went back out the next weekend. We looked at all these places and he picked his spot out for next year’s stand. He took a 139†BOW and a 153†GUN out of that stand the next year…
[/rquote]

The above is a good "perfect world" scenario but few of us actually have enough continuous hunting ground to do that. For me, going to the woods and expecting to pinpoint a particualar bucks bedding, feeding, and travel route from beginning to end is virtually impossible. Not only are my farms not large enough in a lot of cases, but there is a lot of "contamination" of deer sign by other deer. What I mean by that is that just because I see several rubs or scrapes along some slightly defined line of travel, it doesn't mean that they were all made by the same deer. In fact, there is deer sign everywhere I look...droppings, clumps, tracks, rubs, scrapes, trails, trails, trails, beds, beds, beds, food sources. It's mind numbing to say the least. And...this is on a place where I feel, based in sightings, that deer numbers are down from years past. For me, what works best is to hun the best deer sign I can find and to do so in a spot that the wind won't betray my presence.

You did touch on soemthing that I would love to find an answer for though. We all experience the "big bucks on trailcam during summer but only to see them dissappear from the cameras when hunting season comes" thing, and I would sure love to come up with a way to effectively figure out where it is they disperse to after the bachelor groups break up. For instance in the 09 season on one farm I was getting pics of at least 10 different bucks, several of which were shooters. The pics all but stopped during the first week of september and didn't resume until during the pre rut when they started showing up on scrape cams. If I could find a way to keep track of those bucks during the period between sept 1 and Oct 25, I'd be killing early pope and young bucks every year. Heck I'd be the "Greatest Hunter Ever"....:rof2:
 
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