Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Scouting For Deer in Spring



By the time early springs hits, I’m usually fed up with the cold days spent on a bucket, jigging a rod. By the time I pull out my Steelhead gear, I’m also pulling out topo and satellite maps. I’m locating areas that I would like to scout or areas I hunted the previous year. I’m looking for bottle necks, marshes, acorn ridges and any other area that will concentrate deer movement. One can only do so much scouting from home. Putting the boots to the ground is the sure scouting tactic that any hunter can do. There is so much information that can be gathered during this time and you don’t have to worry about pressuring the deer.

When afield I’m looking for old scrapes and rub lines. Although the deer may have been harvested the year before, their past presence tells me a lot about how the deer use that area. Maybe there is an oak ridge not too far away or a clear cut where deer feed on tree buds and shoots. In some areas where there could still be snow on the ground, you can see deer trails a lot better. These trails usually lead to or from bedding and feeding. As you start getting an idea of how the deer use the area you are in, you can start planning stand sites. I always carry my GPS so I can mark waypoints at different trees I could get my climber into. For one area, I can get a pretty good idea of how the deer use the land in just a short day.

Being able to see firsthand an area you have looked at on maps or never really got the chance to scout properly in seasons past can really pay off when you return to those areas to hunt. One huge advantage of scouting out of season is you are not pressuring the deer. You can walk miles in circles and still not have half the effect on the deer as you would during the season.

Aside from being a great scouting tactic, its great exercise. Just a couple days walking in the woods will have your legs ready to take on all the hard work you are going to put in during the summer. If anything else, at least you are getting outside. Getting into the great outdoors and shaking off the cabin fever. Spring weather after a cold winter never comes fast enough. Take advantage of it. There should be no down time in your schedule if you want to be a successful Deer hunter. I’m always scouting topo maps, reading articles, or scouting on foot. Where I hunt in Northern Michigan, luck only gets you so far. I Hope this gets your brain wrapped around Whitetails. If you would like any other information on scouting during spring, message me at michigangonewild@gmail.com or on Facebook. I love talking Deer and Deer tactics. This is Alvin Sitkiewicz signing off! As always, Stay Wild!