Late Summer Scouting by Brandon Barfield 8/19/17
Bow season is just a few weeks away and your growing excitement is uncontainable. Late summer scouting can be a great way to obtain knowledge about your herd and property if your careful. Here are 6 tips to make your summer scouting more productive!
1. Don't Be Intrusive
Through many hard lessons over the years I have learned to contain late summer scouting to low impact areas. Avoid bedding areas and going to far into the woods. Always wear rubber boots and be as scent free as possible. If you want to scout an area make sure you stay downwind of bedding areas and as far away as possible. The last thing you want is to push your deer onto your neighbors property.
2. Scout between 2pm and 4pm
Deer generally are more active in late summer/early fall in the evening hours, but also move between daylight and 1pm. If you're in the woods between 2 and 3 you reduce your chances of walking up on and spooking deer.
3. Trail Cameras
Trail cameras are your best friend this time of year. They can drastically reduce your impact on your hunting area while giving you priceless information about your deer. Place your cameras on the edge of fields near a well traveled trail or other established food source. Make sure you spray your cameras down with scent eliminator before you leave. Check your cameras no more than once every 2 weeks. The pictures acquired can do more than tell you what deer you have in the area. You can learn where your bucks staging areas are as well as get a general idea of where they may be bedding. If your buck constantly comes in from the right, chances are his bed is in that direction. Most bucks in high pressure areas won't feed until after dark. If you have a buck on camera in the field 20 minutes after dark he's standing in the hard woods waiting and watching. Locate his trail and hang your stand 50-75 yards into the woods. Make sure you place it downwind of his travel path and bedding area.
4. Maps And Goodle Earth
Once you have a good idea of where your deer may be coming from, use maps to locate potential bedding areas. Walking into your deers home is the last thing you want to do and is a good way to end your season before it starts. look for thick brush near water and food. Deer will usually bed within 200 yards of their food source. Occasionally deer will even bed right on the edge of a food source.
Water sources are often overlooked. In reality water, especially during a dry summer, can just as or more important than food. Deer will often visit water before they go to bed or on their way to feed. If you can get to your water source without being too intrusive find a good trail going to and from the water source and hang a camera. If the camera shows you what you want to see, hang a stand downwind of the trail and bedding area.
Where I hunt, glassing is all but useless when it comes to locating bucks. The woods are thick and they generally don't come into the fields until after dark. However, of you live in a part of the country that is mostly open terrain and less pressure, glassing is the ultimate low pressure scouting technique.
Set up at least 200 yards from the tree line in cover. If you can, set up on a ridge or hill overlooking a food source. Make sure you can reach your spot without being detected. Using your binoculars, scan the edge of the field or food source and pay attention to where your deer come from, wind direction and temperature. Glassing is a great way to take inventory of the deer on your property.