As fall approaches, more and more of us are beginning our early season traditions in hopes that this year it will all pay off, and winter will come with a new rack and a freezer full of venison.
Beginning your early season scouting can give you a serious leg up on the competition. From understanding growth patterns to knowing where the local watering hole is, early season deer scouting is a game-changer.
In this blog post, I will be going over some seemingly basic tips that can lead to a big improvement over last season.
Every Deer is Different
I find it important to start this list off by saying that not all deer are created equal. While some tactics may work on the ma majority of bucks, remember, not all whitetail act the same.
Your trail cameras could pick up and show you a real monster that you had never seen before. Typically, you may think that his buck uses your land as his territory.But, depending on the buck, the ranges of whitetail can change dramatically.
Some are homebodies who stay in the same radius their whole lives. Others are travelers and will take “vacations,” roaming to other pieces of land they would not traditionally go to.
Get Your Trail cams up Early.
It should come as no surprise that trail cameras are a great addition to your pre-season scouting arsenal. They give you valuable insight on things like
- What bucks are still on your property
- New fawns
- Locate bedding areas
But they can also be tricky if you do not use them the correct way. Consistently going back and forth you the spots that you p[lacecd your trail cameras is a risky maneuver. Yes, you get additional information on the bucks around you. But you are also leaving your scent behind and disturbing the area.
You will usually want to stay out of the bucks core living area until hunting season begins. Too much intrusion or disruptions can be negative on your fall hunt.
Cut shooting lanes
A sensible “no-brainer” is to pre-cut your shooting lanes. First, it makes the entire process of locating and taking the kill shot on a whitetail much easier. Then, put them in conjunction with your food plots, mineral licks, or any other spot where you know the deers like to be.
Like setting up stands and cameras, do it early and stay out of there!
Don’t skimp on Scent Control.
Scent protection is another no-brainer that almost any hunter going into the woods should take advantage of. However, not all scent control is created equal. You should be doing more than just a pre-hunt shower and a quick spray of your favorite scent spray. Some other off the shelf options include
- Ozone Machines
- Scent Shampoo
- Scent killing soaps & Sprays
Just owning and using the products is not defense enough; they are merely tools. It is the OTHER things that you have to pay attention to make it truly effective. Things like paying attention to the wind direction and length of time between the field and shower prove even more important.
Also, keep in mind that if you are on a multi-day hunt, the buck you want to shoot might not come into sight for a few days. So the better you are about your scent protection, the ENTIRE hunt, the better off you will be in the long run.
Plant a Plot
While late July is a little bit late to get your food plot up and started if you have not already, getting the idea in your head for next season is never a bad idea. I won’t dive fully into food plots in this article, but you can see our full breakdown of summer food plots here.
Like most animals, deer are extremely food-driven. So having a food plot not only gives the deer a reason to stay on your property but also lets you know any apparent vantage points. For example, if you know that the deer congregate by your corn, then you have a perfect place to hang your stands and cams!
A little extra prep and early season scouting never killed anybody, but it can help you take down the dream buck you’ve been waiting for! Happy Hunting!