Hunting for big deer is a never-ending pursuit. Even when hunting season is officially closed, there is still plenty of work to be done to fully prepare for when it is open season once again. There are a few important steps to take during your scouting to take your hunt to the next level!
Find Good Bedding Areas
One of the first things you should do to locate big deer is to find the most used bedding areas. Follow any trails from the food sources, and they should eventually lead you to some bedding areas. You will know when you find a good bedding area because it should have signs of bucks such as:
- Well used trails
Once you find the bedding area, leave it, and do not come back. You will want to leave that area undisturbed so that you will not push the bucks out of the area.
You can read more tips on how to find good deer bedding areas here!
Food and Water Sources
You probably already have a good idea of the food sources that your local deer are using, but ever thought about water? In many areas, there might be a local creek or even a pond that the deer will be using. However, in many areas, there is not.
Finding the most used water source in your area will help piece together the puzzle of trying to pattern a big buck in his tracks. Knowing exactly where deer eat and drink is just one way to figure out how to hunt them.
Trail Cameras and Taking Inventory
After thoroughly scouting your deer hunting areas, you will then want to start getting out your trail cameras. Trail cameras play an important role in scouting and will tell you much more about what the deer are doing. Using a few cameras around the area you plan to hunt will quickly start to give you an inventory of all the bucks in the area.
Good places to put these cameras include food and water sources that you have already scouted out and found. Once you find a big buck that you want to hunt, you can start to notice patterns to his actions, such as times of the day he comes to drink, eat, or heads towards his bedding area.
Tree-stand and Ground Blinds
Even though it might not be hunting season yet, it is always a good idea to scope out the areas where you plan on placing your treestand or ground blind.
You can use this time to cut and clear out any shooting lanes, and fully prepare your ambush point. Where legal, you can also place your treestand or ground blind where you intend to hunt well before the hunt starts. This is so the deer can become accustomed to it.
Scouting for deer can be as simple as taking a walk through the deer woods. However, it can also be difficult when you want to find every trail, scrape, and bed in order to find the best possible areas to kill a deer. The key to killing big bucks relates to your scouting efforts, so the more you put in the better your chances are!
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