Balancing scouting without pressuring

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mheichelbech
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Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby mheichelbech » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:55 am

What are your tactics and strategies for figuring out how, where, when to kill a mature buck without putting so much pressure on him that he vacated the area or alters whatever patterns he may be on? Does the size of the property/area matter?

Offseason like now...

Preseason...August/September

In season...

So I know Dan’s strategy is to have multiple bucks to go after and his tactic is to find sign and accompanying bedding along with prior experience and dives right in basically but most of us, especially guys just getting after public land hunting or if you find a new property, may have that prior experience with the land or a particular buck.


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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Huntress13 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:04 am

I'm interested in hearing the replies.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Trout » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:36 pm

Great question. I have a hard time finding mature bucks near home, they are out there, but it's big woods and they feel like ghosts. When I locate one, it seems like it's usually in a place I wasnt expecting to find one, which means I have a new area to learn. Which puts me in the same boat as you. Looking forward to seeing what some of the experienced, consistent mature buck killers have to say.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby live2hunt » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:07 pm

Some how you always ask questions similar to things I am questioning myself. I am trying to figure out how to take my strategies next level.

That said I hunt moderately pressured private farm country. My strategy this time of year is to dive in learn how deer use the terrain where sign was from last year. I try to identify all the bedding and make sense of when and why they were there. I get on big tracks and follow them. Shed through turkey season I do the same thing. I don’t worry about where I go or what I bump because there will be time for them to forget I was there. The size of the property matters only if I consistently bump deer out of the same areas forcing them to move on. Once I learn what’s going on I get out.

Pre season I try to identify target bucks and areas they are using with spotting scopes and now this year cameras. I figure out where they are and relate it back to sign I found post season. This time of year property size matters to me. I don’t want to pressure anything.

In season I will continue to monitor areas with spotting scope and cameras. I will also scout the fringes of where I expect deer to be looking for fresh sign. If I see a deer or sign that relates back to spring scouting I game plan where to intersect. I try to wait for the best weather conditions before making real risky moves. Or correlate my moves with reason. This time of year property size also matters and can complicate things for me. Some times I’m to conservative or too aggressive and it’s hard to balance.

Not saying this is “the way” and if anyone wants to critique what I’m doing I will definitely be open to learn. I feel like I’m still missing something in my strategies.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Jdw » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:12 pm

Best case you have been putting in your time winter and spring scouting and know the area before you find out there is a target buck living there.

It’s a huge advantage to already know as much about the area as possible without having to risk educating the buck you are after.

If I find a target in summer or a bit before season, in an area I haven’t scouted. I will try to get as much info as I can by glassing or running cameras as low impact as possible.

If that’s not an option I will go in once, try to figure things out, pick an entry route and tree.

If hunting season is in you can hunt your way in and hunt when you find the sign you like.

Whatever you do try to limit the number of times you go into the spot you’re going to hunt.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Buckfever » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:19 pm

Scout now. Try to get out there when there's no snow so you can see the scrapes in relation to the staging.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby elk yinzer » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:37 pm

I'd rather go down swinging than watch strike three.

Until I have the intel to really know when and where I need to be, and why, I am doing everything I can to piece those variables together.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby seazofcheeze » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:07 am

Even by beast standards, I tend to be super aggressive with my in-season scouting. I moved to Montana this year and didnt really get any spring scouting in, due to moving in early February and recovering from shoulder surgery. Pretty much every area I hunted this year was totally unfamiliar ground.

For scouting, I like to get in these new areas and do a combination of speed scouting/still hunting. In the more open areas, I am glassing looking for deer or deer sign, then I cover the opening quickly. When I get to thicker areas, I slow way down, usually nock an arrow and still hunt my way through the thick spot. Going REALLY slow helps pick up on a lot more sign. I like to look behind me quite a bit too and try and take in the whole picture. I jump quite a few deer with this approach, which is another goal, and might be surprising to some people. I take note of bedding, surrounding cover, trails in and out of the bedding and try and pick out a tree if I plan to return with a treestand. My experience leads me to believe that hardly ever does a buck abandon its core area after being bumped just once. Of course they could run to the next county, but I think that's pretty rare, again, at least in my experience. To me, there is no better intel than seeing a shooter on the hoof. I killed 2 of my 3 deer this year from the ground using the method described above on the first or second time in an area, and the 3rd buck from a treestand on day 2 in a new area. Granted, 2 of the bucks were probably 2.5yr olds, but the other one was mature.

Anyway, my point is I think a lot of guys worry too much about what I would call "initial" pressure. I'd like to add that I do not think a guy could do this kind of run and gun scouting repeatedly on the same property. After the first thorough in-season scouting/intrusion, I think it's really important to have a solid plan to kill next time in. If I dont, I might give the area one more sit before I move on completely, at least for a few weeks.

I'm also more apt to use this approach where I have more public land access and larger chunks of land. As a final note, none of the areas I killed bucks in this year had what I would consider to be great sign. I think relying on rubs and scrapes to dictate hunting areas can actually hurt a guy sometimes outside of the Oct 20-Nov 5 window because of how much of that sign occurs at night. The more I hunt, the more my favorite sign is fresh tracks.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby greenhorndave » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:29 am

Some of us are still grinding. Season ain't over for two more weeks. "off-season" scouters just make things worse right now, even if that's not their intent.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Rich M » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:25 am

I find out if my quota draws came thru in July. Not exactly the best time to start scouting or even check in on the deer as they will be in a summer pattern and it is almost as humid and hot as it gets down here - that happens in August. LOL!

Anyway - close to season pre-season and last year's scouting comes in real handy.

I will go and set cams in previously hot areas and wait at least a month to 6 weeks to check them. (Just waiting for an excuse to buy the Cudde Link non-cellular system - will likely do that if I get drawn for a given area this year - only entering an area once before hunting sounds great to me)

I had gotten the permit 2 years ago and checked a cam after a week and pushed a big mature buck out. The once thru didn't push him, the return trip sure did tho'. It was as hot an area as I've ever found.

Anyway, if I get that quota I will cam that spot, a nearby heavily used pinch point and a spot I saw a big deer AND then go looking for the next high activity spot. Most of the other guys head to several creek bottoms about 2 miles away and they can have it - my goal is to hunt areas other folks don't.

It is amazing how folks hunt this place - they key on the closest features to the parking areas and then expand to the easy to reach stuff nearby. Once you get a mile or so from the parking area and are not on a path/trail, you are pretty much on your own. Also amazing how folks will park right where they see the deer that they see...
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby raisins » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:22 am

How many times entering an area during late winter/early spring is generally too much? In summer checking cams etc, how often is usually too much? When is the last time you should go in prior to hunting season?

Last summer, I didn't enter an area more than once a month and left one month between last entry and start of season. It seemed to work because I killed a target buck and had others on camera during season but didn't connect. In early spring scouting, I would hit one general area very intensely (maybe 4 times in 2 weeks) until I figured it out and then not go back until I was ready to hang a camera after spring turkey season. Thoughts on this?
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby mheichelbech » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:55 am

greenhorndave wrote:Some of us are still grinding. Season ain't over for two more weeks. "off-season" scouters just make things worse right now, even if that's not their intent.

Are you talking about places that are still in season?
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Twenty Up » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:01 am

Go for his throat every chance you’ve got. Just change the direction you’re coming from ;)
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby NorthStar » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:28 am

I don't know if my situation is unique or not but my "close to home" public options have certain times of the year when deer are nowhere to be found and that time is right now. The only problem with this is that the ground is covered with snow. This usually creates an advantage while scouting due to the tracks left behind but not when the deer are gone. I am basically looking for rub lines near areas I expect beds to be and making a guess on where these deer are bedded come early season.

I am starting to learn that the small properties near my house see too much pheasant and duck pressure to hold deer later in the season. So I plan on hitting these spots hard early season and then moving to large acreage in river bottoms and hills around the "October Lull" time frame. We will see how this strategy plays out in 2020 but either way I am going in now until April to get the intel that I need. Once Spring is over, I do not plan to step foot in these areas till bow opener.
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Re: Balancing scouting without pressuring

Unread postby Hawthorne » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:48 am

Spot check where they leave night sign and know where they like to spend daylight hours. My small private property I can’t do this because it’s 23 acres so walking out there to check for sign will do some damage. On public if you know the area really well you can predict where to hunt if you see nighttime sign in certain areas. Might take 2-3 years to figure out. I haven’t killed a buck yet walking into an area blind and just setting up on hot sign. Maybe in lower pressure areas you can do this.


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