Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Wed Mar 25, 2020 3:49 am

I have been breaking down a hunk of public (3000 acres) for the last 3 years. The 1st year I just tried to find the bedding farthest from any access and seemed to get away from people. Last year I pinned down specific buck beds with a plan to access and hunt them, only to sneak in when conditions were favorable to find someone had put up an illegal stand with a camera in front of it on a scrape about 100 yards from where I planned to hunt. I tried it that night anyway but only saw some small bucks. Yesterday I checked this spot only to find there was zero sign in this location. Could of this went cold due to this guy intruding over and over or could it just be due to logging going on nearby? So last year I found that if I hike in and then crossed some wet boot high water I was back in the game, but I was just out of range a little bit, I had encounters with some mature bucks but they were either just out of range or coming past right after shooting hours. So i hit the online scouting and found some likely bedding, yesterday I scouted where the older bucks had come from and found some definite bedding and likely kill set ups, but I also found an easier way to access this spot(also found footprints on this access) and also found where another hunter had made a set up (trimmed some branches for shooting). If they are accessing this spot from the easier way they would likely be bumping the buck before getting to their spot, would you give up on this spot or just hunt it the way I had planned? Perhaps this buck knows everytime this guy hunts and it would give him a false sense of security and end up working in my favor? I also looked at a brand new hunk of public (3000+ acres), & I learned that you can not out walk people. I hiked in about 1/2 mile of pretty easy going, 1/4 mile of tamarack swamp, then crossed a 1/3 mile of cattails/fragmities to a 25 acre island. The island was insane, surrounded by red brush, tags all around the edge, then oaks, then as you got higher on it there was tall grass/cedars, full of beds and a ton of sign(i have never seen so much deer poop). There was also signs of hunters, some old stands and trash that look to be gun hunters, and off of one point that held some awesome beds I was looking for "the tree" and once again found where some else had found that tree and made some gentle trimming. From the easiest public access they would have pass right thru the best bedding. I also discovered that the island could be accessed fairly easy from the private land that wasnt too far away. I took some time to check for sheds as this appeared to be a prime location but didnt find any leading me to believe shed hunters had already combed this spot. Would you continue to try and throw a few hunts at this spot, or would most of you let the sign left by other hunters deter you and look elsewhere? I am beginning to think that it is almost impossible to out work/walk people on Wisconsin public and that I need to start focusing on areas next to the road, or should I be looking at areas that dont look very good on a map? Am I being unrealistic to think I can find things others have not found already? I have added so many good set ups to my , and refined some of my good spots that I am feeling really good about this coming year as last year so many of them worked out just as planned but I was always just a couple of trees off of where I needed to be. I have been hunting hills and swamps primarily. Is there a piece of the puzzle I am missing or any advise that you could offer me? Sorry for the long post, lots of time and too much coffee this am!!


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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby greenhorndave » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:03 am

I think you’re seeing and learning similar to what I am. Singing Bridge has a post (I forget the title) that says what you have discovered. You might out-work somebody, but probably not. And I’ve found similar in that a tough access might actually not be that tough if it comes from another direction or off someone’s private land. You might take a thoughtful approach, but it doesn’t mean others will.

So where does that leave us? Use that pressure to your advantage. Deer will reroute around it, if only 70 yards or so. I had a great encounter with a buck on private in my very first sit in a tree stand. Couldn’t get a shot, but it was that first-time sit, etc. Well, a year later I witnessed that same buck reroute 100 yards away to travel out in the open rather than travel in a perfect travel corridor that had a stand.

We just have to find those pockets. They exist. It’s just darn challenging.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:14 am

I did discover an oak island yesterday that didnt have obvious people sign on it and it appeared to have been hammered last fall. It just seems impossible to hunt as it was entirely surrounded by doe bedding.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Evanszach7 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:23 am

All sounds very similar to southern Ohio. Heading into this spring's scouting I decided to abandon trying to out work guys and focus on where people aren't hunting. It helps that ive marked other hunter's sign and stands on OnX over the past 2 years. Ive been crossing off those areas, and areas with terrain features that attract guys (saddles, obvious creek crossing bends, timber fingers in ag). I also left a dozen cameras out all last season in areas I didn't hunt, thats now given me 4 spots with daylight mature bucks. Funny thing is they range from early season, prerut, rut, and mid December. But each only had shooters for a couple days. Got some good intel there, that Im trying to relate to why I should sit other spots and when.

Ive scouted 70-80 miles since February, and have picked up around 10 new spots with no hunter sign. 3 of those have to be ground sits. Im also focusing on areas that arent loaded with sign, but near bedding. If guys don't know where the bedding is, these spots seem to get overlooked since they don't have the sign.

Hail Mary approached 1 last season. Used the leave a stick on a permanent stand tactic while turkey hunting last May. Was planning to check it and sign early season last year. Saw the stick was still there when I was coming in and had an encounter with a mature buck by setting upwind 50 yards of the stand. I was just off wind enough, to watch the buck scent check that stand before committing down the ridge to me, just out of range.
Cant kill him in that spot, but it gave me good intel that Im using this year . Ive seen a few bucks bed and travel in this area to monitor or scent check permanent stands.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:53 am

Evanszach7 wrote:All sounds very similar to southern Ohio. Heading into this spring's scouting I decided to abandon trying to out work guys and focus on where people aren't hunting. It helps that ive marked other hunter's sign and stands on OnX over the past 2 years. Ive been crossing off those areas, and areas with terrain features that attract guys (saddles, obvious creek crossing bends, timber fingers in ag). I also left a dozen cameras out all last season in areas I didn't hunt, thats now given me 4 spots with daylight mature bucks. Funny thing is they range from early season, prerut, rut, and mid December. But each only had shooters for a couple days. Got some good intel there, that Im trying to relate to why I should sit other spots and when.

Ive scouted 70-80 miles since February, and have picked up around 10 new spots with no hunter sign. 3 of those have to be groundsits. Im also focusing on areas that arent loaded with sign, but near bedding. If guys don't know where the bedding is, these spots seem to get overlooked since they don't have the sign.

Hail Mary approached 1 last season. Used the leave a stick on a permanent stand tactic while turkey hunting last May. Was planning to check it and sign early season last year. Saw the stick was still there when I was coming in and had an encounter with a mature buck by setting upwind 50 yards of the stand. I was just off wind enough, to watch the buck scent check that stand before committing down the ridge to me, just out of range.
Cant kill him in that spot, but it gave me good intel that Im using this year . Ive seen a few bucks bed and travel in this area to monitor or scent check permanent stands.

Thanks for the tips, I have also always marked illegal stands when i find them, that is a great idea to put a branch on them to tell if they have been used. I find myself wondering if they are gun stands or decoy stands to deter others from hunting the area.
I was planning to run some more cameras this year in some of these less obvious areas but I was waiting till later in the year. I usually let the shed, turkey, and mushroom hunters get out of the woods before I hang them, usually after 4th of July. I find this really cuts down on theft, and usually eliminates the dreaded overgrowing branch the usually jumps right in front of my camera!!
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:11 am

Sounds like you’re onto some good spots! I hate that feeling when you’re scouting out something growing more and more excited and all the sudden you see the human sign. A lot of times I abandon the spot but sometimes I find nobody is hunting it or if they are it’s only a sit or two like I do. Lord knows there’s a few spots out on public I setup and only hunted once or twice and never returned. Not that they were bad spots but people move, have kids, get tied up at work, get private land or maybe even croak.

You just never know how that spot fits into someone else’s .

I really like the stick on the stand idea.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Hawthorne » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:43 am

1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:Sounds like you’re onto some good spots! I hate that feeling when you’re scouting out something growing more and more excited and all the sudden you see the human sign. A lot of times I abandon the spot but sometimes I find nobody is hunting it or if they are it’s only a sit or two like I do. Lord knows there’s a few spots out on public I setup and only hunted once or twice and never returned. Not that they were bad spots but people move, have kids, get tied up at work, get private land or maybe even croak.

You just never know how that spot fits into someone else’s .

I really like the stick on the stand idea.



I thought that only happens in lower Michigan. It’s quite common I’m set up not far from an old hang on. I’ve been scouting a spot that’s tough to get to. There’s a hang on there I’ve been paying attention to the last few years while scouting in winter. My determination is it hasn’t been hunted in at least 2 years. Will be time for me to throw a hunt at it this year
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby RiverBottoms » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:52 am

Like other people have said, you never know how much pressure a spot actually receives. I'd probably still try it out and use the weather to my advantage, or beat them out there (in case it is gun hunter sign). After a sit or two you should have more recent intel on if that spot is being hunted that year, and how much. I think you are on the right track that adjacent private or gun hunters might find a spot with a lot of sign and camp out there for a year or two, not knowing that they tip off the buck every time they access that spot. I bet a lot of good spots get abandoned because they are being hunted wrong.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:49 am

[/quote]I thought that only happens in lower Michigan. It’s quite common I’m set up not far from an old hang on. I’ve been scouting a spot that’s tough to get to. There’s a hang on there I’ve been paying attention to the last few years while scouting in winter. My determination is it hasn’t been hunted in at least 2 years. Will be time for me to throw a hunt at it this year[/quote]

I often wonder if guys hang these stands out there just to scare away other hunters off? I have noticed that most of the time they are el-cheapo stands.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:58 am

Hawthorne wrote:
1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:Sounds like you’re onto some good spots! I hate that feeling when you’re scouting out something growing more and more excited and all the sudden you see the human sign. A lot of times I abandon the spot but sometimes I find nobody is hunting it or if they are it’s only a sit or two like I do. Lord knows there’s a few spots out on public I setup and only hunted once or twice and never returned. Not that they were bad spots but people move, have kids, get tied up at work, get private land or maybe even croak.

You just never know how that spot fits into someone else’s .

I really like the stick on the stand idea.



I thought that only happens in lower Michigan. It’s quite common I’m set up not far from an old hang on. I’ve been scouting a spot that’s tough to get to. There’s a hang on there I’ve been paying attention to the last few years while scouting in winter. My determination is it hasn’t been hunted in at least 2 years. Will be time for me to throw a hunt at it this year


Hawthorne, I’m really just a troll that relocated :shifty: I’m mostly basing off the years I hunted the marshes and islands of Saginaw bay, and several of the larger state game areas in the thumb. Good times.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby creepingdeth » Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:26 am

Definitely worth a shot, just dont put all your eggs in that basket.Its so easy to come across great sign and get deflated by hunting pressure. Maybe hit that area early, most dont like early season because of the bugs and heavy greenery. It takes me generally 3 years to figure out a public as far as the pressure goes. And remember, great sign is fun to see, but can you read it well? Why, when was it laid? All part of the fun is figuring it out and killing one.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:26 pm

creepingdeth wrote:Definitely worth a shot, just dont put all your eggs in that basket.Its so easy to come across great sign and get deflated by hunting pressure. Maybe hit that area early, most dont like early season because of the bugs and heavy greenery. It takes me generally 3 years to figure out a public as far as the pressure goes. And remember, great sign is fun to see, but can you read it well? Why, when was it laid? All part of the fun is figuring it out and killing one.


Thanks, I have quite a few spots now in my , so if the pressure is there I have several back up plans. I have decided to go & really focus on this particular property as I know there are some very good deer in it and its not that far away from home. I put on another 8 miles today looking at some areas that I felt others would not look at. The 1st spot looked better than I had expected but I only found 1 really killer set up that didnt show any other hunters sign. Then on my way out about 150 yards from the parking lot I found 2 good looking set ups in the middle of some super wet stuff.
The observations I made today is that a lot of the bedding sign that I feel would normally be seen is not present right now due to everything being super wet last fall. I dont think the deer used these beds like normal last fall, so now the sign is not there. Has anyone else noticed this?
My 2nd spot I worked thru had some excellent sign, I found some bedding right where predicted, but no big tracks or rubs. The gravy spot that was an obvious must hunt had hunter sign in it. It appears 2 gun hunters got shooting lane happy and cut down at least 20 2-4" trees to make shooting lanes, so I am writing this spot off for now. Would anyone bother reporting this? or just forget about it.
Positives from today- Found a shed from an 8ptr, I learned there may be some better way to access another overlooked spot a bit deeper in that I was today. What I thought was marsh/cats turned out to be old crp grass.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby G-Patt » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:02 am

Your post reminded me of a scouting trip I took in February. I had it in my mind to go the remotest part of this public piece where no hunter in their right daggum mind would drag any deer out of. Sure enough, found tags and a big ol' tree stand. Haha! I actually did laughed about it, because it took a whole lot of passion, forethought and energy to drag this stand there, let alone get there on foot. High five to the dude who did that. In your circumstance, it can't hurt to consider both remote and close-to-the-road/overlooked spots to give you options. This year when I ground hunt, I plan to incorporate a mountain bike in getting to overlooked areas along roads and into more remote areas. Now what to do when I actually kill a deer? LOL! That's a good problem to have, and nothing a whole lot of sweat and cussing can't fix.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby Pudster » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:26 am

G-Patt wrote:Your post reminded me of a scouting trip I took in February. I had it in my mind to go the remotest part of this public piece where no hunter in their right daggum mind would drag any deer out of. Sure enough, found tags and a big ol' tree stand. Haha! I actually did laughed about it, because it took a whole lot of passion, forethought and energy to drag this stand there, let alone get there on foot. High five to the dude who did that. In your circumstance, it can't hurt to consider both remote and close-to-the-road/overlooked spots to give you options. This year when I ground hunt, I plan to incorporate a mountain bike in getting to overlooked areas along roads and into more remote areas. Now what to do when I actually kill a deer? LOL! That's a good problem to have, and nothing a whole lot of sweat and cussing can't fix.


Google search deer on bicycle. There is a group of guys from Minnesota it believe that ride their bike back in to hunt and when successful they place the field dressed deer onto the seat, front legs and head one the steering wheel, & hind legs tied to keep them out of the spokes. Then they walk the bike/deer out. Looks like it works pretty slick. I am keeping an old mountain bike around to hopefully try some day.
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Re: Scouting frustrations, my struggle getting away, learning everyday

Unread postby G-Patt » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:30 am

Pudster wrote:
G-Patt wrote:Your post reminded me of a scouting trip I took in February. I had it in my mind to go the remotest part of this public piece where no hunter in their right daggum mind would drag any deer out of. Sure enough, found tags and a big ol' tree stand. Haha! I actually did laughed about it, because it took a whole lot of passion, forethought and energy to drag this stand there, let alone get there on foot. High five to the dude who did that. In your circumstance, it can't hurt to consider both remote and close-to-the-road/overlooked spots to give you options. This year when I ground hunt, I plan to incorporate a mountain bike in getting to overlooked areas along roads and into more remote areas. Now what to do when I actually kill a deer? LOL! That's a good problem to have, and nothing a whole lot of sweat and cussing can't fix.


Google search deer on bicycle. There is a group of guys from Minnesota it believe that ride their bike back in to hunt and when successful they place the field dressed deer onto the seat, front legs and head one the steering wheel, & hind legs tied to keep them out of the spokes. Then they walk the bike/deer out. Looks like it works pretty slick. I am keeping an old mountain bike around to hopefully try some day.


Haha! I found this on youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZhqMll8awg Brilliant!
On my deathbed, I will receive total consciousness. So I have that going for me, which is nice!


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