How long to get proficient at scouting?

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Moose » Sat Mar 20, 2021 8:59 am

How long did it take you beasts to get good and proficient at scouting? I find myself following trails into areas that look thick and nasty but dont find beds, other areas look like beds but dont find any hair. I do find beds but seems to take alot of searching even in the thickest nastiest places with nothing. Dan points them out in videos but when i scout everything looks like it could be a bed from Dans videos but no hair. This is my 2nd year of beast hunting and still having issues finding beds without looking under every tree that has bare dirt or grass layed down. What am i not understanding? I do mainly hunt farm country and slighty rolling hills. Thanks!


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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:19 am

Most people get a good handle on things after 3-5 years if they apply themselves and stick with it.

Keep in mind a lot of beds won’t have hair, and most of the beds I come across don’t mean much (I.e. night beds, mediocre doe and small buck bedding, bedding that gets used infrequently, etc).

It’s hard to say what you’re doing right or wrong... especially with regional differences. When I went to WI I was surprised at how many spots I thought would be bedding were nothing at all. Around western MN bedding is quite widespread.

How are your hunts panning out?
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Moose » Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:57 am

Lockdown wrote:Most people get a good handle on things after 3-5 years if they apply themselves and stick with it.

Keep in mind a lot of beds won’t have hair, and most of the beds I come across don’t mean much (I.e. night beds, mediocre doe and small buck bedding, bedding that gets used infrequently, etc).

It’s hard to say what you’re doing right or wrong... especially with regional differences. When I went to WI I was surprised at how many spots I thought would be bedding were nothing at all. Around western MN bedding is quite widespread.

How are your hunts panning out?

Thank you. Dan makes it look so simple but dosent seem that case for me. My hunts seem to be better then before but still missing something, especially finding the kill tree. Im talking about scounting new areas in this post that seems to be causeing me issues. I watch all of dans videos and countless youtube videos but im still having problems finding beds.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Dewey » Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:47 pm

Check this thread out.

viewtopic.php?p=892182#p892182
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Moose » Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:46 pm

Dewey wrote:Check this thread out.

viewtopic.php?p=892182#p892182

Thanks!
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby tgreeno » Sun Mar 21, 2021 2:31 am

20-25 years. After that, you finally start figuring thing out.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Swampbuck » Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:03 am

There is no substitute for experience. You get better every year and find things that work better for your style and where you hunt. Probably after a few years you start getting an idea and are no longer a deer in the headlights but it takes time
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby szwampdonkey » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:12 am

Decades i think? I know i spent at least my first 10-15 years AT LEAST generally hunting like everyone else does and finding middling success with the rare buck sighting I assure you was most luck.

While watching Youtube videos i think helps shorten that curve it cant make up for boots on the ground experience and observations in the woods.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Hodag Hunter » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:22 am

Make the commitment to go to one of Dan's classes. Or....

I hired Dan to come up in my neck of the woods, opened my eyes to things I was over looking and solidified what I was doing right.

Either option will shorten the learning curve immensely.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby muddy » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:34 am

I've been at this game for dang neat 40 years and I learn something new every single year. I also overlook the obvious every single year. You gotta recognize the fact that you dont know everything and each trip into the woods can teach you something vital to wrapping a tag around antlers.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby <DK> » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:43 am

I started by setting a destination far from access that I just knew would hold good bedding. I started scouting at the parking lot, went back picking up where I left off, until I finally made it all the way to the back. Probably 3 days of scouting before making it there. I found every bed, rub and track from parking all the way to the line. It was pretty simple by day 3 to start realizing what I was looking at and how to dissect it.

Even doing that years ago, I always feel like a rookie day 1 of scouting season haha The main thing is you will know when youve found something special or should know.

Farm land should be a little easier to dissect bc there isnt much timber, still no easy task and I find it even tougher to hunt than hills. I also assume you are mapping out the pressure before scouting? If youre having issues, pass everything up and go check the propertly lines. Also, dont stress out bc you still have pre season to find them or glass or check for tracks.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby <DK> » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:46 am

Man even year 2 I didnt know exactly what I was doing. I had ideas in my head but couldnt put it all together. Honestly the best medicine is jumping a big one out and figuring out his situation.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:46 am

muddy wrote:I've been at this game for dang neat 40 years and I learn something new every single year. I also overlook the obvious every single year. You gotta recognize the fact that you dont know everything and each trip into the woods can teach you something vital to wrapping a tag around antlers.


Well said.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Moose » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:03 am

Thanks guys. I just need to keep my nose to the grindstone. My conference is getting A LOT better but still not as easy or the beds aren't near as defined as alot of videos show.
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Re: How long to get proficient at scouting?

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:50 am

Don’t hesitate to be aggressive. I will place trail cams VERY invasively sometimes. If I’m confused by a spot I will sacrifice hunts there for a season and put a cam in there to see what’s up. Just make sure to mount them high or there’s a good chance they’ll avoid it.

Another thing you can do is bust bedding in season. There again you might be burning it. Like Seaz said in our last podcast, it’s an investment. You’re sacrificing success this year but that knowledge will benefit you forever.


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