Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
User avatar
johndeere506
500 Club
Posts: 1391
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:59 am
Location: MI
Status: Offline

Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby johndeere506 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:22 am

Im looking for tips on how to scout for late season, once the snow and cold and hunting pressure has kicked in. My current hunting ground is best early season and rut, but I dont have much for late gun/muzzy season. The only things I know for late season is to cut big tracks and then follow and learn, or to find really thick tangled brushy messes. The thick tangled mess is where they go at my house, so I can only assume that holds true on large public tracts.

Scouting new spots for early season Ive been looking at large swamps/marsh. Im gaining confidence in these areas. Where do you target on maps to look for big late season bucks?

Most of you seem to scout more once the snow melts, but I think I need to do more now, since now should be more similar to during late hunting season. Do you agree?


User avatar
whitetailassasin
Posts: 3412
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Michigan
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:42 am

Food, food and food!! Deer "yard" up and need to pack on as much weight as possible to recover from the rut, to make it through the harsh winter. If you can find a food source you can be on a gold mine. This year I took a doe late December. I had scouted about 4 miles worth of land and hardly cut a track. I remembered a cut corn field that was bordered by a river and there was some tall grass and mixed woods/briars only about 100yds wide but probably 2-3 miles long. I ended up jumping over 30-40 deer and the next night shot my doe headed to cut corn field with plenty of light to shoot. This particular area was doe only state land draw. In that group of deer was 4 very nice bucks.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image
dan
Site Owner
Posts: 38577
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:11 am
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HuntingBeast/?ref=bookmarks
Location: S.E. Wisconsin
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby dan » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:56 am

LATE SEASON you either have the deer, or you don't, and it can vary from year to year depending on local food sources... When they are on your ground, they are pretty predictable, cause most of the terrain is wide open and void of vegitation. Just find the thick cover that has bedding charactoristics of your area.
User avatar
johndeere506
500 Club
Posts: 1391
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:59 am
Location: MI
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby johndeere506 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:13 am

I agree with both of you but Im finding scenarios that dont fit.

Whitetailassasin-Ive had similar hunts on public as your doe hunt. Ive found them in a trail of 12 plus deer a mile before the feed source well before dark. But its always been doe only on public, maybe the bucks were all dead/small/shed already?? I too shot a doe since nothing was following, maybe I would have learned something had I not shot the doe....

Dan- I agree that you have them or you dont. Ive heard this from you and a couple guys here. I know where they live at home late season now, but the big bucks only come in once per week or so. Not sure if they are feeding after dark or on browse the rest of the time or going elsewhere. They seem to stick to their 5-10 acre patch other than once per week. Your comment would tell me that on large public, drive until I see big tracks, and go in tracking. If nothing else maybe I would learn the feeding areas. Swamps are my MAIN TARGET early season, it sounds like food you have to be there to see, rather than aerial scouting?

Public near home I have low confidence in big bucks surviving til late season. What can you look for late season on BIG public/aerials on larger parcels far from home on less pressured lands? Transitions? Oak woods? Or look for a crop field in the distance? Im not good at food sources that arent plots, cut fields, or obvious...
User avatar
johndeere506
500 Club
Posts: 1391
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:59 am
Location: MI
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby johndeere506 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:19 am

Sorry guys if Im missing something obvious here...I have a feeling if its not a well used beat down snow trail leading to something obvious, my mind wont let me call it much of a food source. On the big woods I'm wanting to scout, I've never seen this. Maybe it doesn't exist due to lower populations, and lower food concentration (or I haven't looked hard enough)...
User avatar
Zona
500 Club
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:10 am
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby Zona » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:59 am

In hill/mountain country the deer are on the southeast side of the ridges wherever the red oaks are at. The deer seem to leave the red oak acorns until later and will bed within the oaks.
User avatar
whitetailassasin
Posts: 3412
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Michigan
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:39 pm

One thing I will tell you is sometimes due to pressure those mature bucks move to winter ranges. Usually it's a place with food and not pressured. I'm not saying they won't bed places your hunting. But what I am saying is they will be in places that have adequate food and will also be little to no pressure. They have been chased all season. I think when they leave core areas in post rut or second rut late season if food is plentiful and they aren't being pressured they will stay and return later. Not all but some. Once you've located a food source that has big buck sign try and wait sooner or later they will come in daylight hours. Late season can be feast or famine.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image
User avatar
johndeere506
500 Club
Posts: 1391
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:59 am
Location: MI
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby johndeere506 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:14 am

whitetailassasin wrote:One thing I will tell you is sometimes due to pressure those mature bucks move to winter ranges. Usually it's a place with food and not pressured. I'm not saying they won't bed places your hunting. But what I am saying is they will be in places that have adequate food and will also be little to no pressure. They have been chased all season. I think when they leave core areas in post rut or second rut late season if food is plentiful and they aren't being pressured they will stay and return later. Not all but some. Once you've located a food source that has big buck sign try and wait sooner or later they will come in daylight hours. Late season can be feast or famine.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image


Yeah I see what you mean. I found such places at home and the local public that gets hammered but it has a standing cornfield. I guess Ive never experienced this up where Im looking farther from home. Sounds like I need to check new places and look harder, or they just arent there.
User avatar
whitetailassasin
Posts: 3412
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Michigan
Status: Offline

Re: Scouting for Late Season Hotspots

Unread postby whitetailassasin » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:19 am

I would look at the tracks going to the food sources your hunting. Look for big tracks and also look at the droppings. Big clumps of them, in my opinion, are usually older bucks. If you find that your in the game. If that standing corn field hardly has tracks or the tracks your wanting to see aren't mature buck tracks, keep looking. Sometimes guys can forget a small group of does can make it look a field is getting pounded in the snow, when actually it's them using it so regularly. Even multiple times a day and night. Remember if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck...odds are its a duck. If there's big buck tracks, big buck sign, odds are there is a big buck nearby. If not keep at it.

[ Post made via iPhone ] Image


  • Advertisement

Return to “Scouting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 3531usmc and 2 guests