Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
mibowhunter
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Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:00 am

So here is the scenario... I have 3 days this weekend to scout a property that I am "semi familiar" with. I've hunted it sporadically over the last 2 years, and have done a day or two of spring scouting over the past 2 years. This year, due to unforseen circumstances that completely blindsided me, I will be making this property my primary property... and I feel really behind (obviously).

If you were given 3 days to scout this weekend, how are you going about your scouting and what are you looking for? It's a lot of cattail marsh with occasional spots of high ground, with ag on the outsides of the entire property.. My plan is to be back again in 2 weeks to hunt the opener, and then doing a week long rut hunt around the beginning of November.


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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:13 am

mibowhunter wrote:So here is the scenario... I have 3 days this weekend to scout a property that I am "semi familiar" with. I've hunted it sporadically over the last 2 years, and have done a day or two of spring scouting over the past 2 years. This year, due to unforseen circumstances that completely blindsided me, I will be making this property my primary property... and I feel really behind (obviously).

If you were given 3 days to scout this weekend, how are you going about your scouting and what are you looking for? It's a lot of cattail marsh with occasional spots of high ground, with ag on the outsides of the entire property.. My plan is to be back again in 2 weeks to hunt the opener, and then doing a week long rut hunt around the beginning of November.


I would follow your instincts regarding the property, you have hunted it previously and you know it better than I or someone else would.

What I would do... examine aerials and topos of the property. They will identify likely buck bedding locations on the transition and interior of the property.

Next I would get in an observation stand that would have little chance of disturbing bedding or buck travel and maybe spend two of the days doing that. Any buck sightings will reveal likely stand locations in a couple of weeks if weather patterns are similar.

The last day I would complete a scouting recon on foot, again with a focus on not being too disruptive and not disruptive at all to bedding. Tracks, droppings and maybe even a rub or thrashing if a mature buck is out of velvet will verify buck travel. The combination of the ground recon with my observation sits would lend a lot of confidence to my early hunt.

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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:34 am

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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:42 am

ah ha... figured out how to post a pic.

Did a quick recon mission today and had a few questions. So I know where(ish) bedding is - primarily in the cattails/willow/dogwood so I stayed away from there. I followed some logging trails along the transition and picked up on some good sized tracks, but also noticed 3 rub lines that were very very easy to identify. Big rubs, little rubs, old rubs, new rubs... 2 of hte rublines led from the ag fields/pines down in to the cattail marsh and 1 rubline ran parallel along the transition line (these are marked with RED X's on the map). Would the 2 that lead down in to the marsh be a bed/feed type path and worth hunting? And then would the one that runs paralle along the transition signify more of a rut rubline where bucks are cruising that line to intercept the many doe trails that come up from the marsh to the pines?

The other question I had was I took a logging trail that cut through some oaks, which are absolutely loaded and starting to drop. TONS of deer sign. But in order to get close enough to the beds I feel like I have to get along the cattails, so I need to walk through a lot of the oak woods to get there (my entrance would be on the bottom of the section I have labeled "Oaks" and I'd have to walk to the top... I'm having trouble determining what wind to hunt that spot on? If I hunt with the wind blowing in to the cattials, obviously I blow deer out of their beds. If I bed with the wind blowing back up in to the oaks, I feel that deer that pass me would then be downwind and blow out. A crosswind through the oaks ends up in cattails on either side with bedding too.... ? My one thought was, I marked a little low spot in the oaks that had some cattails. Would evening thermals suck my scent down in to that - so could I potentially set up right on the edge of that? May be a tough question to answer just using my great artwork... Or any other ideas?
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby tgreeno » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:23 pm

I would give the little pocket of cattails between the pines & oaks a look. I've had good luck with little wet potholes like that in overlooked areas holding bucks!
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:45 pm

I suppose there are quite a few trails leading from the cattails to the oaks?? I would try and set up on the rublines or as close as you can without having a bunch of trails down wind and have your wind blowing out into the cattails but just off to the side of the red brush where the assumed bedding is. Easier said than done of course...

How far is the red brush off the oak transition?
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:48 pm

Also were any of the rubs along the oak transition fresh? Or all old? Two thoughts come to mind. One is they're on a parallel trail used for scent checking all the trails coming out of bedding during rut. Two: they're trails used in the morning to get back to bedding from wherever their night time travels took them.

Don't forget to pay attention to what direction the rubs are facing. That will help figure out time of day they're made in conjunction with the bedding.
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Net Guy » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:36 pm

I kinda like the "oaks" point that is surrounded by cattails on three sides. I would focus somewhere there along the transition lines between those cattails and the oaks. This will likely be better early season. If you can do an observation sit or two, I think that'd help a lot.
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:51 pm

Lockdown wrote:I suppose there are quite a few trails leading from the cattails to the oaks?? I would try and set up on the rublines or as close as you can without having a bunch of trails down wind and have your wind blowing out into the cattails but just off to the side of the red brush where the assumed bedding is. Easier said than done of course...

How far is the red brush off the oak transition?


Yeah there are trails all over running north/south from the cattails up to higher ground. That is what got me thinking that the rubline I found on the trail that was running parallel on that transition might be a rut cruising spot. In all 3 rublines, there were rubs on all sides of the trees, I did take note of that. It looked like a few of the rubs were opened recently but lightly, not like crazy velvet shedding rubs. But there were also a lot of rubs from last year and years prior, there's no doubt these are used often... I'm just trying ot figure out how. :)

I'd say the red brush starts anywhere from 0-25 yards from the hard transition line. In some areas it goes from high ground right to red brush, in other areas it goes high transition to long grass / cattails to red brush. Interestingly though, the 2 rublines on the right of my diagram go from transition right to red brush, the 1 rubline that runs parallel along the transition goes transtion to long grass / cattails to red brush. Not sure what that means...
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:53 pm

Net Guy wrote:I kinda like the "oaks" point that is surrounded by cattails on three sides. I would focus somewhere there along the transition lines between those cattails and the oaks. This will likely be better early season. If you can do an observation sit or two, I think that'd help a lot.


Yeah that's the spot I'm trying to figure out how to hunt with the wind... haha because I agree and there was a lot of sign in that spot!
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Lockdown » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:59 pm

mibowhunter wrote:
Net Guy wrote:I kinda like the "oaks" point that is surrounded by cattails on three sides. I would focus somewhere there along the transition lines between those cattails and the oaks. This will likely be better early season. If you can do an observation sit or two, I think that'd help a lot.


Yeah that's the spot I'm trying to figure out how to hunt with the wind... haha because I agree and there was a lot of sign in that spot!


Agree with net guy... that spot stood out to me too.

As usual the good spots are never easy to figure out. I do agree with those who mentioned observations. Can't hurt.
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:48 am

Lockdown wrote:As usual the good spots are never easy to figure out. I do agree with those who mentioned observations. Can't hurt.


Yeah... I might just have to dive in and hunt, bring along a lot of milkweed, play the odds, and watch how it all works. If I blow it up, so be it... chaulk it up to learning and honestly it'd only get 1 sit to start the year and then I won't be back to hunt for a month and a half. Unfortunately an observation won't work well there, it's just too thick.

I hit up a more familiar spot this morning, knowing rain was coming I went in and looked for big tracks. I have a few beds located in this area, and I was thrilled to see some huge tracks leading to/from bedding. I have a great feeling about that spot....
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby Lockdown » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:45 am

mibowhunter wrote:
Lockdown wrote:As usual the good spots are never easy to figure out. I do agree with those who mentioned observations. Can't hurt.


Yeah... I might just have to dive in and hunt, bring along a lot of milkweed, play the odds, and watch how it all works. If I blow it up, so be it... chaulk it up to learning and honestly it'd only get 1 sit to start the year and then I won't be back to hunt for a month and a half. Unfortunately an observation won't work well there, it's just too thick.

I hit up a more familiar spot this morning, knowing rain was coming I went in and looked for big tracks. I have a few beds located in this area, and I was thrilled to see some huge tracks leading to/from bedding. I have a great feeling about that spot....


8-)

Well in that case forget about that new spot for now and get intel on Mr Big!
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Re: Scouting Strategies This Weekend

Unread postby mibowhunter » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:10 am

Lockdown wrote:Well in that case forget about that new spot for now and get intel on Mr Big!


I think I've got enough on the spot to feel really confident in a setup. Not exactly sure what deer it is, but the tracks sure looked to be made by a big, heavy deer... and that's good enough for me.

Thanks all for your help on this! I am slowly trying to learn about beast tactics and dissecting deer sign much more thoroughly than I've done in the past.


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