We are dead in the heat of summer and while most people are busy tying lines and grabbing the net, a few of us die-hard deer hunters are busy scouting and prepping for the fall. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your summer scouting and to increase your success in the search for big bucks.
Keep your distance
One problem that many people has is keeping their distance from the animals they are scouting. We walk through our fields or trees looking for sign. This can inform of us of some summer patterns for deer, but it also educates the deer about humans. They can smell us and become more knowledgeable about our odors, as well as tell them of the patterns of where we walk and spend our time. Although deer will usually put up with a little more disturbance from humans during the summer time, it is still better to scout with trail cameras or optics such as a spotting scope or binoculars. Another reason that this give-it-all you got property walking tactic doesn’t work is because the pattern these deer are in now, will often change by the time bow season rolls around. This just solidifies the idea that it is not worth it to tamper with your hunting grounds if you may ruin your odds of success in the process.
Give your cameras some timeOne of everyones favorite things to do during the off season is to check trail cameras to see which bucks are where on your property. Although there are people out there who use dozens of cameras on their property, someone really doesn’t need more than four (Unless you have access to large quantities of land). This gives you one camera to check weekly, keeping you and your scent out of the field for at least a month. If you can control yourself enough to check one camera per week, you give each camera time to fill up the memory cards and will keep you from pushing off those deer you are searching for. Each time you go into an area, the deer learn something new about you. Whether it is the new kind of laundry detergent you use or the new shampoo you have used, you educate them on your various scents and habits. In order to keep an edge on your game, check your cameras as little as necessary.
Love thy neighbor
One trick that is very beneficial to the average hunter is to scout you neighbors land as well as yours. This doesn’t mean trespassing or walking their woods, but simply using your optics to check their fields or wood edges. During the summer deer may be within their property line, but come pre-rut and rut phases of the fall, their deer will often run over to where you want them. Because deer have such a large home range, often times you may only see them in adjacent land owners fields, but they may spend the majority of their time on yours. Scouting their land can tell you when and where you need to be set up come opening morning to fill your tag.
Besides scouting your neighbors land, see if you can get permission to hunt it! There are many more landowners that are willing to let you archery hunt than there are firearms. During these summer months when the farmers are busy, be open to helping them do simple farm chores in return for access. These can include mowing, loading hay, fencing, or other miscellaneous duties around the ranch. Sometimes a little hard work can gain you access to incredible land that you holds bucks you never knew were in your area.
Keeping your head open to new ideas and not being afraid to work up a little sweat, but not in your woods, can grant you success during the season.