The benefits of hunting in forested land are many – you can easily find food sources, utilize them and make a pattern. You will usually find a lot of deer in and around forested land. This makes for some great opportunities to hunt respectable, mature bucks on public land. So, we want to take your hunting success up a few notches and share our insights into the art of scouting and selecting a stand sight. Let’s dive right into it.
E-scouting is the first step to a successful hunt, so use Google Earth and USGS topographic maps to search areas of interest. Topographic maps typically have old trails marked. These might not be visible by the naked eye due to overgrowth. We can’t recommend the hardcopy maps enough, because you can map all rubs, scrapes, and good trails while “on ground” scouting.
The next step is to get out there and start scouting physically. Look for old clear cuts or fresh logging activity. These areas are deer magnets for feeding. While easily identified, clear cuts aren’t the only place that deer frequent, so don’t give up if there aren’t any.
Look for transition zones next. These are the areas where there is a clear dividing line between hardwoods and pines. Look for edges of big swampy areas bordering higher and drier land too. Bucks love to go out and about the edges of these borders. When walking these areas, you will likely find old scrapes and rub lines along the border. Finally, pay attention to the types of trees around you, specifically oak trees.
The next thing you should pay attention to while scouting is the type of trees around. You should particularly give oak trees special attention. You see, oaks provide high-energy forage. Deer use this food source early and throughout the season in most places, but will also paw through any obstacle to reach acorns.
Also, if you stumble upon hilly areas or higher ridges, investigate these thoroughly. The reason for this is that deer love to bed on higher ground. They can catch the wind easier giving them the advantage of escaping undetected. While scouting these areas, you should look for flat areas or bowls on top of this higher ground.
Finally, it’s time to review what you marked on your map and analyse the data you’ve collected while scouting to get an idea where to place your stand site. Starting on food sources early in the season is a good idea, since deer are still in their habitual feeding and bedding activity. Then, as things progress, move to the border zones where you found old scrapes, rubs and rub lines.
Well, that’s it, folks. We hope we gave you enough insight into how to successfully scout and select a stand site, and we hope you will turn these tips and tricks into a fruitful day in the wilderness. And, of course, if your rifle needs an upgrade before you head out to the forests, check out the triggers we have for you here.