Start Deer Hunting Now
Dr. John Woods 02.29.16
With deer seasons now over, it is the perfect time to start scouting for next season. Say what? Yep, with hunters out of the woods and bucks no longer paranoid at every noise in the woods, it is an ideal time to get back out and scout for deer.
Talking to a deer hunting friend of mine just last week, he mentioned he was getting new batteries for his half dozen trail cameras so he could get them back out in the woods. He is a firm believer that now is the prime time to start collecting photos of bucks left over from the season just closed. Right now is critical, too, before bucks start dropping their antlers.
These deer will start filtering back into remaining food plots or natural foods that remain after a long winter and season of hunting action. The rut panic will be over and bucks that have worn themselves down chasing does will be ready to start eating again. Take advantage of this situation by getting cameras out again overlooking prime feeding and travel routes.
Without the worry of spooking deer by leaving human scent behind or making noise in the woods, this is the perfect time to start riding and walking trails, funnels, food plot edges, and other corridors looking for abandoned deer sign. Scout areas now that you might not normally venture into because of fear of busting good bucks out of these spots.
I like to take along a good digital camera to chronicle what sign I find. I am looking for the last of the worked scrapes and rubs. I venture into the thick places like swamp edges, into the middle of wooded areas, and along any water courses on the property where deer are likely to travel. This can be quite revealing.
It is a good idea, too, to carry a map of your hunting area to mark down exactly where you spot impressive sign posts likely left by a good buck. I look for and check all the cedar and pine trees on our habitats since bucks love to rub these aromatic trees.
While I always look for sheds, these may come a little later depending on the areas of the state. Just keep your eyes peeled. If you spend some time now scouting deer sign, this will give you a head start on next season.