Scouting Dry Creeks Before Hunting Season
Kevin Felts 08.30.18
Why scout dry creeks before hunting season? Because where the water goes, so goes life. As creeks, dry up, wildlife will collect around the remaining water holes.
Let’s start out with looking over TOPO maps and/or Google earth of areas where the reader plans on hunting. Pay attention to elevation changes and where multiple hills may direct rainwater.
After looking over the maps, next step is to walk the area. Before heading out, take a few minutes and make sure the backpack is in order – Six Items Every Backpack Should Have.
The goal is to walk the stream, and whether it is going up or down hill does not matter. All we are doing is looking for pockets of water which may be available during drought conditions.
Typically, I like to bring the dogs and they help look for water. On the hot summer days, the dogs like to lay down in the water to cool off. If we are walking along and they come back covered in water, then I know water is nearby.
- Rocky areas may have water under the rocks which can not be accessed.
- Sandy creek bottoms may soak up the water.
- Clay will hold water better than sand.
Once we find water, the next step is to look for deer tracks, and food sources such as oak trees. Chances are we may also find wild pig tracks around pools of water. When the creeks dry up, pigs will look for water and mud to wallow in.
The bad newsis, snakes such as the cottonmouth, and sometimes the copperhead will also congregate around water.
When scouting along creeks pay attention for snakes. There have been times when my dogs walked up on a cottonmouth, and another time they almost stepped on a banded water snake, which is harmless.
August 25, 2018 my dogs and I were walking along a dry creek bed when I spotted a cottonmouth coiled and ready to strike. The dogs were oblivious to the danger. They were called and we walked away from the snake as soon as we could, but first I took some pictures.
Once we scouted a dried up creek and found the pools of water, mark them with a smart phone using Google earth, or as a way point on a GPS.
This could be a gamble, or it could pay off during hunting season. It all depends on how much rain the area gets before and during deer hunting season.
If the reader finds wild pig tracks, the area may be worth hunting just for the pigs. So get outside, and have a good time.