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As deer season draws to a close, many avid deer hunters find themselves yearning for the next season to arrive. However, instead of just counting down the days on the calendar, there is a valuable opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked – post-season scouting. This post will help you master the art of post season scouting for whitetail deer with expert tips and insights to maximize your hunting success.
Benefits of Post Season Scouting for Whitetail Deer
Postseason scouting offers several benefits for hunters. Firstly, it allows you to gather valuable information about the movement, feeding patterns, and bedding areas of the whitetails in your area. By scouting after the season, you don’t have to worry as much about pressuring the deer, like you would while summer scouting, giving you the ability to really dive in and observe bucks in their core areas. Additionally, you can identify any surviving bucks and get a clearer picture of your hunting areas for the following season.
Postseason scouting offers a unique opportunity to evaluate your hunting areas and make informed decisions for the next years season. By gathering valuable information about deer movement, feeding patterns, and bedding areas, you can effectively plan your hunting strategies and increase your chances of success.
By conducting postseason scouting, you can gain valuable insights into the patterns and preferences of the whitetails on your property, which can ultimately lead to increased success in following seasons. Understanding these benefits and implementing effective scouting strategies is essential for any serious deer hunter looking to enhance their skills and maximize their chances of harvesting a trophy buck.
Using Digital Tools for Scouting
In today’s digital age, technology has revolutionized the way we approach post season deer scouting. With the help of digital tools such like OnX, hunters can take their scouting efforts to the next level. These scouting apps offer a wide range of features designed specifically for hunters, allowing them to gather important information and make more informed decisions.
One of the key benefits of using digital scouting tools is the ability to identify high-odds locations, or target areas before you ever step foot on the property. These apps provide detailed maps with overlays of property boundaries, topography, and even satellite imagery. This allows hunters to pinpoint potential hunting areas and identify travel corridors that deer may be using. By visually analyzing the terrain and using the data provided by these apps, hunters can prioritize their scouting efforts and focus on areas with the highest potential for success.
Another advantage of digital scouting tools is the ability to plan scouting routes more efficiently by giving you the ability to mark waypoints, create tracks, and measure distances. I have found that by planning my routes in advance, I am able save valuable time in the field and cover more ground. Additionally, these apps often have a built-in GPS function, ensuring that you can navigate accurately and avoid getting lost in unfamiliar territories.
|Benefits of Digital Scouting Tools||Examples of Features|
|Identify high-odds locations||Property boundaries, topography, satellite imagery|
|Plan scouting routes efficiently||Mark waypoints, create tracks, measure distances|
|Avoid unproductive areas||Public land boundaries, private property lines, landowner information|
Understanding Deer Sign
When it comes to postseason scouting, one of the key aspects I focus on is understanding the sign left during the previous season. By examining and interpreting the various indicators of deer activity, I am able to gain valuable insights into the deer in a particular area and start to effectively strategize for future seasons.
Deer sign can include a range of physical evidence left behind by deer. The sign that I like to look for includes:
Deer Tracks/Mature Buck Tracks
Rut Sign: Rub Lines and Scrapes
Doe Bedding area/Buck Bedding Area
Late season scouting, when their is no foliage on the trees, can make finding this type of sign significantly easier. By carefully observing and analyzing these signs, you can determine how does and mature bucks are using the property, identify high-traffic areas, and uncover potential areas to hang stands.
|Tracks||Size, age, and movement patterns of deer|
|Droppings||Presence of deer in the area|
|Rubs||Buck activity and potential breeding areas|
|Scrapes||Buck activity and potential breeding areas|
|Beds||Locations where deer feel safe and spend daytime hours|
Identifying Key Food Sources
In the late deer season and post-season, deer heavily rely on quality food sources to sustain themselves throughout the winter. Identifying these key food sources is crucial if you are looking to target mature bucks during this time. By understanding where deer are finding food, you can strategically plan your hunts and increase your chances of encountering a mature buck.
When it comes to late season food sources, there are several options that attract deer. Harvested crops, such as corn and soybeans left in the field, are often sought after by hungry deer. Standing crops, like standing corn or alfalfa fields, can also provide a consistent food source. Brassica plots, such as turnips or radishes, are especially attractive to deer during the colder months. Additionally, deer will browse on woody browse, such as cedar or maple branches, when other food sources are limited.
|Harvested crops (e.g., corn, soybeans)||High|
|Standing crops (e.g., corn, alfalfa)||Medium|
|Brassica plots (e.g., turnips, radishes)||High|
|Woody browse (e.g., cedar, maple branches)||Medium|
Scouting Bedding Areas
One of the most effective ways to gain insights into the deer on a piece of property, especially big bucks, is to know where the bedding areas are. Successful hunters know that not all bedding is created equal and their are some distinctions between doe bedding areas and buck bedding areas.
In my experience hunting in Western Kentucky, I have found that doe bedding areas tend to be located in brushy areas that are in closer proximity to food sources and will often bed in groups.
Buck bedding areas, especially a mature buck bed, are significantly more strategic in nature when compared to does. I typically find buck bedding in the areas that have little to no human intrusion and provide the buck with the wind and visual advantage.
To find buck bedding, I like to start with using tools like OnX Maps to narrow down potential spots that I think a buck will use as a bedding area. Once I have the areas narrowed down that I want to focus my scouting efforts then I will move in. Rub lines can also be useful when looking for buck beds. I find the majority of the rub lines here in Kentucky located in transition areas between bedding and food, meaning if I follow the rubs, oftentimes they will lead me close to the deer bed.
It’s important to note that I would highly advise against scouting these areas until deer season is over. A big buck will not tolerate much, if any, human intrusion before he relocates to a different bedding area. By scouting these areas after deer season, the deer have plenty of time to resume their normal habits before the next deer season.
Scouting Water Sources
When it comes to post-season deer scouting, one important aspect to consider is finding water sources. Deer, like any other animal, require water to survive, and understanding their water needs can help you target them more effectively.
Deer typically prefer small, isolated water sources that are within or on the fringe of bedding cover. They tend to avoid loud, running water and large bodies of water. Therefore, it’s essential to look for small ponds, creeks, or stagnant water sources near thick cover. These spots are often frequented by deer, especially during the late and post-season when other water sources may be scarce.
By identifying and scouting these water sources, you can gain valuable insights into deer activity and their preferred travel routes. It’s important to note that deer will often visit water sources during the early morning or late evening, so consider these times when planning your scouting efforts.
|Small ponds||– Attracts deer due to calm and shallow water|
– Provides a reliable water source during dry periods
|– May freeze over during colder months|
|Creeks||– Natural water source preferred by deer|
– Often located near bedding areas
|– Can be noisy if flowing too fast|
– Water levels may vary depending on rainfall
|Stagnant water sources||– Deer may rely on these sources during droughts|
– Usually quiet and undisturbed
|– May have a higher risk of bacteria or disease|
Deer Movement: Pinpointing Funnels and Travel Corridors
When it comes to deer hunting, understanding deer travel patterns is essential for maximizing your chances of success. One effective strategy is to focus on pinpointing funnels and travel corridors, which are natural features that funnel deer movement. These narrow areas force or encourage deer to move through a specific route, making them ideal locations for hunters.
Identifying Hunting Funnels
One type of funnel is a saddle, which is a low point or gap in a ridge where deer naturally traverse. Saddle funnels are highly productive because they offer deer an easier route between two areas. Another type of funnel is a fencerow, which is a line of trees or shrubs that act as a barrier for deer, directing their movement along a specific path.
Creek crossings are also excellent funnels, as deer prefer to follow the path of least resistance when crossing water. These crossings serve as natural travel corridors that funnel deer movement, making them hotspots for hunting. Additionally, ridgelines and other terrain features can create natural funnels that deer naturally follow. Understanding these funnels will help you intercept bucks as they travel between bedding areas and food sources.
Pinch Points: Narrowing Down the Possibilities
Pinch points are another crucial element to consider when pinpointing funnels and travel corridors. These are areas where the available cover or available routes are limited, forcing deer into a narrower passage. For example, a narrow strip of woods between two fields or a bottleneck caused by a creek can make excellent pinch points.
By identifying pinch points, you can narrow down the possibilities and focus your hunting efforts on these strategic locations. These areas create natural bottlenecks where deer are more likely to pass through, increasing your chances of encountering bucks. Setting up your stand near pinch points gives you a higher probability of a successful hunt.
|Saddle||Low points or gaps in a ridge|
|Fencerow||Line of trees or shrubs as a barrier|
|Creek crossings||Natural travel corridors along water|
|Ridgelines||Natural features that funnel deer movement|
Pinpointing funnels and travel corridors is a game-changer for deer hunting. By identifying these strategic locations, you can position yourself for success by intercepting bucks during their daily movements. Understanding the types of funnels and pinch points will help you make informed decisions about stand placement and increase your chances of encountering deer. So, study your hunting area carefully, identify these crucial features, and get ready for a successful hunt.
Shed Hunting for Postseason Insights
Shed hunting is a popular activity among hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, but it can also provide valuable insights for post-season scouting. By searching for shed antlers, you can gain valuable information about the bucks that made it through the hunting season and potentially discover new hunting opportunities for the next season.
When searching for shed antlers, it’s essential to focus on areas where deer spend their time during the late season. Look for bedding areas, feeding areas, and travel routes that bucks are likely to use. These areas are often marked by deer sign such as rubs and scrapes, which can indicate the presence of bucks.
While shed hunting won’t provide you with precise locations for early season or rut hunting, it can give you a better understanding of deer movement and behavior in your hunting areas. By finding shed antlers, you can piece together the puzzle of where bucks are spending their time, which can help you plan your hunting strategies more effectively.
Benefits of Shed Hunting for Postseason Scouting
Shed hunting offers several benefits for post-season scouting:
Confirmation of bucks surviving the hunting season.
Insights into deer movement patterns and behavior.
Identification of potential hunting areas for future seasons.
Opportunity to gather shed antlers for decorative purposes or as hunting trophies.
By incorporating shed hunting into your post-season scouting routine, you can gain valuable insights and increase your chances of success in the next hunting season.
Marking Stand Locations and Access Routes
When it comes to successful hunting, it’s crucial to have well-marked stand locations and clearly defined access routes. By doing so, you can navigate your hunting area efficiently and minimize the chances of spooking deer.
Marking Stand Locations
As you scout your hunting area, be sure to mark potential stand locations on your map or hunting app. This will help you remember these spots and their specific features, such as nearby food sources or bedding areas. By marking stand locations, you can easily navigate to them during future hunts, even in low-light conditions.
When marking stand locations, consider using distinct symbols or colors to differentiate between different types of stands, such as ground blinds or tree stands. This will allow you to quickly identify the type of stand and plan your approach accordingly. It’s also helpful to include additional notes or comments about each stand location, such as wind directions or preferred hunting times.
Identifying Access Routes
Equally important as marking stand locations is identifying and evaluating access routes to your stands. You want to be able to reach your stands without alerting deer or disturbing their core areas. Take note of potential entry and exit routes that allow you to move quietly and undetected.
Consider factors such as prevailing wind directions, terrain features, and natural cover when selecting your access routes. It’s best to choose routes that keep you hidden from the line of sight of deer and minimize the amount of noise you make while navigating through the hunting area.
By carefully marking stand locations and identifying effective access routes, you can maximize your chances of encountering deer while minimizing the risk of disturbance. This strategic approach to stand and route selection will greatly enhance your hunting experience and increase your chances of a successful harvest.
Post season deer scouting is a vital step for hunters looking to plan their hunting strategy and increase their chances of success in the next deer season. By utilizing digital tools, understanding deer sign, identifying key food sources, tracking bucks through their bedding areas, and pinpointing funnels and travel corridors, hunters can gather valuable information for planning their hunting strategies.
Shed hunting, habitat improvement projects, and marking stand locations and access routes are additional steps that can enhance your scouting efforts. By putting in the work during the post-season, you’ll have a clearer picture of your hunting areas and target bucks, giving you a greater chance of a successful hunt in the future.
So, if you’re passionate about deer hunting and want to maximize your success, make sure to include post season deer scouting in your hunting routine. Follow these effective postseason scouting tips to gather valuable insights and plan your strategies accordingly. Happy hunting!