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While most deer hunters are lounging by the pool or firing up the grill, dedicated deer hunters know that the summer months are a prime time to get a leg up on the upcoming hunting season. Today we are going to uncover the secrets of summer deer scouting in our in-depth guide. Learn methods, gear essentials, and understand deer behavior for successful hunts.
Why Summer Deer Scouting is Crucial
Many a seasoned whitetail hunter will attest to the fact that understanding deer patterns during the summer can give you a considerable advantage when that much-anticipated season opener finally rolls around. Let’s zero in on why it’s so important.
First and foremost, summertime presents a unique opportunity to observe deer in their most natural state. Hunting pressure isn’t a concern for deer during these months which means they’re living their lives as they would without human interference – eating freely and moving without much caution.
You get to see the food sources they prefer, whether it’s in your strategically placed food plots or perhaps an alfalfa or soybean field nearby. Being privy to this information can put you ahead of the game by providing insight into potential food sources and habitual feeding locations which can be invaluable once hunting resumes.
Moreover, summer scouting allows you to decipher exit and entry routes from bedding areas along with general movement patterns across terrain features such as saddles or creek crossings.
By understanding their behaviors—where they like to eat, what potential food sources draw them in, how far they travel from their bedding areas—you’ll be equipped with knowledge that can help ensure your hunting endeavors aren’t wasted come fall.
The Basics of Summer Scouting for Whitetails
Summer deer scouting is somewhat of a secret art form that requires patience, keen observation, a profound understanding of deer behavior, and a willingness to brave the warmer temperatures. No two mature bucks are alike in their patterns and habits, so each scouting experience offers its unique set of challenges and rewards. The primary goal of summer scouting is to locate mature bucks you’d like to target come fall, without alerting them or changing their natural behaviors.
While summer scouting I prefer to observe or glass from a distance with a quality set of binoculars or spotting scope to gain the actionable insights needed once bow season opens. In my experience mature bucks that have not received a lot of human pressure are relatively visible and active during daylight hours this time of year. Especially when compared to other periods during the hunting season.
While glassing, situate yourself on vantage points where binoculars or spotting scopes can cover fields or areas with minimal intrusion. Find spots where whitetails frequent during this time of year, like watering holes and food sources. These locations provide valuable clues about their patterns and tendencies. One must remember though not to venture too deep into their core areas so that you don’t alert them to your presence.
Scouting during summer has been linked with higher success rates come hunting season because it gives hunters ample time to understand the terrain better, decipher deer movement patterns, identify potential stand locations and essentially prepare themselves better for when those tags finally arrive in hand.
Gear and Methods for Effective Summer Scouting
Venturing into the field for a summer scouting mission necessitates being equipped with some vital gear and methods to successfully gain the information needed for hunting season.
Glassing and Quality Optics
The first and foremost piece of equipment you’ll need is a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. Optics are incredibly handy while glassing food sources or fields from a distance, particularly in areas with large agricultural fields.
With quality optics, you can observe the terrain from your chosen vantage point, reducing the disturbance to the natural environment and increasing your chances to spot shooter bucks.
Maps or Hunting Apps(With map feature)
Next up on your list should be detailed maps or hunting app with mapping features.
These items will give you a birds eye view of the area and an understanding of the typical locations deer frequent, helping you make sense of how they move through different types of cover: woods, standing corn fields, and near water features.
Hunting Apps, like OnX Hunt, are great for this because they allow you to add waypoints to keep track of where you find deer sign, trails, or possible stand locations.
Summer Trail Camera Strategies
Trail cameras can pull double duty in your scouting endeavors and are your eyes in the woods during all times of the day. They can help confirm the presence of mature deer in specific locations and also reveal patterns in their behavior.
I have had the most success with trail cameras during the summer by placing them along the edges of food sources, on watering holes, and on mineral licks. It is important to note that you should make sure that baiting or the use of trail cameras is legal in the particular area you are planning on hunting.
Proper Attire and Insect Repellant
Don’t forget comfortable attire suitable for summer temperatures along with insect repellent; we all know how persistent those mosquitoes can get!
Now with all these essentials and methods at hand, it’s time to head out into the field—the house of our elusive subjects—for some intense summer scouting. Remember: patience is crucial in this endeavor as success isn’t instantaneous—it requires time spent observing patiently and constantly learning about the behavior of these magnificent creatures on their terrain.
Decoding Your Summer Scouting Information
By the time the summer starts to come to an end you should have gathered a wealth of information pertaining to the habits and tendencies of the whitetails in the area you plan to hunt. This is the time to start putting all of the information together and devise a game plan for the upcoming deer season.
Using this scouting data, you can start formulating a strategic game plan for the upcoming hunting season. Begin by identifying high-traffic zones and potential stand or blind locations. This ensures that you are positioned in the most effective spots during the early days of hunting season when deer patterns are still somewhat influenced by their summer routines.
Also, by understanding their primary food sources during summer, you can anticipate shifts in feeding patterns as summer transitions to fall. As acorns start to drop or agricultural fields get harvested, deer will adapt their routines. Having prior knowledge from summer scouting will allow you to predict these changes and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Remember, while summer patterns give an edge, it’s crucial to continue scouting and adjusting as the season progresses, since deer behavior can change based on food availability, hunting pressure, and the rut.
While countless individuals view summer as a respite from hunting, devoting some time to scout during this time of year provides valuable information that can augment your chances of success in the forthcoming hunting season. Harnessing the strategy we’ve laid out in this article will give you a massive head start when autumn’s chill fills the air again.