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Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

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Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:33 pm

I recently moved and I am now going to begin the process of scouting new ground for next year. The ground that I am scouting will be several larger WMA's (2500 - 4000 acres) and a state forest (15,000 acres). I've driven through the areas. The ground is rolling wooded hills and ridgetops with ravines running through them and bottoms with creeks running through them. There are also occasionaly open pastures and CRP. Most of the ground is not flat. I am just about finished with the book "Mapping Trophy Bucks" to helm me with my scoutin. Does anybody have any thoughts or tips on scouting this type of area, or is there anything I should be considering specifically as it relates to the ground being public? Thanks for the input.

Matt

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Louisiana Whitetail on Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:27 pm

I would look into some topo maps. These can show elevation changes, funnels, etc that you may not be able to readily identify.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:25 pm

Take some topos [1:24] and a compass, maybe even a gps to mark points and tracking data.

hit the woods between now and when the foilage is too thick to see the other hill across the creek/drainage. Take a small log book if need be and start recording, cover as much ground as feasibly possible; locate common trails as well as stream/drainage crossings; piles of poop; bedding spots [round flat areas in the leaves/snow etc.,; where you jumped what and when; rubs; scrapes; turkey scratchings; oaks; clearings w/trails leading in and if possible out.

Check pine thickets, this time of year the deer[bucks,does,fawns] will use them as cover [one year i had piles upon piles upon piles of poop under a patch of Pines], take note of different sizes of pellets, if you cannot see the deer you can at the least make an educated guess as to how big by the droppings.

Walk/drive the roads that seem to be near the areas of high traffic as generated by your notes and gps trackings.....

alot to do but it is well worth the work when you go to do your first real hunt and treestand placement.....

Hope this helps.....
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:55 pm

Great input guys thanks. The DNR publishes arial maps and topo maps of the public land here. I have them printed to take with me. I also have a notebook and GPS ready to take notes and mark points. I have been studying the topo maps to point me in the right direction of areas to focus on. Right now the plan is to be in the woods basically all day. I have never hunted solely on public land, nor relied on it as much as I will be the coming deer and turkey seasons. Is there anything I should be considering while scouting that is unique to public land scouting? Should I focus on the most remote areas, should I take note of the parking lots, etc.?

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:50 pm

well there's so much to cover that I think that the woods is most important for now, since it will change foilage and the like.

One thing I didn't mention that really sets me off, is the leave no trace idiots that just leave their trash wherever they hunt - a good sign that others were there...if you can get away from these guys then thats really good, but sometimes you will find no trace then baamalamaslammer - theres some trash!!

knowing the woods is -to me- first and formost. It will help if and when you stick one that when he takes to running you atleast have an idea where the deer is headed....

Here's what i usually do for a new area: run the ridges a few times, see how the drains intertwine - topo's and arials are subject to change due to time[years] printed. Then work the low-land, looking for funnels[which sometimes jump out when looking from the ridge], I sat one morning on a peninsula, looking over a converging area of three ridges that came into a nice creek bottom with a spotting scope - time is patience in the working.

look for easy access, if possible, for an area that looks promising, if you spot surveyers tape[bright orange] that looks like trail markers then there was probably another or so hunting there check it out throughly.....we found an abandon tree climber once, got it off the tree and it was a viper, sold it. someone forgot where it was and -oh well....

We also carry SOG Machettes, cutting some trails that when next fall comes our trail maintenance is very minimal and not so noticable....

Again thats alot - but new areas are good if one is willing to do the work.

I.E: we took time to work a new area and do what is posted above, trails and etc., my friend shot a decent 8......

Hope this helps....

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:04 pm

here's a good example:

The farm land that you see in the one pic is a two planting, recently it was logged and cleaned out by the farmer.....the straight green is the dnr property but remember you are looking at it from a 3D view.

The red box is a good vantage point for scoping, the red curvy are the local ridges, blue is a good running creek and drains from the ridges, green curvy is the new crop's planted.......the road/access is behind us and to the left....

http://www.screencast.com/t/visZrCWR

the next is the 3D topo same area just slightkly askew: red box is the same peninsula for scoping, notice the nice flat ridge top just to the left and above it.....

http://www.screencast.com/t/VAxkB0uKvP


Sorry removed all the findings. Can't give everything away.....
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:34 pm

So I have identified some areas from the topo and arial maps that have terrain features that act as funnels. I am seeing inside corners, field funnels, and saddles in ridges. My goal is to walk one whole area on Saturday and check out these areas specifically, but also anything else that jumps out that I'm not able to notice from the maps. I should be able to get a better idea of the trails in the area as well as the bedding areas. Hopefully, I can go back to these areas more and more throughout the winter and spring and get a gameplan for next fall. I am going to get a bowhunting turky permit here, which allows me to turkey hunt 4/15 through 5/30. I'm hoping to use this as a time to get out and turkey hunt but also cover some ground and get in a good amount of scouting for deer as well.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:36 pm

Sounds like a plan - good luck.....
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:15 am

first thing we do is figure out what the deer have least of (feed, water, cover, undisturbed cover) - next is figure out density or number of animals you are working with (# per square mile in the habitat you are hunting)- After sorting out those 2 things we move onto deer travel trails, funnels, pinch points. You mentioned "public land" a couple a times and I think it is important to study the half mile surrounding the area you scout and hunt to understand any impact from the surrounding area public or private. Another important point is to understand that whitetails will use all available feed, cover, travel, water our job is to be aware of but not distracted by sign created at night. Flying over a property is very good - driving around a property truck or boat is good. Must lay eyes on all access gates in and around your chosen hunt location.
sorry if this is something already posted - one of millers I can't see on my screen.
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:41 pm

You mentioned differentiating between sign created at night and during daylight. How do you do this?

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:54 pm

try and ignore sign near roads and access points no matter how impressive. You want feed sign - profuse droppings - rubs - scrapes - ALL "back in" in and around "thick cover" and far enough in to be close to the bucks bedding cover. trail camera might help. I have had deer bump against my house at night feeding after the acorns run out in the woods - so sign is fresh hot in my yard early December even with occasional fresh rubs but a rack buck will never walk through my yard in daylight. Where you are hunting the deer are wilder and in a more wild setting but the point that sign will be all over and can be confusing applies.
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Spauldo on Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:56 pm

to confirm what cory is saying and draw the distinction. typical for deer to bed high and feed low. During the day, bedded, at night down in the low ground near houses feeding. so day sign is 'back in' and night close to access points and roads. thus the difference mentioned between day and night sign. I believe this is what cory is saying and what it means given standard deer behavior patterns.
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by 308ruger on Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:55 am

cory mattson wrote:try and ignore sign near roads and access points no matter how impressive. You want feed sign - profuse droppings - rubs - scrapes - ALL "back in" in and around "thick cover" and far enough in to be close to the bucks bedding cover. trail camera might help. I have had deer bump against my house at night feeding after the acorns run out in the woods - so sign is fresh hot in my yard early December even with occasional fresh rubs but a rack buck will never walk through my yard in daylight. Where you are hunting the deer are wilder and in a more wild setting but the point that sign will be all over and can be confusing applies.
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And to find these areas, do I scout and follow tracks to the areas with the profuse droppings and scrapings? I too am hunting a new are this late season and have been frustrated by what I now know to be night sign. I'm getting a little in, seeing plenty of tracks and setting up, from what you are saying i think i need to go further in..Maybe this is my aha moment??

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:27 pm

in most cases a little further is needed - but be careful here - once we discover the preferred day time covers and go to hunt it it is then important to figure out and manage entry so as to not bump or disrupt other core groups of deer on your way in. Not sure tracking is what is needed but it probably won't hurt - tracking backwards will teach you as much or more less likely to actually bump a deer - although after season bumping is ok. I still basically find core daytime areas by overview and picking the thickest sections that are reasonable distance - then confirm with follow up sign - droppings, beds, Another thing -- sheds are great and good sign and you know he made it through - but sheds are often in open nightime cover. So in short maybe further - but thicker is better than further - my opinion - good luck
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:54 pm

Well I need to scout some new PBL, so in the next few weeks/months my Son and I will be working towards that.

Next season will be his first year to hunt w/bow and he is already excited, this will make it more personal if'n he does some work.

In the meantime: I tried something a little new this morning, yes I just got in and am warming up, I sat right out in the open -yes drinkin' my coffees and eatin' me sammich - had three does come-a-runnin' with -well believe it or not- a buck w/no rack!! WOW so early, its usually end of Feb to March around here. But anywho, it was about an hour after two other bowhunters walked w/in 20yrds of me and didn't see me or nuthun! SOOO blended....

I didn't know it was the yung'un 6pt untill he mounted one of them does - that was soooo kewl, i have been Blessed to see this again. BUT, by the time I realized what was going on they all split, apparently those other two fellers heard the commotion and turned my way looking for a kill.....shame they missed it, and me.

Well, hopefully that yungun' will grow some......
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:01 am

Thanks for all the input guys. I appreciate it, and I've been able to pick up a lot to look for.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by vortex1 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:26 am

Feet on tha ground, and walk it out. Smile
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Backwaters Bowhunter on Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:32 pm

Sounds like you've got some good spots to go scout. You don't want paralysis by analysis, pick a few spots you're interested in and go check them out.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:19 pm

I went out yesterday for most of the day, and walked for most of the day. I took pretty detailed notes and marked up my maps pretty good. I learned a lot about the property and I have some good leads on potential stand sites.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:39 pm

Sounds good, like you did some serious work....just remember that next season things may be different.

But now that you have a base of a particular area(s), you can visit periodically throughout the summer months and see what trails tend to be corridor travel routes, more times than ought, these will be the ones that the does use more often, try to slip in and catch a glimpse of a fawn or two.

If you have notes of scrapes and rubs, then it is a good chance that if the buck(s) survived you may get a glimpse of him/them during the growth.

just as a side note, if you came across an area that had more activity than another, now would be a good time to construct a natural ground blind, using it during the summer months reduces the interaction between you and your potential prey....
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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by minnesota_muley on Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:53 am

I made notes of all scrap/rub lines I came accross. I also noted funnels that stuck out to me like creek crossings and several fencelines that appeared to connect larger blocks of timber. After walking the area I drove around the area to get an idea what was going on on the neighbors ground. I took note of several crops that neighbors had planted. I am making a point to see if they plant crops in those fields next year, and if they do, what crops they plant. The area I was scouting was anywhere from 1/2 mile to 1 mile from the nearest parking area and you have to walk up a pretty steep hill right away to get to it. I'm hoping putting in the extra work will help to and going a farther distance will get me to some good ground.

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Re: Scouting New Ground - Thoughts and Input

Post by Miller-TD#2 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:02 pm

Now here's a thought to make you dream
the woods the trails now you have seen
no leaves no bushes and less the greens.

The mountains seen and crossed the streams
learn the land from inside your dreams
walk the creeks and mountain peaks.

Lay out your topo and walk that mile
knowing within you won't be there
but in your dreams the knowledge will share.

See the hills the contour lines
you been there already
now just hold steady.

The day will come and you will see
that topo in your pocket no longer seen
but in your mind it is now the dream.
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