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Favorite place to start?

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Favorite place to start?

Post by SlowBow on Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:57 pm

So whats everyones favorite place to start a scout?

Lets say you are looking at a new piece of public land. You`ve taken a look at some sat photos on goggle earth or somewhere, and found several crop fields,two creek bottoms, and lots of timber.

Would you look at the field food source first? Would you strike out and try to get as deep in as possible then start scouting back towards the vehicle? Would you hike the timber and find the oaks? Walk the creeks and look for crossings?


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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Waiting4Fall on Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:08 am

This is a very good thread! I would find the most currently active food source, & go from there.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Cbigbear on Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:51 am

After studying this area on Google Earth to get somewhat familiar with lay of the land, my first trip there I'm going to walk the creek beds. I'm looking for crossing & feed trees.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by SlowBow on Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:39 am

My place would be the crop fields. Usually a good source for finding tracks. Walking field edges also gives one a fair view of the woodland entries to what is usually the main nocturnal food source and a point of activity, where scrapes/ rubs can be seen giving one a general idea of the size of the bucks on the area.

From there, I would chose to either hunt the field PM for meat (doe) or if the sign warranted,follow the trails with good buck sign back into the woods to try and locate funnels (creek crossings terrain pinches,staging areas like oak groves near the field) and then bedding areas.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by NanookOdaNorth on Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:40 pm

I'm a bed hunter. I locate as many beds as possible during late Winter/early Spring and prep trees that look promising just out of sight of the beds at that time. I return to hunt those trees once or twice during the season and only when the deer sign dictates that the buck is probably using that bedding area. Remember, early season bucks spend more time on their bellies, than they do filling them. I like to be in a spot where I will see him once he gets off his belly, which might not happen till 15 minutes before quitting time.

I would also look for areas in the woods that present a good funnel near outside field corners. The buck probably won't cross those fields during daylight, but they will pass by a corner at any time of day while cruising for does. I would find a brushy area that restricts movement or a ditch that is full of blow downs that only offer a spot or two for the buck to sneak through. That would be my all day rut stand.

I would also locate at least one rutted up creek crossing, especially if I had a doe tag or two in my back pocket.

Now is the time to "trim the fat" out in the deer woods so you aren't wasting time next Fall sitting in a spot that the deer hardly ever walk through.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by TradbowInOregon on Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 pm

Wow, just found this thread! Very informational as I had the same question a few days back.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Uncle Bob on Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:32 am

SlowBow wrote:My place would be the crop fields. Usually a good source for finding tracks. Walking field edges also gives one a fair view of the woodland entries to what is usually the main nocturnal food source and a point of activity, where scrapes/ rubs can be seen giving one a general idea of the size of the bucks on the area.

From there, I would chose to either hunt the field PM for meat (doe) or if the sign warranted,follow the trails with good buck sign back into the woods to try and locate funnels (creek crossings terrain pinches,staging areas like oak groves near the field) and then bedding areas.
^^^^^What Slowbow said!
I start at the fields and follow trails back looking for pinch points. I love putting tree stands next to water if there's good sign.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Magicman on Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:05 am

I start with creeks everytime. Useually better acorns and crossings are so easy to find. Then you can follow trails back to bedding and feeding. Just seems like a simple approach in most cases!!!

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by bowonly on Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:49 am

In most cases, not all, I can generally tell where the nastiest cover is for bedding areas from the satellite photo. From there I would locate the nearest ag field and look for a pinch point between the two. The next step is to walk to the spot with a stand on my back to see if I can capitalize on my "map scouting".
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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Backwaters Bowhunter on Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:05 pm

I'll have a few places I want to speed scout based off the topo map and aerial images. I don't have a set place I like to start, I go based off my reading of the map looking for natural deer travel corridors. I like to do as much homework as possible before I go in and disturb the woods.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Tiny52 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:10 pm

Depends on where I am. If I am in a common wealth state, public land is generally private land. VT used to have this fact right in the front of their reg book.
"If it is not posted you have access to that land."
People I know (from the west) cant even imagine that! Very Happy

Large cities:
If it is a common wealth I generally start looking for a large Mall that has a land tract behind it. I have taken plenty of good deer within sight of the malls. There is generally a strip of woods between a mall and the next development which is always a hot spot. Got to know the distance for weapons discharge though.

Small cities:
Generally I am looking for an industrial park. In these parks, there are sometimes wetlands around the property. These wetlands are great travel routes. The bigger the park the better.

Large towns: I look for the tract housing or gated communities. Here there is a lot of high dollar landscaping which acts as browse during the winters. deer find these area's and don't leave.
I look for travel routes between the developments/neighborhoods that leads to small stands of remaining woods.
I have killed an uncountable number of deer in NY and MD hunting these area's.

Small towns:
I look for the wealthiest home owners. When I see 20K in landscaping, I hit the brakes!.
These are generally the easiest people to get permission from...even if the land is posted.
If it isn't posted and there is an unimproved lot next door, that is where I will be.

The one thing I always look for whatever the size of the population for that area is commercial property that is posted for sale.
These tracts of property are sitting unused for years at times and generally you wont find anyone there.

States that are not common wealth

Developed:

I love developed area's because the deer are the easiest to target based on numbers alone!.
I look for public land that abuts gated communities and hunt the trails leading to and from all that yummy landscaping. Surprised

If there are no such high end communities I will move on to the highest housing area adjacent to public land. I want to see house tops!.

In either situation, I drive the roads and look for tell tale signs of deer crossing that road. I have more dynamite area's that are no more than 40 yards off a road.
Once I am done investigating the roads I will walk the property lines, looking for deer movement from public and to private tracts.

I like dogs at dusk!.
If a likely looking area has people who own dogs (I can see kennels and runs) I will often sit off the edge of the road an hour before dark and listen for their barks.
Sometimes, the dog is barking at a deer that has just exited the woods. I will make a mental note and in the future, I will investigate that particular area.
Dogs are great scouts!.

Undeveloped land:

Topo maps all the way!. Thank god for the internet and google earth!!.

I will focus in total on transition routes and pinch points and that is all. I don't hunt the breakfast table or the bedrooms. I focus on the inbetweeners where I am not disturbing an area that will always attract animals, if left unmolested.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Tiny52 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:11 pm

Cbigbear wrote:After studying this area on Google Earth to get somewhat familiar with lay of the land, my first trip there I'm going to walk the creek beds. I'm looking for crossing & feed trees.

This is a great way to start Exclamation

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Posted Boy Gallego on Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:35 pm

Here is my take on scouting new public land, especially large tracts of it. First and foremost I hit up google maps and earth and check it over. Then I hit up mytopo.com (learned from Backwaters Bowhunter videos on youtube) and print out a map. I usually just open the preview and print. I keep this in my pocket to mark up with finds.

The two things I found most useful when scouting really large tracts of public land I've never been to are the following. If it has old logging roads or DEC roads, I follow those roads all over the first day. I like to get familiar with them in case I get lost and end up on one so I go in the right direction. They sometimes loop all over the place. Also good in case you get a deer, you will know which direction a logging road is and drag down to it. Easier drag from there. These logging roads are no longer being logged, but they still exist at least in the public land I hunt in the Catskills, New York.

Now for even larger tracts of land that have no logging roads, like the Adirondacks, I study maps of the hiking trails and look for peaks off the trails. I then walk the trails and from the trails I go off onto the peaks, south peaks, ridges. I can then easily get back to the trail to avoid getting lost.

I tend to get lost easy when scouting, reason being, my eyes are mostly on the ground the entire time. A compass helps, but knowing where the roads back out is even better.

If you have no old logging roads or hiking trails, then I would just cut up the land into sections and hit one section per day focusing on peaks. I just love peaks and theories on bucks going up the mountains in the mornings.

The land I hunt does not have food plots or corn fields etc, so I scan for nut trees and if very lucky, a wild apple tree.
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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by oldfella1962 on Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:35 pm

In the areas I hunt every single creek bottom has trails running parallel where the bottom-land vegetation (gum, cane, willow, water oaks, etc) meets the pines/hardwoods. That's always a good starting point! Then I look for fast quiet approaches from the east or north. All this can be done from Bing maps. So why Bing? Because generally they take their arial photos in the winter - you can separate hardwoods from pines much easier than Google maps mostly summer pics. Anyway, then I put boots on the ground and see the details you can't get from the pics.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Posted Boy Gallego on Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:49 pm

Old Fella! You just blew my mind! Screw summer google maps! I just tried bing for the first time since I read your post and you are absolutely on point! Winter shots show hardwoods/pines separations! Awesome tip!
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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by Parkersdad on Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:10 pm

I found this thread late but I will revive it. I look at an aerial map and find the thickest spot I can find. I always start there and work my way out. Sometimes I will sit an area based solely on the way the land Falls. For example if I see three or four ridges that come together in like a little bowl or funnel I will sit there and just see what happens. The other thing I do is look for water sources especially in years where there is a drought.

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Re: Favorite place to start?

Post by madeforthewoods on Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:39 pm

WOW I can't believe I've never seen this awesome thread before!

I personally like to go in as far as I can, that is farther than 90% of people will walk or drive to get to an area, then I look for what appears to be the thickest, most appealling bedding cover there, and I circle it to determine possible spots on all sides for different winds. And I look for the best entrance and exit routes I can use to get to and from the area. Then once I begin hunting the area I may fine tune spots depending on the activity, active trails, etc. I don't try to "get it all done" in one season either. Many times it takes me a few hunting seasons to really get everything dialed in for an area, but when it all comes together and works it is so worth it!
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