Its crunch time, less than a month out for us in Pennsylvania. The dropping temps and changing leaves signal the beginning of fall and many of us are buckling down for the final weeks prior to our seasons opening up. While most of us would love to have hours on end to invest into our outdoor pursuits, we usually have other more important priorities. Fear not, with a little bit of time spent from home and a small time afield. You can scout out a new property or concoct a new plan on an old one.
MAP IT OUT
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Investing in a good quality topographic map can cut a lot of unproductive areas out. Valleys, draws, ridgetops, and pinch points and other natural land structures are normally hot beds for deer activity. An aerial and topographic view of the property allows you to identify these areas (travel corridors) between likely bedding and feeding areas. I personally use products made by HUNTERRA. Their blending of aerial imagery and topography makes this process of breeze. Granted you may not be able to find every honey hole or food source out there, but this will give you a great head start and eliminate areas that are featureless or fail to concentrate deer into a certain area.
GLASS FROM AFAR
If your hunting area is full of fields and open areas this is a great low impact way to observe deer on the property. Deer are slowly transitioning off their summer feeding patterns but if you hurry you can still park on the side of the road or other access point and survey where deer are entering and exiting the fields from a safe distance without interrupting their routine. Ideally I like to observe the entrance points and then go in mid day stand set up ready to go. Working from the entry point into the woods one can normally find an area where deer will “stage” prior to making their entry. Regardless you can find a well used travel route to set up on. The downside of this, as I have on the one property I hunt, is that a rather featureless area may have many entry points that deer use frequently. To combat this I’ll try to setup in an area that is used, but there’s a topographic feature that funnels the deer past my stand location. Example: On Property “M” I have a stand set up about 50 yards off a large agricultural field. From glassing and walking I know the deer enter at multiple points from the west side of the field. I have my stand set up in the northwest corner of the field because there is a sharp drop off in that area that funnels deer into that area more than others. It also is connected to a dry creek bed that has cover and runs the entire northern edge of the field. This allows the deer to move under the security of cover between one wooded area and the other. I have frequently witnessed deer coming from both directions in this stand site.
Even if you haven’t had them out all year, cameras make for an excellent scouting tool. This time of year I start to move mine deeper into the woods but if I;m still unsure of an area I’ll leave it at the most promising entry point to a food plot of field. This allows me to still see what’s roaming the area, how productive an area might be, and keeps my intrusion to a minimum. If your in an area that receives little human intrusion, its important to be quick about it as to not leave a ton of scent around the area.
Although brief, these steps will help you if your behind the eight ball scouting this year. Hopefully you can put these to use and help fill a tag this upcoming season!
Stay Safe and Happy Hunting!
1. Acorns on the ground
2. Field Maps from HUNTERRA www,hunterra.com
3.The staff from Season Never Ends glasses an agriculture field in the late evening @Season_never-ends
4. Example of stand set up via google maps
5. A Radix PS-1 sits patiently awaiting visitors to the stand site. www.radixtrailcameras.com