Deer season is quickly coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to leave the hunt entirely. One of the most valuable skills any hunter should develop is post-season scouting. The lack of hunting pressure combined with less dense vegetation make late winter and early spring the best time to see what’s out there. If you don’t already practice post-season scouting, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Go shed hunting. Bucks shed their antlers every year in late winter and early spring. Finding recently shed antlers might give you a good idea of what to expect in the fall.
- Create a map of all the antlers, rubs, and scrapes you find. This will help you visualize deer movements in the area.
- Review and modify stand locations as you gain a better understanding of travel routes.
- When scouting a new area on public land , it provides a great opportunity to get advantage of small game opportunities and a bonus bag of squirrels during your outing.
- Scout for a new spot with natural food and water sources. Look for and log oak clusters in your phone or GPS.
- Set up trail cameras to keep track of deer and other wildlife utilizing the area.
- Network with other hunters, taxidermists, and deer processors to share knowledge.
- Speak with state wildlife biologists and game wardens. They will have the best information about conditions on the state’s Wildlife Management Areas and other public lands.
Not only is post-season scouting excellent preparation for the fall, it’s a great way to stay connected with the outdoors. In addition to acquiring real-world information that can improve your hunting skills, you’ll continue to enjoy all the other aspects of the forest that make being outdoors a revitalizing experience.