Scouting is one of my favorite things to do before the hunting season. Scouting can improve your odds greatly and ensure that you don’t waste your time scouting instead of hunting!
There are two ways I enjoy to scout – online and in the field.
Scouting online is a new tool that has really started to grow over the past few years and make scouting easier for anybody. Things like onX maps and Google earth are great to use before going out in the field. Looking at the maps they provide enables you to look at areas without having to go there physically.
If you don’t have a ton of scouting days, these tools can make a huge difference by rounding out certain areas based on terrain. If I want to hunt river bottom whitetails, then I should try to find an area with good river bottoms that I can access through public land. Apps like onX can help you identify these areas from home without having to waste the time and fuel to go and physically look. However, once you round down your potential areas through online scouting, you will want to go check them out to make sure the animals are actually there.
Scouting in the Field
The importance of scouting in the field it’s important to know what to look for. Some of the best things to look for are signs that animals inhabit that area. Bedding areas, feeding areas, cover, and water are the biggest things to look for. While looking for these bigger signs, look for the small things that animals leave behind, such as scat, tracks, and sometimes even rubs and hair (especially deer and elk).
Finding these will ensure that those animals are in the area, however the best way to be sure that the animal you are looking for is truly there is to see them. Be sure to find a good spot to sit and glass to pick apart the country. Once you see some of the animals that you’re looking for, you’ll know they are there and where to look when you come back to hunt!