As deer season across the country close, the beginning of a new season is here.
And now is the best time to get out and scout for your new stand locations.
With the winter woods barren of leaves and visibility a maximum, there’s no better time to scout and scout hard.
Find those rubs, old scrapes, and trails that lead from feeding to bedding.
Look for pinch points and funnels, beds and feeding areas.
During the postseason is when I find most of my new locations for the coming season.
And in many cases, I will go ahead and move stands now so the deer get used to them.
Finding rub lines and transitions areas is far easier when the leaves and foliage are dead or nonexistent.
On land where you have some experience, it’s easy to become complacent and just hunt the same old spots over and over again.
We have all fallen for that trap.
But during the postseason is the best time to get out there and learn how the movement patterns have changed (if at all) and how to fine tune a stand or place new stands.
After the season is the only time I will enter certain areas on the property I hunt.
I want to go in there and see if I can find sign of mature bucks that evaded me during the season.
I may find a shed or two, but mostly I am looking for beds, rubs, and scrapes.
By finding these, I am able to determine where the deer are bedding and living. It is the center of the wheel.
From there, I will begin scouting to determine how the deer are getting into and from this area they like to bed in.
The same is true for public land or land you have never hunted.
Get in the woods and find the bedding areas and start there.
By using modern technology, like onX Hunt, topo map, or satellite image on my GPS or smartphone, I can find thick areas, pinch points or funnels, ridges, saddles, or other features that may be present and impact the movement of deer from the area.
Once these are identified, nothing beats boot leather.
Walking your land is the best method of scouting.
While walking, mark any signs you find on your GPS or smartphone. Identify rubs, trails, etc.
These marks will paint a picture for you to see how the deer are using the land.
As a bow hunter, I like to place my stands within 25 yards of where I expect to see deer, whether that is along a trail, entrance to a food plot, or any other source.
But in order to get that close, I need to really understand the movement of the deer and place my stands accordingly.
Post-season scouting is essential for fall success.
Now is the time to beat the brush, avoid the snakes, mosquitos, and ticks, and get in the woods to figure out what the bucks are doing so you are ready in the fall.