Deer Hunting Tips for Weekend Warriors
by Mike Hanback
We bloggers and outdoor TV hosts have turned whitetail hunting into an endless autumn. When one season closes in January, we tell you to get back out there and scout for old rubs, scrapes, trails and sheds. Keep snooping in spring-until it’s time to glass for velvet bucks and set trail cams in late summer. Now put it all together and hang your tree stands to ambush Mr. Big in month or two.
Get real! Most people don’t have the time or luxury to scout for deer year-round. You work long and hard, run the kids to ball practice or music lessons, cut the grass… You get it.
Can you still get your buck this fall with limited preparation? Sure, here’s a plan for weekend warriors.
Scout from Home
You might not have time to drive an hour or more to your hunting spot on a regular basis, but you can scout it now, from your air-conditioned den. Check aerial maps and topos, or go to Google Earth on the Internet. Spend a few evenings pouring over the land images. Study the lay of fields. Look for a cutover or powerline cut where whitetails will feed and mingle. Check for thick cover, grown-up fields, cedar stands, beaver swamps; places where bucks bed and hide. Search for strips of woods, swales, streams and other funnels that connect feeding and bedding areas.
By simply studying and analyzing aerials or imagery, you can eliminate up to 50 percent of marginal deer habitat before you ever leave the house. Then when you can swing a day off, you’re ready to drive out and ground scout the other 50 percent of spots where deer will move this fall.