You often hear whitetail hunters talk about summer scouting, prep work, and glassing for velvet bucks. Those are the topics that get all the glory. However, there’s a wealth of information that can be gleaned from spring scouting efforts for deer.
How do you make it happen?
Check out the info below on what to look for when spring scouting for whitetail deer.
Spring is a great time to be more aggressive in your scouting efforts. You may have been cautious around bedding areas during the season, but now is a great time to push in, and take a closer look at bedding areas on the properties you hunt. You can get a clean and clear picture of how these bedding areas lay out, how deer travel in and out of them, and how bucks play the wind from these areas.
Mark buck beds on your hunting app to see patterns and consistencies across an area. As you begin to document these buck beds over time, you’ll soon learn the best approach and when to make your move.
Rubs & Scrapes
Rubs and scrapes are some other signs to keep an eye out for when you make your spring scouting runs. Drop pins on these as well to begin familiarizing yourself with patterns in movement and where bucks leave their mark.
But you gotta be careful here. Keep in mind, the sign you’re finding may be from a buck that was killed during the season. Do you know he’s still alive? Do you have recent trail cam photos of the buck? This is where the next point, finding their sheds, is of great value to the hunter.
Finding shed antlers is way more than just an off-season hobby for the deer hunter. Finding sheds is part of the inventory process.
Sure, a buck could die after shedding its antlers, but finding a fresh pair of sheds at least tells you that he survived the hunting season and is likely still hanging out nearby.
You’ll typically have to cover a lot of ground to find these sheds. The hunter that consistently finds a pile of shed antlers is the hunter that puts a lot of miles on the boots. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can make a quick lap around the food plot and find what you’re looking for.
Deer move a lot during the winter months as they search for food. If you want to find their sheds, you’ll have to cover some ground to make it happen.
One great place to look for shed antlers is at trail crossings, creek crossings, and fence crossings. These are the locations where the action happens, and bucks could potentially knock an antler free.
But these are also the locations you’ll want to have documented in your phone for potential stand sites when the season rolls around. Make notes of what crossings seem to get the most traffic, and put the pieces together on where the trails lead to and from. When you begin to make notes, and document when and where deer movement occurs, you’ll soon learn to track patterns and activity on your property like never before.
In the woods, or across the fields, there will be terrain features that deer prefer to travel. Do you know these locations on your property?
They come in all forms across the landscape, from bottlenecks, pinch points, elevation changes, saddles, edge transition, or water. Spring is a great time to discover these features before green-up occurs and visibility is minimized. Again, mark these locations on your phone’s mapping app. Treestands or blinds located along these terrain funnels can easily provide some of your best hunts of the season.
Make the most of the spring season by knocking out some intensive whitetail scouting chores this spring. The steps mentioned above will give you a head start in your plans and preparation for fall.