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Pre-Season Scouting for Hunting Success

February 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 148

If you're a reasonably good hunter who's familiar with your typical hunting areas, your success rate is likely nothing to sneeze at. However, you can increase your odds of success and bagging a trophy - especially if you've drawn a tag in an unfamiliar area and don't plan on using a guide - by doing some preseason scouting.

Scouting begins by knowing your area. If you haven't done it before, invest in some topographical maps of your prime hunting spots. They will outline roads and even potential water sources you may not have previously known about. Another good option is to use a product like Google Earth. By zooming into your hunting area, you can familiarize yourself with the lay of the land in minutes. This is a tremendous timesaver, and has helped me develop a hunting strategy for unfamiliar areas before I even set foot afield.

Once you've located all the water in a particular area, you need to start hiking in ever widening circles. By doing this, you'll find bedding areas, feeding areas, and possible escape routes you'll need to waylay your future trophy. Tracks and droppings are a good sign, as are game trails leading to and from bedding areas. At least 50 percent of your work is done if you locate good sized tracks in an area leading from water.

If you're planning on hunting deer in the fall, mid-summer is a good time to scout due the presence of velvet on deer antlers. Each little velvet hair is attached to a nerve, and for this reason, bucks tend to avoid dense, brush-choked areas in favor of more open feeding and bedding areas where they are less likely to bang their antlers on obstructions. This generally makes them easier to spot and mentally note their location for future reference.

In general, glassing during scouting should take place in the early morning and late evening hours when game are most active. It's possible to spot game any time of the day, but limiting your glassing to these times also limits the impact of your presence in your hunting area. Animals can become spooked and will hightail it to another area if they feel too pressured. Once you spot a good trophy in a particular pocket, remember the exact location. Animals will frequent areas that provide all the necessities of food, cover, and escape and will return to these areas again and again. Find them in one spot and there's a good bet you'll find them again during hunting season.

Preseason scouting is vital for ensuring your hunting success and maximizing your chances for a trophy. Even if you don't find what you're looking for each day, as the old saying goes, a bad day hunting (or scouting) is better than a good day at work.

Jeff Keysar has written for eHow, Answerbag, and LiveStrong. He loves to hunt, fish, and hike when he's not writing.

Source: EzineArticles
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