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Post Season Scouting

Finding Shed antlers is a bonus of late season scouting

Now is the time to get the boots out and start preparing for the 2013 deer season. While this may sound foolish to many, serious deer hunters know that hunting trophy bucks is a year around activity and passion. There is no better time to learn from the bucks that got away than right now. January and February in the southern woods is the best time to focus on learning the most you can from this past season.

There are three basic reasons for this:

First; with the ending of the past season our memories are fresh, our knowledge of what occurred are prime. We can take what we learned and put it into place. Chad Simpson, a dedicated hunter from North Carolina uses this time to locate big bucks. Simpson keeps dedicated notes of each hunt. At the end of the season, he peruses these notes and applies them to his post season scouting. “Looking through the notes, I can learn from what was not successful during the season.” He says. Looking through it, Simpson is able to see where he saw bucks, what time of day, weather conditions and locations. “By looking at all of this data I can determine if I need to move stands, what bucks were feeding on, and the time of day they were traveling.”

Recently, Simpson moved a stand a few dozen yards after applying this method and it led to a nice buck this season.

Simpson with a buck he scouted at the end of the 2011 season and killed in 2012

Locating big Rubs will show you a bucks core area

Secondly; The woods are void of leaves allowing you to see more of the terrain. With the late winter woods open of foliage, we can see the travel patterns of bucks more clearly. This allows us to see more and assess the terrain more and more. The open woods also allow us to see more signs, more rubs, and more old scrapes. Locating these rubs and scrapes lets us know where the bucks travel and their core areas. By locating these core areas, we can focus more on the bucks. After locating these core areas, now is the time to relocate your stands. Simpson says; “By moving your stands now, you can set your stand and trim your lanes so when season comes around the buck there will have forgotten you are there.” Simpson goes on to point out; “I won’t go into these stands until I am ready to hunt it, everything has to be right; the right wind, right time of year, right in every aspect. Then I slip in, hunt it and slip out. If I do everything right, I have put the odds in my favor as much as I can.”

Third; Locating the bucks that survived will show you where they will be late season next year. Bucks will migrate around their core areas, and properties, where you find sign post season, is where they will most likely be late in the season next year. Finding this now, will put more deer in your sights late next year.

By applying these late season principles, you will benefit more, than if you wait until right before season to try and locate these bucks.