Scouting the bucks of summer

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Scouting the bucks of summer

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 10:33
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I think about deer and turkey hunting during all parts of the year. Even when I can’t hunt them, you can find me out I the woods studying the herd and learning all that I can.  For me, Summer is not the time for beaches and margaritas, it’s the time to begin thinking about early season scouting.  The antlers on this year’s crop of bucks are about ninety percent grown and now is the time to begin inventorying your herd for the upcoming season.

As shadows lengthen and evenings cool, bucks begin their summertime feeding frenzy in anticipation of the fall breeding season.  Now, is a great time to spot bachelor groups of bucks prowling about in the early evening and feeding in out of the way corners of fields.  Fresh mowed hay fields are always a good bet to spot a feeding buck as are powerline right of ways and clear cuts. Scouting cameras are a great way to keep an eye on what's going on in your hunting area, but they are not the only way.  A sharp set of eyeballs and some good old-fashioned sitting and watching works just as well.

Summertime is also the time of year when big bucks seem less aware that humans mean danger.  They are out and about because they haven't been pressured in months and they are feeling the need to feed, but they will shut down to nocturnal feeding patterns if pressured.  The key to summertime scouting is to keep your distance and scout low impact.

Observation blinds are a great tool for scouting, the same blinds you hunt from can serve a dual purpose.  Or, they can be as simple as a few bales of hay or as sophisticated as a factory-built shooting house.  Vehicles, too, can be effective when used correctly especially electric hunting carts, but most of my scouting is done in my truck driving the perimeters of my hunting areas and utilizing a quality set of binoculars.

Here are a few tips for low-impact big buck watching:

- Watch from a distance, 300 to 800 yards is not too far

- Get good binoculars or a spotting scope and use them.

- Never set up where deer can force you to expose yourself when leaving

- Watch the wind; no different than in season, deer can smell you from six to eight hundred yards away.

- If scouting from a vehicle, park in inconspicuous spots and stay in it.

- If you surprise deer while driving, don't suddenly stop, slow down but keep on moving.

There are no guarantees that the deer you watch now will be there in September, but one thing's for sure, they will be on the feed for the next couple of months, affording you the opportunity to watch them grow and develop into the trophy you’ll wish to target later.   

As always, if you have any feedback, suggestions or even just want to share a good hunting story, give me a shout at [email protected]  God bless and good hunting!  

As always, if you have any feedback, suggestions or even just want to share a good hunting story, give me a shout at [email protected]  God bless and good hunting! 

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