It’s that time of year; spring rains come, flowers bloom, plants start growing, and a hunter’s mind returns to the deer woods. Over the next several months we will be preparing for next season. Which stands worked well last year? Which ones need to be relocated? It’s getting to be time to create new trails, remove underbrush from old trails, get rid of overgrowth, plant food plots, and repair equipment and blinds.
Recently I had a customer send me a copy of a topographical map of his new hunting lease to help review his proposed stand locations. His hunting lease is located in an area with plenty of elevation changes so a topo map is a good tool to look at when deciding where to hunt. It looked like he had done a pretty good job of coming up with those primary locations from what you can tell just via that one tool.
It struck me how others on his lease tended to have many of their hunting stand locations close together or in one area only. Is this for ease of access or shortening their travel time on mornings they hunt?
Ultimately, many times successful hunting comes down to attention to detail and willingness to work harder than the next guy. There are many sources of information out there to help you make decisions and nothing beats good old fashion boots on the ground.
Use of online resources like maps, aerial photos, wildlife agency documents, and the like can add useful tools to your hunting resource toolbox. Pre-season scouting, use of game cams, understanding local vegetation and plenty of time on stand during the actual season will improve your chances of success.
When hunting a new piece of property try to have a wide variety of areas picked out to hunt. Then you can hone in on where the better areas actually are. Be willing to relocate stands if necessary.
Try to get a complete understanding of where deer bed and feed and how they get between these areas. Where do they feel secure? What are their travel corridors? What are their local food and water sources? Does Mrs. Smith’s apple orchard provide a treat they just can’t stay away from? What about that old fire road that is no longer accessible to vehicle travel but is a super-highway for deer?
By using a number of resources to gather data, making logical decisions on what you learn, working to ensure every detail is looked at and hunting those areas which have the highest probability; you will be successful when it comes time to actually lace up your boots and get out in the fall woods!