Now that we are halfway through the month of March, we have reached the end of deer season around the country. In order to get a jump on next season during this lull, bowhunters should actively take part in scouting wherever they can.
Try to obtain as much information as you can regarding this past season’s herds, and what you can expect in the months to come. But, make sure you aren’t making a few common mistakes that so many hunters do when scouting right after deer season.
Deer are Constantly Moving
The first aspect of a deer’s behavior to consider is that they very rarely stay in one place. Keep in mind that habitats change almost on a daily basis. Where deer choose to eat, breed, and sleep all depends on a variety of factors, those being food sources, the ever changing environment, and hunting pressure just to name a few. Finding a plethora of deer in one location does not mean that they will surely be back next season.
To avoid making this mistake, write down a few scouting notes during the current hunting season. This can provide you with insight regarding their seasonal movements and activity better than if you were to do so during the offseason.
Explore the Open Woods
Now that a majority of the herds are on the move, this time allows for you to enter their normal habitats without disruption. Look for signs of rubbing or scraping on trees and any worn down paths or trails. There is a decent chance deer will return to areas, though, again, nothing is guaranteed. Setting up trail cameras in these areas however, is a great strategy.
Exploring these areas during hunting season can easily push the herds out, leading to much less activity. Deer are smart enough to know when hunters are more or less active.
Do Your Research
Rather than happily accepting the fact that several bucks have returned to their regular areas after months of hiding, look into why they may have been laying low in the first place. Mature bucks are much more clever than one may think. Hunting pressure is among the most common reasons why deer tend to vacate areas. Every time a buck detects the scent of a hunter, sees, or hears them, that adds another tally to the reasons why they should not be hanging out in that given area.
Environmental changes are another big reason why herds may leave some areas never to return. If food or water sources become depleted, or if there are much less brush to hide them from potential predators, they will set off in search of those crucial resources. Evaluate these properties and keep an eye out for budding woodland areas. Knowing where deer may move next is having one huge step ahead of them just in time for the next hunting season.