Scout and Get Organized
Thorough scouting leads to a better understanding of the habits and movements of deer within your hunting area, and that, in turn, increases your odds of connecting with a big buck. Today, hunters have a variety of tools at their disposal, including game cameras. But one of the most valuable tools in a hunter’s arsenal is aerial imagery.
Modern technology and the internet have made it possible to obtain a detailed aerial map of the land you are hunting, and it’s one of the best places to compile and examine the data you collect while scouting. By transferring that information onto an aerial photo, you should have a better view of what’s going on in your hunting area and a better understanding of where you need to be when the season opener rolls around.
Make Your Map
Begin by printing out an overhead photo of your land from Google Maps and marking what you’ve learned through scouting during the pre-season. Just before the season, sit down and study what you’ve found, and develop a plan of action. You might also want to have a separate map that signifies the movements of a specific deer, such as a buck you have seen multiple times on different trail cameras. Be sure to catalog these key elements on your hunting-area map:
▶ Bedding Areas When you locate a bedding area, you often don’t know if it is being frequented by bucks or does, so you’ll have to assume that it’s a general bedding area. Draw a perimeter around it on your map and shade it in. I like to use colored pencils, and I use one color for all of the general bedding locations. If you find an area you know for certain contains bucks, use a different color for that spot.