Scouting is one of the most useful tools to any hunter. It has long been said that once hunting season starts you should stop scouting and allow your hunting grounds to be free of human traffic so when it is time to go hunting the deer would come through those hunting areas without fear. Well, normally I agree with this. However, when it comes to hunting public land such as Loch Raven, scouting is the only way to find deer and Sunday is the best way to do it. You can find new trees, new hunting grounds and map out your entry and exit routes during this time as well. On the subject of spooking the deer from that area because you are scouting… well, let us be honest, between the hikers, bikers, dog walkers, fishermen, and other hunters, the deer on public land get pushed around and encounter humans regularly and probably daily. The deer probably have less fear of us than we think; the important part is not spooking them on the day of the hunt. So, I personally believe that Sunday is the best day to get out in the woods and find those new spots or new trees for the upcoming week of hunting. Many hunters can only get out hunting on Saturday, so that means that you need to know where you are going before Saturday, which is why I make this suggestion.
Rut has really fired up over the last 5 days and the bucks are all chasing does, or out looking for other does. I was able to get out yesterday (Sunday) for about 3 or 4 hours in the morning and scouted 2 places. One I have not hunted this year, and another that I had never been before. This was a great use of those few hours; the one location had very good sign of deer, several good rubs and lots of scrapes, but lacks climbable trees. Still a very promising area and is on my list of places to go in the coming week or two. The other location is a spot that I hunted last year around this time and saw lots of does but no bucks. This year it is very different. There was good sign of deer, like last year. The difference was less sign of hunting and a number of fresh rubs and scrapes. This location also has now made it higher on my list of places to check out over the coming weeks.
This goes to show you, had I not gone and checked these spots out, I may have not gone to hunt them thinking the one would be my December and January doe spot and the other I had never been and probably would have never gone. So get out and do some scouting next Sunday, it may pay off the following week. I will have to keep you posted throughout this week when I get a chance to get away from work and get out in the woods; hopefully my scouting will pay off!