Pre-Season Scouting for Whitetail Deer

Bowhunting’s biggest challenge is getting whisper-close to animals.

To conquer that short-range challenge, bowhunters gather information from the woods and use those insights to compress a large property into a few key spots.

The process of gathering that vital information is called “scouting.” When scouting a site you’ll look for tracks, water, droppings, game trails, bedding areas and feeding areas. These signs and areas tell bowhunters where they can find deer as they eat, drink, rest and travel. As you accumulate information, you hold key puzzle pieces.

Favored food sources for deer vary by region, but include apples, berries, acorns (especially from white oaks), agricultural fields, young plant shoots, and nuts like pecans, hickory and chestnuts.

During droughts and hot, windy weather, water sources can be deer magnets. Ponds, streams, swamps and livestock tanks all attract thirsty deer. A deer’s bedding area usually includes thick, dense cover that hides them from predators, and shields them from cold and wind. Good deer cover often features thick brush or tall weeds, and dense canopies of low-hanging boughs on cedars, spruce and other conifers.

In this video, The Hunting Public shares tips for preseason scouting so you can begin narrowing down your hunting area and find potential hunting spots.


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