Late Winter & Early Spring Scouting
We are now months past the close of deer season, but there is still plenty of scouting information to take in. Most bucks have dropped their antlers, so we aren't necessarily scouting a specific buck, but we are scouting deer concentration with minimal food sources out there. This will give us a glimpse of the "starting line" of the year-long race to the hot seat, the stand of which we kill one of our best bucks.
There isn't much food out in the fields right now, which is why you aren't seeing as many deer out in the cut corn or cut beans like you do in December, January, and possibly even February. The deer are not yarded up any longer. Does are acting like the soon-to-be-mothers that they are. You know how women are in the 3rd trimester... I know that I do. Bucks aren't near them. They don't have the same expectation on them as us human fathers do. Can you imagine!? Sorry, getting off topic.
So, we will start identifying the travel routes that were used throughout the past season and how they have changed since. A hot trail maybe went cold. A new trail opened up. Maybe a lot of mediocre trails started. Are deer using the same or different bedding areas now versus December or January? Of course, food source locations change. Yet, the trails right now will lead us into the rest of the Spring months and into the summer. Trails and sign in general always change, so keeping tabs on them really helps. Yet, don't go storming through your sanctuary anymore... You already did that during shed season. STOP! Do not pass 'GO'!
We are only a few months away from the trail camera season... June & July on... If you have mineral out now, you are going to be a step ahead come June and July as you'll already control deer movement. Starting late doesn't give you the same amount of time of consistent movement. Yet, do you want a lot of deer frequenting your mineral sites now. Won't that lead to more does than bucks in the summer? Yes. Usually, yes.
So, scouting now should dictate your mineral site locations, but don't be afraid to adjust again in June or July, June being preferred. You need to scout and know your land. Be artistic, create a visual gameplay with your aerial maps. Your mineral sites now can help you do this sooner and more effectively.
As we continue throughout the off-season here, we will update this category of blog posts, SCOUTING, with our next phase around June & July. That is when the excitement starts building, and no, you won't see me out with a camera and/or spotting scope scouting the roads or the fields. It's not worth it. Let your cameras do the work and keep your human presence out of there if you can. If you farm the ground, and frequent the farm, well, still don't do it. Stay out. You'll thank me later.