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  1. #21
    Senior Member elkyinzer's Avatar
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    Year-round, but I get the most valuable info from right after season until greenup. Anytime the leaves are down and you can still see rut sign is my favorite scouting time. I have hundreds of thousands of acres of state land accessible within an hour drive, and little by little I hope to cover it all and narrow down my best honey holes. I have my old standby spots but I'm constantly looking for new places.

    When I'm scouting new areas I'm just taking it all in, getting a feel for the lay of the land, food sources, bedding areas, other hunters. Objectively I'm looking for big rubs as evidence a big buck is there. Keep track of piles of crap/mile for an objective measure of deer populations. A lot of it is just by feel and intuition though. If I decide an area is huntable, I start looking to fine tune, find travel routes, and eventually marking trees and routes in on my gps.

    Just got into running cameras this year, mixed emotions how much they actually help a big woods hunter, but the pictures are cool. I consider it more of a hobby in itself than extremely valuable scouting info. Obviously that's different from farmland bucks, I cannot feasibly begin to run enough cams in all my spots to truly know what's out there. My tune may change on that at some point. Have some good bucks to watch but yet to get a giant on camera. I'm going to be a little more selective this year with a lot of vacation planned for the rut, so I do want to find a couple mature bucks to target. Would like to set the bar for 120ish which is a great mountain buck, I would probably settle for less.

    I don't bother shed hunting. Deer densities too low and spread out. Come April I'll start fishing more and don't think about deer as much, I'll spend a few evenings in the summer glassing nearby hay and bean fields but don't get too serious about it.

    Once the bucks start rubbing again in the fall I am back in the woods every chance I get. Looking for buck's core areas and assessing the food situation. Big woods deer can really shift their patterns on a dime depending on food. Very careful not to poke around sensitive areas that time of year, then when the season starts I ease into it and continue scouting while hunting the cooler days. Once the rut hits, spend as much time in the stand as my wife and job allow. Seasons over, rinse and repeat.

  2. #22
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    I pack corn into some of my hunting spots during the winter. 50lb sacks make for a good training hike in. I spread it around on deer travel corridors as a go. I figure it is the least I can do to "give back" to my furry friends during the rough winter months. I don't get serious again until mid summer when I start looking for stand sights.

  3. #23
    Senior Member cocky84's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
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    I usually leave cameras out until end of the year to see what survived the orange army. We burn about 200-300 or crp every year and i look for sheds or dead ones then. We got hit by ehd hard a couple years ago, so i check around ponds and water sources for dead ones also. Then mid summer i put cameras out and check them about every two weeks. There have been a couple years i have gotten pics of a good one early but most years the big boy don't come through until closer to rut.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Sodbuster's Avatar
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    This looks like a good start.
    Late season rub on some big trees.
    Location is a willow bar about 150 yards from the river.
    In two months this stuff will be so thick almost nothing can get through.

    In a month when mushroom hunting, I will drop a couple of cameras.

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  6. #25
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    I'm in the woods year round. As soon as the snow melts is a great time to see last falls rut sign. Also a great time to trim new stand spots. The woods looks about like it will in November. Winter and early spring are great times to do some habitat work also if you can. I've been cutting all winter trying to create some new bedding areas and travel corridor.

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  8. #26
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    Finding big rubs while turkey hunting will tell me where to hunt during the rut. Otherwise, it is pointless for me to scout more than a few days from the season opener.

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