Big Timber Hot Spots Part 2

Posted by: Steve Flores on Feb 25, 2013
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While the focus of Part 1 was finding “Hot Spots” within big-timber, it does little good to know what they are if you don’t know when the best time to look for them is.  In fact, scouting during the wrong time of year can actually hinder your chances of success.

Scouting Mistakes

For the longest time I waited until late summer before scouting for stand locations.  There are several problems with this approach. First, the foliage is so thick that any sign that isn’t right under your feet, literally, will be hard to see.  This makes investigating an area more time consuming; especially if you want to do it right. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of summer scouting is the fact that when you return to hunt the circumstances will probably be much different than they were just a month prior. (summer scouting in the Mid-west)

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If you put off your big-timber scouting until everyone else is doing it your odds of success will drastically decrease. The early bird gets the worm.

You see, in big-timber, the conditions are always changing.  Food sources change, as well as available cover.  Both of these factors play a major role in how the deer in the area travel.  If you are hunting from a stand that was hung based on sign that you discovered a month or more prior….well, you’re already behind in the game.

Scouting Done Right
My preferred method is to scout immediately following the close of the season.  More importantly, I base a good deal of my efforts on locating stand sites that can be hunted during the rut the following year.  Because food sources and available cover used for travel purposes change so often in a mountain setting, I would much rather formulate my schemes around the whitetails desire to breed.  Doe bedding areas, big buck hide-outs, and other preferred rutting locations rarely change unless something drastic happens to the area.  In my opinion, those are much more reliable pieces to the puzzle; as opposed to fickle summertime travel routes and food sources. (hunting over food plots)

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Look for areas that naturally “pinch” deer movement down into a small area. If you can locate such places that are also adjacent to doe bedding areas…you’ve struck gold.

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Steve Flores

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