You know, with all that was going on at deer camp last weekend, I kind of forgot to mention some important deer-related stuff. Yes, it still is a little poopy, but . . . well, you'll see.
I was out doing my first bit of serious scouting for turkeys and I found deer scat everywhere. The snow had just melted. This was the first weekend where it had gone above 50 F in quite a while. There were endless acres of deer poop, preserved from all the snow and cold. This was a good time to be out scouting for deer. Deer do a lot of pooping. They poop when they get up out of their beds and then poop as they travel and poop where they eat. If you find a lot of scat around, you can tell a lot about what the deer have been up to.
The other thing I found were lots of trails and lots of prints. Basically, the whole history of winter was laid out for me. I could see everywhere the deer had been regularly traveling. In a few days all this information will be lost as the grass sprouts and everything gets to greening up.
I am more determined than ever to exploit one area. It is at the head of a hollow, with a cedar thicket, and a road , and then a fenceline running along a knife-edge ridge. Beyond the fenceline, the ground drops off quickly to another hollow. There was a well-used trail coming up from the other hollow, crossing the fenceline, and the road and then going into the cedar thicket. There were gobs of hoof prints and scat in one narrow section of the road, and a blind or stand overlooking that spot would probably produce a lot of deer. I have seen deer sign there before, and even bumped doe camped out in the fence line. I have a stand down the other way in the second hollow. This scouting trip showed me exactly what part of the road I needed to exploit.
My point in all this is to remind all of you to get out and scout your property. This is probably going to be the most productive time of year to scout-- between the end of the snow and the beginning of greening-up. The leaves are down. There are scat-cicles everywhere. Soon there will also be sheds to pick up. This is especially true for beginning hunters. If you are unclear as to what exactly you are there to see on your scouting trips, this is the time to get out and look for sign. If you have trouble determining if there are even deer there to hunt, now is the time to get out and get boots on the ground. Deer sign will be everywhere. The rubs and scrapes from last fall will still be evident. Even if you can't get to your hunting property, go on out to the county park and scout. You will be amazed what you learn.