Scouting Tools

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Scouting Tools

Postby pmsmith2032 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:16 pm

It has become obvious to me based upon another thread I started that I need to spend a lot more time scouting this offseason. With that in mind, I'm wondering what tools others use in their scouting efforts. Besides a good pair of boots and aerial maps, what other things are you using to make your scouting easier and more productive? For example, are there any apps that are useful that organize scouting results, maps, etc (I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 - Android if that matters)? Any specific computer programs? Thanks in advance!

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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby Deebz » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:20 pm

I downloaded the free version of the Mossy Oak Hunting app (powered by ScoutLook) on my's pretty cool. it let's you drop waypoints onto a satelite image of your timber (which is automatically loaded as long as your phone has signal)... then you can look up the weather, solunar info, wind direction, even have it show the scent cone based on prevailing winds. i believe you can even add details to the description of each waypoint. It's useful when scouting to place spots for possible stand sites, and when you do have stands it's easy to check the wind situation at each stand to decide when to hunt...i like to check the wind by each hour in the coming day to decide if a bad wind might die down or shift around to make it worth sitting a hot stand area
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby shaman » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:10 am

I have become quite impressed after being turned on to this product:

It has a bunch of different products availability. Back in the day, I learned how to read a topo and an aerial photo pretty well. To this day, that is pretty much all I need. Google Earth is great, because it expands on the idea of an aerial photo, but I still like seeing contour lines and it helps being able to look at the surface with the trees removed.

For actual navigation, I use a lensatic compass and a paper map-- been in too many scrapes where I'd been in serious trouble if the batteries gave out. However, I back that up with a Garmin Etrex.
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Woods Walker
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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:11 am

As our very own shaman posted on another thread......."No poop, no deer!"

Now, the essence of this statement pretty well sums up what the main criteria is for deer.........EATING. Whenever you observe a deer in a certain location there's a specific reason for it. It's not just by chance.

Soooo........for most scouting, what you need to do is figure out what they are eating and when. Do that, and then you can figure out the where and when you need to be there.

So yes, you need to be able map your ground. But you also need to be able to identify the plants that grow on our ground. Get yourself a good field guide to trees and other plants for your area. At the very MINIMUM you need to be able to differentiate bewteen white oaks and red oaks. What the annual mast crop is has a very significant effect on where deer will be in early autumn.

What plant ID will also tell you is what state of plant community succession your woods is in. A woods may LOOK the same year after year, but it's not. Like everything else in the naural world it's in a constant, albeit subtle, state of change.

Dramatic changes like a fire or massive storm damage or logging are drop dead obvious and you will immediately see a change in deer behavior as a result, usually for the better (for you) as time goes by. The slower less dramtic changes are the ones that you need to be aware of. These are things like as a forest matures the canopy increases and the resulting increased shade changes the amount and kind of plants that grow in the understory.

This kind of plant knowledge when combined with your knowledge of the soil and terrain can have a very postive benefit for your scouting. For example, a few years ago in Illinois, we had a very dry summer. There was little to no mast to speak of, and the corn was still in the field. No one was seeing deer in the "usual" places. I thought about this and remembered some low lying small basins in some woods on the ground I hunt, and went there and noticed some mushrooms growing so there must be moisture there. I looked closer and there was also....DEER POOP!!! Further investigation also showed some trailing and other sign. Now this was an area where we'd never seen sign like that before.

Bottom line.......find out where the dining room is and then figure out where that is in relation to the bedroom and you've got it down.
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Jeff Craddock
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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby Jeff Craddock » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:02 am

Some of the most important Scouting Tools for hunting deer are:
1) Time-Lapse Cam
2) Trail Cam
3) Antler Scoring Program
4) Binocular

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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby shaman » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:51 am

How does an antler scoring app help in scouting?

I have this vision of a fellow going out, wrestling a buck to the ground and then pulling out his cell phone and a tape measure. The outcome I envision is somewhat like what happened to Scooter, our intern, when he tried to get a buck's basal temperature with an electronic probe. After 2 years, he's recovered most of the use of his right arm. The left one is still a bit dodgy, and they say he'll always have a bit of a limp.
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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby Bowriter » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Very little equipment needed. Most valuable is a notebook and pen. Binos, boots and topo map. Then wear the boots out. prime time to scout is as soon as youor season closes. The closer you get to the opening next year, the more you stay out of the woods. Learn to differentiate between stands and buck or pre-rut stands. Those you hunt sparingly and the best time to find them is right after your season closes. If you live in snow country, your job is easy.

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Re: Scouting Tools

Postby rthomas4 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:04 am

I'm lucky to hunt my own property, which I know like the back of my hand; so other than trail cameras I don't use anything else. Also, since I plant plenty of food plots and know the travel routes used by the deer to get to them, I don't believe I need anything else.

I feel for you guys and gals who have to hunt public land where you have to not only compete with the deer and their travel routes, feeding, watering and bedding areas; but also other hunters.
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