Are You Making These Critical Scouting Mistakes?

Proper scouting is what makes your seasons successful. You need to invest time and effort into the process.

Bowhunters, in particular due to the closeness of it all, need to be extra smart about how they scout their properties.

Cleaning up your practices may be just the thing you need to track down and take that Booner buck next season.

Think about how you are scouting for upcoming hunts, and ask yourself if you are making any of these mistakes.

Scouting Mistakes

1.     Thinking You Are Smarter Than the Bucks

If you think just because you have truckload of gear and technology at your disposal, that the bucks will soon follow, you are mistaken. Whitetails are very intelligent and adaptable animals, and should never be underestimated. In order to survive, they must always be alert, and learn quickly to move from danger. Get your mind right first, then work on getting a smart and detailed scouting plan in place.

2.     Not Paying Attention to Food

Food sources should be a main focus of your attention in late summer and early fall. In this time deer are more easily patterned as they look to feed up before the rut. By ignoring food sources, you are literally ignoring the deer and setting yourself up to fail.

3.     Ignoring Watering Holes

Much like food sources, watering holes are point of focus for your scouting efforts. Deer need water, and placing a camera or two nearby these water sources should be part of your overall plan.

4.     Frequent and Poorly Timed Camera Checks

Checking cameras too frequently, and without regard to weather, time of day, and wind direction is a recipe for driving away deer that may be in the area.

It is best practice to check your cameras at periods of low deer activity. Instead of running out to your cameras first thing in the morning when deer are out and about, check your camera when it is hot out, or raining instead.

5.     Small Area of Focus

Cast your sights far and wide across your hunting property, it is too easy to focus on one spot. Just because you saw a buck in one place last year doesn’t mean he’ll be in the exact place the next.

Trail cameras have come down in price dramatically in recent years, so there is no reason why you can’t assemble a fleet of cameras to deploy over a multitude of locations. To get an idea of what you can get for your money these days, read up on the latest trial camera reviews at, and then invest in a few of the best cameras to expand your coverage capabilities.

6.     Neglecting Scent Control

Scent control is critical when going out to check feeders and cameras. Avoid tainting a camera location by always spraying yourself with scent blocker, pay attention to wind direction, and choose your check time wisely. Practice scent control with the same level of detail as you would going on the actual hunt.

7.     Failing to Analyze Your Data

Now that you’ve spent hours and days tracking and patterning the deer on your property, you need to finish the job and analyze the data and observations that you’ve collected. Review your notes, organize your trail camera pictures, and piece together the puzzle. There are even apps for your tablet and smartphone to make this easier.  By going the extra mile, you can effectively plan and put yourself in position for success.

photo credit: GlacierNPS via cc