One of the most frustrating things about hunting, for me anyway, is the inability of getting out and doing my scouting the way I would like. With work, being a husband and a dad I am left with very little time to do the ever important scouting. To scout effectively you seriously need to dedicate a minimum of four to six weeks during the year. This depends widely on what you are hunting and if it is a new area or an area you already know. Scouting is not cheap. The cost of lost work, gas, food, and of course better optics and other equipment. The every-day-hunter just does not have the time or the means to scout in an effective manner. So, what’s the answer? How do we learn an area? How do we find the time and the money to effectively learn an area, or learn the pattern of a buck or a bull? How do we know where the animals are and where they go if the temperatures are higher than normal or even lower than normal? Where should I go if there is four inches of fresh snow on the ground? There are a lot of things that one needs to know if you expect to improve your odds on that trophy, or even knowing where you can find something for the freezer. Well, the good news is that there is a way and in truth it will allow you to receive great information and more than likely, save you a lot of time and money. All one needs to do is go for a short drive to your local Fish & Wildlife Management facility. Come prepared with a map of the area you are wanting to hunt and the willingness to ask a lot o questions. In my experience the local biologists and law enforcement are very willing to answer your questions and help in any way. One sit down with a biologist will save you hours and hours of scouting. The game warden’s and biologist’s spend more time out in the same hills you are getting ready to hunt in a month than any individual could scout in a year. They will know where the animals are, they will know the quality of the feed, if and where there is water, the age of the animals, the buck/doe ratio or bull/cow ratio. I have had times when they would draw an ‘X’ on my map showing me “where they would go if they were me”. Priceless information is available year-round. All you need to do is pick up the phone or take a short drive. I currently have the personal phone number to the biologist that covers the area I will be hunting for Mule Deer this year here in Montana. He has asked me to call him at any time and if/when I am in the area, he would come out and meet me to help me do some scouting. Most of these people are willing to help and give us advise. Another simple way of doing some scouting from your comfortable recliner is on Google. Try it some time. Sit down with your laptop and Google a hunting area or county or canyon, etc. You will be surprised what you will find. Look at images in the search engines to get an idea of animal quality and genetics. Read posts on blogs from every-day people who recently hunted the area you are looking at. The information is endless and it is free for our enjoyment. Make a post on your Facebook account or find a hunting question & answer site and ask some questions on the area or areas you are hunting. You will be surprised with the answers you get back. Some of them will be very helpful. So, rather than wishing you had the time and/or money to do some scouting, take a chance on these tips. You never know, maybe you will find the best scouting method out there, and save some money in the process. Happy scouting and happy hunting. Good luck this year!
Scouting for the regular ‘Joe’