3 Key steps to White Tail success- Step 2: Getting permission and initial scouting
In part one I talked about seeing deer and I hope it helps some people spot more deer.
Well now the fun starts. Getting permission on private land is always a challenge. I find that first impressions are vital for land owners to trust you on their land. I believe putting yourself in their position and asking yourself what you would expect from a stranger to allow them on your land, may help in convincing them you are trustworthy. A bit of research on the owner could be beneficial before you approach them. I.e. Are they pro hunting? Do they have cattle or horses? Have they had a bad experience with trespasser’s? A Good idea is to get a land title map from the county to track a name down. This could tilt the odds in your favor before attempting to ask. Convincing the owner that you are of good reputation is key. Offer some references, belonging to a club or community service could help as well. Offer to keep an eye on their land against trespassers. I find that what we do for work sometimes a good thing too. Offer help in some way or connections you might have. There is no bullet proof formula that will work, but a little pro active effort on your part can help seal the deal.
“Now let the scouting begin”
It’s obvious that the land you are attracted to is holding deer, so let’s look at the process of targeting the best animal on this land. First a Google Earth download is imperative to see the layout of bedding, food and water supply. It’s always a good idea to scout backwards so to speak. What I mean by that is back tracking from the food source through the transition or staging area to the bedding area which is normally the thickest, safest hide out with the best predominant wind that will warn the deer of incoming danger. Spring time is a great time to scout the area. The old rub lines and scrapes are still very noticeable as well as the main trails that lead to the munchies and possible water holes. You may even find a few sheds on the journey which is a bonus, and could be an indication of what lives there.
“I love pinch points!”
This is where the timber bottle necks but still allows the bucks to stay concealed on their travel route to feeding grounds. You can identify these spots on Google Earth or a topo map. There is often strips of timber that narrow like an hour-glass shape. These are great ambush sites to set up stands. . Try not to get too close to bedding areas but close enough to catch weary bucks in the daylight hours slowly moving towards staging areas. Always be aware of wind, travel and set up accordingly to the downwind side and hunt it religiously, these deer will always be using it to their advantage. It’s important to do all your scouting early in the year as to not put pressure on your deer. They live to survive and are very sensitive to anything that smells odd or is too different along their daily routine. Pick your entry and exits to your stand carefully so you can slip in and out without being detected. They will become nocturnal and or leave the area if too much change to their area is observed. If you’re allowed to use a trail camera, then set it up in these areas I’ve spoken about with intersecting trails to feeding plots and this will help you determine activity. In part three we will discuss scent control, and early and late hunting tactics that will increase your odds of closing the deal.