Learn How to Take Inventory on Every Buck In Your Area
Bob Murdock (AllFlockedUp)
– See more at: ProHunter’s Journal
I’ve always been amazed watching hunting shows on television and how they seem to be familiar with every buck they encounter throughout the season. Most of the time, these hunters are using anywhere from 5 to 20 trail cameras on each property. We’d all love to have a trail camera in every funnel and food source on every property we hunt, but that’s just not possible for most of us. I’m down to only one trail camera for the season, and I’ve tried to put together a “Plan of Attack” if you will, to inventory each and every buck in my area. This sounds like a tough thing to accomplish, but if you take the time to study the land carefully and use Pro Hunters Journal mapping software you can have a nick name for every buck around.
Start by getting familiar with the FREE mapping software offered right here at www.ProHuntersJournal.com . If you have not already, you will need to register for a free account in order to use and save the hunt mapping software. Our mapping programs are state of the art and offer many great features such as tree stand and water hole tags, trail markers and track and game icons available for everything from turkey and waterfowl to whitetail and elk. You can easily drag the icons right onto your aerial maps and either print them off to carry in the field or save them securely to your PHJ private profile.
Now, you’ll want to print off four aerial maps of each property you intend on hunting this season. Take the maps with you and head out to do some leg work. You’re going to be on the lookout for anything and everything associated with whitetails. Possible treestand placement sites, food sources, tracks, trails, old rubs and good places for trail cameras are all things you’ll want to record on your maps.
Before entering the woods you’ll want to label each map as follows.
Map #1 – Possible Stand Sites
On this map you need to mark EVERY tree you walk past that looks like a good possible stand sight. Don’t worry about the wind, food sources or bedding areas just yet. All we’re looking for are those instincts we as hunters have and tend to ignore. Once we have all our information on the table, we’ll go back and weed out what stands will and won’t work.
NOTE: Many times I can remember saying to myself, “Man that would be a killer spot for a stand”. Only to later forget about it until I watch a nice buck walk 10 yards from the base as I sit atop a tree 60 yards away. Remember, our instincts are usually right, don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.
Map #2 – Food Sources
On this map you’ll need to take note of EVERY food source in the area. This includes all agriculture fields, (corn, soy beans, wheat, alfalfa) early season foods, (oak acorns, clover) and any other food around the property (apple trees, persimmons). Be precise, this information will be necessary later when we sit down to put our plan together.
NOTE: When I was 17 years old I got permission to hunt a new farm and I did not take the time to walk the property before bow season. I hunted this farm for three weeks without ever seeing a deer. I ended up taking my stand down and moving it to another farm. During the last week of October an older gentleman from down the road arrowed a beautiful 160 class whitetail on the very property I had just abandoned. While I was talking to him about the hunt he told me he had been watching this buck all season hitting an oak flat in the evenings, feasting on acorns. Lesson learned! I never even knew there was a vast supply of acorns on the farm since I didn’t take the time to scout properly. Ever since then I make sure I know of all food sources where I’m hunting.
Map #3 – Sign & Trails
This map will consist of all deer sign you find in and around the woods. Carefully mark EVERY trail, track, creek crossing, bedding area and old rub you come across. While food sources will help you determine where deer are moving, nothing is better than hard evidence. Take note of which direction tracks are heading and what size and sex they are. Many deer will travel the same trails year in and year out. Same goes for rub lines – many bucks will run the same lines for years if they don’t get pressured out of the area. Even if the buck gets killed, another buck will take over that area and likely that same rub line.
NOTE: A few years ago, while scouting a newly acquired property where I received permission to hunt, I happen to come across an old rub line leading out into a soybean field. I talked to the farmer and found out the field was planted with soy beans last year as well. I set 3 stands on this property and watched a nice 8 point on two different occasions hit this rub line on his way to the field. On the evening of October 12, 2006, I moved my stand to intercept him on his way to the dinner table. After that I have had a stand on an old rub line somewhere every season.
– See more at: ProHunter’s Journal
(The image below is NOT part of the original article – however the photo included with the original article is producing a ‘blockpage’ image from my current location. The image below is from Elite Predator TV – I am one of EPTV’s “Death Dealer Federation” members. – Niko)