Deer Scouting Tips – Everything You Need to Know

Do you want to have a successful deer season this year? Do you wish you knew the secrets of hunters that bag big bucks year after year? One common factor relating all successful deer hunters is scouting, and not scouting right before the season starts. Many hunters make the mistake of starting the scouting process in the fall just before the season is about to start. Not only is this poor planning, but it can also cause deer to change their patterns, even if it’s just temporary, and ruin your season. Instead, follow the deer scouting tips below and you’ll know everything you need to know. 

Start Big and Narrow Down Slowly 

If you hunt a farm or other property year after year, starting big and narrowing down your land choices may not be important. However, if you’re traveling to an unknown area, or just got permission to hunt a particular area, you want to start big and narrow down where you want to be slowly. Use Google Maps and aerial photos to get a good feel for the land. 

Remember deer are very predictable animals and travel along well-known paths. When looking for a potential area, it’s important to look for secluded areas that have very little human entrance points. You also want to look for natural deer funnels such as rivers, lakes, fields and areas near ridges. 

As deer season grows closer, bucks and does will travel to areas with high carbohydrate crops such as soybeans and corn. If you have access to an area near these crops, you can rest easy that you’ll see at least a few deer cross your treestand’s path. 

Scout in the Off-Season 

If you want to learn a herd’s pattern, you need to start scouting in the spring, summer, and early fall. In addition to getting out in the woods, you also have to make important decisions and be realistic about your expectations. When making your plan for deer hunting in the upcoming season, you need to have goals, a purpose, and most importantly a schedule. Doing this gives you the best opportunity to learn where deer are bedding, foraging, and traveling during the day. It’s important to mention that hunters need to scout every single year. 

Even if you’ve been hunting the same area for over a decade, you need to be dedicated to scouting. The truth is it takes decades to truly understand the animals on a particular property. When scouting remember to answer three questions. Where have deer been? Where are they going? Why are they traveling there? Answering these questions will give you great ideas for treestand placement. 

Create a Journal 

When scouting, you and your buddies just need your hunting packs. Make sure you have a pen, paper, binoculars, a compass, and anything else you think may be crucial to the scouting experience. It’s important to have a journal, so you don’t have to rely on your memory. Write down everything you think may be important – even if it doesn’t seem important at the moment. 

Closer to deer season, start to look back at all of your scouting notes. If you’ve done your research properly, you’ll see clear patterns. Combined with a good feel for the land and you’ll be ready to place your stands in a spot your guaranteed to knock down a big buck. 

When documenting in the journal, you want to be aware of certain things such as rubs, foraging areas, sheds, and bedding areas. It’s also important to be able to tell the difference between old rubs and new rubs. Just because you found an area with some big rubs doesn’t mean there are a ton of deer in the area. In fact, they could all be from one agitated buck. Instead, look for an area that has old and new rubs on many trees in an area. 

Keep Your Research to Yourself 

If you really want to increase your chances of finding a “honeyspot” that’s loaded with deer, you need to do all of the above and then tell no one. Seriously, tell no one. Hunters like fishermen, like to brag about their catches, but sometimes that bragging can ruin their plan. Afterall, the only way to guarantee your plan will work is if you and maybe one or two buddies are the only ones in the stands in an area. 

Lastly, when you’re in the woods scouting make sure to be as stealthy as possible. The goal is to leave no evidence behind that you were in the woods. With all of this in mind, you should have a successful deer hunt that will help you fill the freezer and maybe even get you some new wall art in the process.

Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.

Tips for Your Next Hunting Trip: There’s an App for That

If you are a hunter or shooter planning your next trip, there is one accessory you cannot leave home without: your smartphone. Although a smartphone’s internal camera is fine for taking pictures or videos of your hunt, there are a plethora of dedicated hunting and shooting apps that will make your hunting trip much more enjoyable. Many of these apps require the use of a larger phone, such as an LG V10, to get the most from the experience. However, there is an entire new world available to hunters at their fingertips that take the pain out of the trip. The following represents just the tip of the iceberg:

Ballistics Apps

It seems as if all of the scope manufacturers and some of the ammunition manufacturers have a ballistics app these days. Most of them can be downloaded free of charge.

For the ammunition companies, there are apps from Nosler, Winchester, Federal, Sako and Norma that allow you to plug in the data and help determine where your rounds will impact. These apps, which are perfect for load development, use components made by these companies to get you ready before the hunt without toting reloading manuals and computer printouts to the range.

When dialing in a scope and fine tuning your reticle, there are apps by Meopta, Swarovski, Burris, Leupold and Nikon. Some of these are extremely helpful if you are using MILDOTs or a company’s proprietary reticle system for the first time and are not used to the differences from a traditional crosshairs-type scope.


Another favorite of hunters is called Mil GPS. This is a military GPS app that costs a little bit of money but provides your exact GPS coordinates almost down to the inch as well as your altitude. Besides geocaching, this app comes in handy should you need to call for help if you find yourself far off the paved road and first responders need a reference point if traveling by air or vehicle. You also can couple this one with Google Earth to get terrain maps of where you want to go.

Trimble GPS

Another recommendation in the same vein is Trimble GPS. Formerly called Cabela’s Recon Hunt, the basic version is free and an advanced version is available for $4.99. This app provides terrain and satellite maps, property boundaries, the weather forecast and phases of the moon. It also pinpoints ideal hunting locations, tracks wildlife and keeps a log of all the stats for each hunting trip.

If you use trail cams and need an app to monitor them, Hunt Force and Deer Lab are good apps that monitor your trail cams, save pictures and notes, and go as far as to tell you which tree stand is the best one to climb in order to get your buck next season.

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Appreciate Hunting

If you’re a hunter, chances are, in your youth, a respected adult instilled in you an appreciation of the sport.

After all, not all self-respecting pre-teens would volunteer to wake up at 4 a.m. and trek into the cold to sit quietly and wait. But you did, and you are a better person for it today.

Naturally, as a parent, you would want to share your love of hunting with your child, but finding the right approach can be a challenge.

If you want to get your children into nature’s fresh air to learn valuable lessons, you can do so without pressure, bribes or trickery.

Here are several ways you can encourage your kids to appreciate hunting, teach them lessons about the outdoors in a educational but fun way, and teach them the ethical way to hunt and respect the land, so that they can one day do the same for their children.

Be One With Nature

Want to get your kids interested in the outdoors at an early age?

Take them to pick flowers and learn the names of each part, take walks in the woods, play with worms and ladybugs, and teach them which animals are dangerous and which safe.

Not only will you be introducing your kids to the outdoors, you will also be helping them to make lifetime memories.

Scavenger Hunts

Plan an outdoor scavenger hunt or get them involved in Geocaching, a kind of modern treasure hunt where players use a GPS or smartphone to find locations where “treasure” is located.

The cache are small boxes filled with trinkets you can trade with other players, and there is always a logbook to sign that indicates when you were at a specific location.

Family Hunting Trips

When your kids get a little older, take them with you on your hunting trips.

Sure, this means you will need to shorten the duration of your hunts and take a few more “nature call” breaks, but introducing your child into the world of hunting is worth it, and spending quality time with their parent is irreplaceable.

Enroll Them in Hunting Classes

After observing them in action, when you feel your child is old enough, it’s imperative your child takes a hunter safety course.

Depending in the area in which you live, there are likely free courses offered, and nearly all states require novice hunters to complete the class.

A majority of these courses will be taught in three or four hours blocs and run between two and fours days. Upon completion, your child will feel prepared to embark on adventure.

Practice Gun Safety

As an introduction to firearms, kids can start off with plinking with airsoft guns as a fun pre-cursor to handling a loaded firearm while hunting.

Even when handling an airsoft gun, children should still be supervised and instructed.

When your young one is ready for their first forearm, consider a .22 rifle.

Though everyone and their mother has an opinion on what make and model makes the best first gun, the .22 rifle is good for learning:

  • Marksmanship
  • How to handle a firearm safely
  • The ideals of hunting small-game animals

You can’t assume your kids will find their own way into the great sport of hunting. As such, it’s up to you to teach them the lessons and honor hunting can provide.

Preparing to Get Back in the Hunting Game This Spring

Time to dust off the all the outdoor gear, air it out, clean it up and get ready to get back out there. While your knees might be creaking from your time spent with Old Man Winter, spend some time walking on your nearby trails and daydreaming about your upcoming spring hunting trip.

What will it look like this year? Are you looking to set up a guided trip, explore new territory or are you going to be putting new tires on the truck to four-wheel into your favorite spring spot? Set yourself up for a successful season and read up on what you can do to get ready for your upcoming trip.

Guided vs. DIY (Do-it-yourself)

As most experienced hunters will agree, it is more cost effective to plan and execute your own hunting trip. If you are a hunter whose dream trip is to get a break from your day job and spend some time in the wilderness, do your research and pay a tenth of the amount of money to organize the trip yourself.

However, there are a lot of upsides of doing a guided trip if the money is not an issue. Guides are a very useful resource to find the best game, in the best location and they almost guarantee a successful trip due to their amount of knowledge. Make sure to do your research and shop around for the best price for what they are offering as each company is different in their packages that they offer.


If you are from the Dakotas and enjoy the rich turkey hunting, maybe you want to stick with what you know and just stay out longer while hoping for good weather. Want to try something new? Why not consider Montana for geese, Wyoming for pronghorn or give in to the allure of a guided moose trip in Alaska? Northern Colorado has great duck hunting and the views cannot be beat. For those of you with little experience, you may want to check out the guided trips that Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and the surround areas offer. With varying terrain, the area has many different things to offer hunters of all levels. from ATV trails to heavily wooded areas to open prairie, it is a hunter’s paradise.


One of the many perks of going on a guided trip is that all the equipment is provided. For those who are opting to do-it-yourself, pull out your guns, bows and rifles and prep them for the season. Archers should be aware that the whole fleet will be having the same idea so make an appointment to get your bow re-strung well in advance of your proposed trip to avoid any delays. You’ll want to make sure that you have stocked up on the essentials-face paint, odor remover, bug spray and coffee. Check your camo gear for any holes you may need to patch from last season or enjoy a trip to the sporting goods store to stock up on new threads. Lastly, make sure your vehicle is in prime condition. The last thing you would want is to be stuck in the wilderness with a flat tire or a dead battery with a few tons of fresh meat in the back.

Open Season: Hot Spots & Top Tips for Spring Hunters 

As the mountain snow melts and the flowers sprout the first buds of the year, you know that spring has officially begun and you can start prepping for open season. To get ready for your most successful season yet, here are the best spring destinations and the most highly recommended equipment and permits you need to make sure you are ready for the thrill of the hunt.

Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba has some of the most coveted hunting grounds in the world. In the vast square miles of open wilderness, you can catch sight of wildlife such as timber wolf, black bears, whitetail deer, bald eagle, moose, ruffed grouse, fox, marten and lynx. If you also are a fisherman, Manitoba offers fishing opportunities for species like small-mouth bass, walleye and northern pike.

Most hunters that visit the Manitoba area, particularly those east of Lake Winnipeg, begin their hunting season in search of whitetail deer; however, given the area’s close location to Ontario where bear hunting was banned for several years, the area is rumored to have increased numbers of black bears.

If you’re not a resident, the most important gear you need is a permit. All non-residents must also book their hunting trip through a licensed outfitter or lodge. If you plan to bring your own firearms from the States into Canada, you should contact the Canadian Firearms Centre as well as the Canada Border Services Agency before you cross the U.S./Canada border.

Missoula, Montana

Since the bears are emerging from their winter slumber, the northwest area past Missoula is your prime locale if you’re on a budget. This region is also renown for its elk population. No matter what you plan to hunt, set up your base at a public campground to save some money and to experience a decent terrain. These campgrounds are generally seated in national forests and offer hunting grounds that are hundreds of miles long and mostly closed down and unavailable to traffic.

A good strategy for this area is to park and then hike around until you find a road that loggers have recently been working on. The theory is that the noise will have disturbed the bears and that they will be easier to spot through the cleared trees. However, if the snow is slow to clear, wait until a little later in the season to go as the bears may postpone their debut.

In addition to your usual gear and equipment, if you plan to trap in Missoula, you are required to attend a one-day information and training course. The course is usually offered in early spring.

Northern Arizona

Although Arizona may not be the first location that comes to mind when you think of hunting, the northern part of the state boasts black bears of all color phases, including cinnamon, coal black, blonde and chocolate. The chocolate-brown bear has been the most prevalent and frequently harvested throughout the past 20 years. The Arizona bear variety is migratory, traveling to both high and low country in search of food. This means a bear’s home range can exceed 100 miles. Experts say that keeping track of what the bears eat helps them know where to find and hunt the bears.

When deciding what firearm to use for hunting black bear, everybody has an opinion. If you take the medium of high and low caliber guns generally used, you get the .338 Weatherby Magnum. Appreciated for its flat-shooting cartridge and power, it’s small enough to manage easily while still packing enough punch to take out a small car. Additionally, if you plan on handling a firearm in the glare of the Arizona sun, quality eye protection is extremely important. Revant Optics sells impact-resistant lenses that are strong enough to beat the sun and take a beating.

No matter where you head this spring for hunting season, check for permits required in the area. Take a few new tips with you, add in a little skill and a lot of luck and you just might hit that trophy kill this year. Happy hunting.