Preseason Planning For Whitetail Deer Hunting: Valuable Scouting and Deer Stand Location Tips Part I

Unsure of what to do to prepare for the up and coming hunting season? Don’t let the hunting season slip up on you and be left empty-handed without getting that big buck. There are several things that should be taken into consideration when planning for preseason.

Planning for preseason should actually be an ongoing activity during the entire year. I will explain later on why that is important but first I want to explain a couple of other things first. Things that need to be considered and planned in advance before deer season begins. Scouting out your property to determine the best area where the deer are bedding, feeding, crossing water sources, and entering/exiting areas near open fields. Once you find that area of high traffic then you’ll want to set up a deer stand in that area. I will discuss the best time and situation to scout and build a stand to make your season a successful one.


When scouting your property there are four “T’s” to remember:

1) Time of year

2) Type of weather

3) Technology use [motion sensor camera]

4) Tracing/Tracking [physically walking your property].

The best time of the year to scout is during the winter months-early spring, from January to March prior to your up and coming hunting season. Why scouting at this time? The movement patterns of deer are based on their food and water supply as well as the beginning of rut and hunting season. Our evasive four-legged friends will begin migrating in the fall, back to that same area that they habitat during the winter months. So scouting in the summers months will not lead you to where they will most likely be during the season.

The best kind of weather that you should consider when scouting is on days that there is inclement weather and strong winds. This type of weather dissipates human scent faster. It should be done all in one day to reduce the occurrence of entering the woods and to keep detection as minimal as possible. Another way of keeping detection at a minimum as well as finding out a lot of valid information is by the use of cameras.

The use of today’s technology such as motion sensor cameras have vastly improved scouting since it allows you to monitor activity for 24 hours, over a period of a week or more. Placement of camera(s) are critical. They should be set up in areas of food/water supply, main trails, and funnels. A funnel is the lay of the land which provides a narrow or restricted area for deer to pass from one place to another. Funnels can be either man-made (ex: a fence line) or naturally developed in nature by other animals (ex: beaver’s dam), line of trees, or a fallen tree. Cameras not only allow you to monitor deer movement patterns but also predators/trespassers that may be travelling through your property as well.

It’s also essential to walk your property to observe the main trails and figure movement patterns. It allows you to track deer to find the highest traffic areas. This leads me to my next point which is determining stand location which will be discussed in Part II of my article, Preseason Planning For Whitetail Deer Hunting: Valuable Scouting and Deer Stand Location Tips.

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