Without question, most whitetail addicts are probably gearing up for the upcoming spring turkey season right now. For good reason, gobbling longbeards are starting to get fired-up across many parts of the country.
Within a few weeks, some of our neighbors in southern Florida will actually be dropping the hammer on loud-mouthed gobblers during their season opener. Undoubtedly, the reign of old man winter is almost over, which means it’s about time for turkeys, crappie, and those hard-fighting bass. However, it’s also a prime time to hit the woods and start scouting for big buck hotspots that could payoff next fall.
Keep Cameras Out**
A big mistake for deer hunters is taking down trail-cameras at the end of season. Strategically setting up multiple trail-cams near winter food sources, thickets, low-lying cover and travel routes can provide a hunter with valuable information. For example, you can easily assess the current health of the deer herd in your hunting area, monitor population numbers and learn what bucks have survived another season.
In addition, trail-cams are also a great tool for determining exactly when bucks are dropping their antlers. This can save you a lot of time when shed hunting a particular area. We all know that bucks don’t drop their antlers at the same time and knowing when to start combing the woods can be very beneficial.
Mark Your Maps
From now until the start of spring is also the perfect time to thoroughly scout some of your favorite big buck honey-holes. A high-impact scouting strategy is to cover a lot of ground and try to locate worn travel routes, old scrapes, rubs and bedding areas. The lack of foliage will make last season’s deer sign stand out like a sore thumb.
Next, mark high-traffic areas, trails, rubs, and scrapes on a topo-map or aerial photo. There is a good chance that last year’s buck that left this sign will use the same areas and follow similar patterns again next season. Plus, scouting and focusing on these key locations will increase your odds of finding sheds. Following this late-season scouting game plan will help give you an edge when things start cranking up next fall. Be sure to let us know on the BBZ what kind of buck sign or sheds you’re finding in the field right now in your neck of the woods.