Off-season bowhunting: spring scouting for fall whitetails

Tony PetersonI have a policy to only contact landowners during the winter months because most of them are farmers and they are busy during spring, summer and fall. Although I’d like to give them a call in April or May to find out what they are planting in certain fields, I  hold off and wait until I can walk the ground and take a look at what is sprouting up.

This is my first step to planning out my entire fall.

I sit field edges fairly often when I’ve got doe tags in my pocket, or when the conditions are right for early season bucks, but otherwise I use crops rotation and placement to plan out my staging area stands. How I hunt a certain spot will depend largely on whether there is corn, beans or alfalfa planted nearby even if I don’t plan to hunt over the actual field. I want to know which food sources will likely draw deer at what times of the year, and that all depends on what is planted and where it’s planted. This is why I try to get out to ever place I’ve got permission to hunt and make notes of what is sprouting up in the agricultural fields. With the the price of corn still high, it’s common to encounter more and more cornfields. That’s okay, because it means the fields that are planted in beans, alfalfa, hay or even wheat will be at a premium, especially for early season hunts.

The author waits until the crops are just starting to sprout before he takes a walk through each field to learn what is planted on the properties he has got permission to hunt.While walking through and checking crops I always carry a roll of flagging tape to mark specific trees for potential stands. When I return to the area, even if it’s late in the summer, I’ll know exactly where I want to sneak in to hang a stand and then leave.

If you’ve got crops planted on your hunting ground, you might want to take a walk right now to see how to plan out stand sites for the coming fall.

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