John's Journal...

Keys to Successful Precision Scouting for Deer

Day 4: Locate Deer Sanctuaries

Editor’s Note: A successful deer hunt is knowing where the deer will be, and when they’ll be there and getting into a good position to take the animal. If the wind changes, someone else takes the deer or some unforeseen event occurs to prevent you from bagging a deer, then that’s just hunter’s luck, which can happen to anyone at anytime. No matter how much of an expert you are, how much you know about deer or what type of terrain you hunt, fate always can deal you a hand that makes you unsuccessful. To be a consistently successful deer hunter, be in a place when and where deer show-up most often. Learning the keys to precision scouting is critical to success in finding such a spot.

Click for Larger ViewSanctuaries are productive late-season areas to take bucks. To find a sanctuary, don’t only study aerial photos, but also try to determine when and where the most hunting pressure is applied to the property you plan to hunt. Note that a deer’s number-one response to hunting pressure is to hole-up in thick cover or hide-out in a site where anyone rarely, if ever, hunts. Click forLarger ViewTypical sanctuaries are islands in the middles of creeks or swampy places that require the use of a boat to reach them. Also, thickets and clear-cuts that seem impenetrable and are in unlikely places, such as right behind a clubhouse, off the shoulder of the road on the way to the clubhouse, in the middle of a field where you never expect to find a deer and in a fencerow between two large fields that doesn’t seem to have enough cover to hide a deer can be sanctuaries a buck may use to dodge hunting pressure.

Click for Larger ViewIn these sanctuaries, you’ll usually find the biggest and the smartest bucks, because these places are the most-difficult to hunt. When hunting a sanctuary, make sure you can get to and from that sanctuary without any-other hunters seeing you coming in or out. Click for Larger ViewIf others discover where you’re hunting, they may hunt the same place and end-up spooking the deer out of the sanctuary.

To learn more about successfully hunting deer, purchase John E. Phillips’ books, “The Masters’ Secrets of Hunting Deer,” “The Science of Deer Hunting,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer” at

Tomorrow: Select a Number of Stand Sites with Favorable Winds to Have More Opportunities to Take Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Keys to Successful Precision Scouting for Deer "

Day 1: Identify Good Hunting Grounds by Using Topo Maps, Aerial Photographs and Google Maps
Day 2: Key-in on Food Sources to Locate More Deer
Day 3: Choose the Most-Productive Deer Trails to Hunt
Day 4: Locate Deer Sanctuaries
Day 5: Select a Number of Stand Sites with Favorable Winds to Have More Opportunities to Take Deer

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Entry 630, Day 4