John's Journal...

Keys to Successful Precision Scouting for Deer

Day 5: Select a Number of Stand Sites with Favorable Winds to Have More Opportunities to Take Deer

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 ViewAlways let the wind dictate where you’ll hunt. If you’ve found eight or 10 prime areas to take deer, then the most-productive one is the place you can walk to and hunt from with a favorable wind. On the day you plan to hunt, wind direction – more than any-other factor – should dictate from which stand you’ll hunt, and how long you’ll stay in that stand. Click for Larger ViewWhen you locate a stand site, determine with your compass the direction your stand should be facing and the direction from which you can walk to that stand under various wind conditions.

Click for Larger ViewWhen scouting, I’ve found that having many stand sites from which to choose is best to prevent my being caged-in. If I only have three stand sites, one of which I’ve hunted the day before, I may not be able to hunt the second stand site without the wind carrying my scent to the deer, and perhaps the third stand may be too close to where a friend of mine is hunting. Therefore, on this particular day, I’ll be caged-in without an effective place to hunt. When scouting, don’t only pick the very-best places in the woods to take a stand, but also look for alternate stand sites. Instead of having only three stand sites to hunt from, have as many as 12 if possible. Know when to hunt and when to scout. Even though you have several good stand sites located, on a day when there’s a variable wind, spend all day scouting, and don’t attempt to hunt. Click for Larger ViewWhen the wind keeps shifting directions and doesn’t constantly blow from one direction, then your scent will be scattered all over the woods. There’s no way you can hunt effectively from any of your stand sites. Instead of hunting, spend this day scouting, looking for new stand sites, searching for new travel trails that will be created by the deer’s response to hunter pressure, finding new food sources when the deer have depleted the food they’ve previously been eating and looking for new sanctuaries that deer can use to dodge hunter pressure. Since the key to successful hunting is scouting, if you can’t hunt, then scout. The more you scout, the more you’ll learn about the land, the deer that are on it and how hunting pressure affects those deer. When you’re able to determine where and when a deer will show-up, you’ll be a consistent deer hunter due to your precision scouting.

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

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 5