John's Journal...

Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game

Why Scrounge Hunt

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You’ll find this time of the year in February just right for hunting doves, rabbits, squirrels, snipe, woodcock, quail and predators in many states. Change-of-pace hunting can help you remember why you’ve always enjoyed hunting.

Every year, I try to scrounge hunt at least two or three times to reconnect with the past and rekindlClick to enlargee my love of hunting without a tree stand, a duck blind, a birddog or a pack of beagles.  Sometimes I wonder if our hunting has become so specialized that we’ve lost some of the joy and wonder of having game surprise us, having to think and react quickly and letting our hunting senses teach us where to look for different types of game.
In years past, a large number of outdoorsmen used this method of scrounge hunting I’ve described. Sure sportsmen hunted ducks, turkeys, quail, squirrels and rabbits back then, but the majority of people who went in the woods with shotguns or .22s were opportunistic hunters who took game for food because they ate almost everything wild.
Consider the possibility of putting a No. 6 shot in your shotgun today, and just going hunting. Luckily during you can small-game hunt in many national forests in various states’ WMAs. Too, many hunting clubs permit small-game hunting through the week. When you small-game hunt, even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool avid deer hunter, you still can scout for places to take big bucks, while you’re hunting small game. During past scrounge hunts, in deer season and after deer season, I’ve found highly-productive creek crossings, deer trails, bedding areas and feeding sites for deer. Because scrounge hunting requires plenty of walking, you’ll often cover a lot of ground and learn more about the woods and the animals that live there than you will while sitting in a tree stand. 

Scrounge Hunters Make Better Deer Hunters: Click to enlarge
When you go hunting during deer season for any critter or bird that may appear, you’ll hunt in areas often much different from the regions where you’ll generally scout for deer. Walking down a slough, a flooded-timber area or a flooded creekbottom looking skyward for ducks or in the treetops for bushytails, you’ll also learn where and how deer travel along and through those waterways. Too, while hunting a bog or a wet field for snipe and woodcock, you’ll often find trails and tracks where deer will cross that bog or field and go into the woods. When you’re Click to enlargeslipping down the edge of a hardwood bottom searching for squirrels, you may pinpoint deer trails where whitetails move in and out of thick cover after feeding in the open hardwoods at night. As you’re tromping briars to flush cottontails, swamp rabbits or an occasional covey of quail or woodcock, sometimes you’ll locate deer trails and bedding sites out in those briars where you’ve never before looked.

If you’re hunting open sedge in hopes of flushing quail, often you’ll encounter a big buck bedded-down in those regions because no one ever thinks to look in a sedge field for a bedded buck in daylight hours. In little patches of thick cover in fence rows where you expect to flush quail and rabbit, you may come face to face with quail or bucks or spot deer trails that you never will see if you haven’t scrounge hunted. To see and bag more game, have more fun, shoot more often, and learn better places to deer hunt, scrounge hunt now.  You can teach your friends and family the joys of hunting when you scrounge hunt. Because they don’t have to sit as still or as quietly and never know what will happen, scrounge hunting means fun for everyone.

Tomorrow: Take Squirrels with Dogs

Check back each day this week for more about "Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game"

Day 1: What Hunters Learn by Scrounge Hunting
Day 2: Why Scrounge Hunt
Day 3: Take Squirrels with Dogs
Day 4: Stalking
Day 5: Bunnies by the Bushel and Bunny Drives


Entry 445, Day 2