Scouting for Whitetails

Steve Johnson

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  • Prostaff Member Steve Johnson

It's 100 degrees outside with flashes on the TV warn the general public about the humidity. One would think all these factors would be enough to detour any rational person from heading out on a hiking adventure with 50 pounds of corn and a 20 pound pack on his back filled with the latest scouting camera technology. For the truly addicted whitetail hunter there is no detouring the upcoming season and things must get done whether it's 100 degrees outside or not.

I have a semi-set course as I head out into the woods: 50 pounds of corn at “Creek Ridge” along with a Wildlife Eye to monitor deer traffic over the coming week, and then scout the back half of the property to find good trails to hang 2 other scouting cameras. The first stop was easy; we had hunted “Creek Ridge” many times over the past couple years and the stand is already in place for the fast approaching season.

Part 2 of this adventure wasn't so planned out. Using a topographical map and some aerial photos I obtained from the Internet, I was able to locate a piece of ground we seemingly overlooked in years past. A huge funnel connecting 2 huge wood lots is where I set my sights to start. This funnel was a mere 75 yards wide with a creek flowing through its bottom. As I approach the funnel, I notice a trail paralleling the creek bottom, which has been worn down to dirt in both directions. As I look around, I notice the pine thicket across the creek and can't help but wonder how many roaming bucks travel this funnel during the rut. I decided this was the perfect place to monitor some summer traffic and see what was currently using the area, so I set up camera #2. As I am setting up the camera and placing it in the perfect position to catch a great shot of a buck walking down the trail, I hear some leaves crunching behind me. I crouch down and dig my binoculars out of my pack to try to get a better look. It's a single doe heading toward the pine thicket. With the wind in my favor, she never took notice of my presence. I let her pass by and I began to gather my gear to begin the search for the perfect spot for camera #3.
I already had a good idea of where I was going to set up camera 3, so I headed in that direction. I had seen a lot of good bucks in this area during the season, but I had never hung a camera there. As early as it was, I figured I had time to spy on the area and slip in once more to pick it up before the season gets too close. This area is just off the same pine thicket that is near camera 2 and the funnel. I had hunted here many times, and was fortunate enough to take a great 11-point with bow a couple years back. As I approach the area, I notice the same trail that I had hunted prior and thought this would be the prefect trail for camera #3. I got the camera all set up and threw my pack on to begin the ¾ mile walk back to the truck.
As I was walking back to the truck, I couldn't help the excitement of what I might catch on the cameras. I am going to give them a good 10 days to be sure the film is completely used, and I will slip back in and pick them up. I’m looking forward to waiting in line to pick up the prints. It's almost as exciting as sitting in the tree stand waiting for the deer of a lifetime to walk by. Only time will tell!

Posted by Steve Johnson under Field Journals on August 1, 06 09:00 AM | Permalink

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