Ah, the best time to scout deer—now that’s a question that’s on the mind of many bow hunters. The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think, but I can share some insights based on my years in the field.
First off, scouting is a year-round activity if you’re serious about understanding deer behavior. However, if you’re looking to maximize your efforts, there are two key periods to focus on: late winter to early spring and late summer to early fall.
Late Winter to Early Spring: This is the post-season period when you can scout without the pressure of hunting. The foliage is down, making visibility better, and you can easily find trails, rubs, and especially bedding areas. Plus, the information you gather is fresh from the last hunting season and can be used for the next.
Late Summer to Early Fall: This is the pre-season scouting period. The deer are getting into their fall patterns, and you can observe them without disturbing their natural behavior too much. This is the time to set up your trail cameras, check for fresh signs, and finalize your stand locations. Remember to look for the food sources they are using and what they will be using as the fall season progresses.
Remember, the more time you spend in the woods, the better your chances of understanding deer behavior, which will inevitably make you a more successful bow hunter.