By Alex Comstock
With the 2016 now officially over, the 2017 season starts right now. I wanted to quickly go over what my mindset is right now regarding the coming season, and how I can make improvements on the coming hunting season.
Learning: I talk about learning A TON. Because, deer hunting is all about learning. If you ever meet somebody who claims they know everything about deer hunting, I can assure you they probably don't know half as much as you. So naturally, in the next month or so, I'm going to be going over everything that I did well in 2016, and try and pick a few things that stand out to me that I need to improve on. With that, I can create goals to go after for next year.
Hunting Properties: One thing that I want to do every year is review the hunting properties that I have, and then dive into maps and add a property or two in each state that I hunt. I always want to expand my options, and build upon those every season. Because naturally, a property that was good this year, might not be as good next year, or I might lose permission on a property due to unforeseen circumstances. Even if all of your hunting properties are good, and you don't lose any, I would still try to go out and get more. It allows you more hunting options, and it allows you somewhere to hunt on days with less ideal conditions if you don't want to mess up your best spots.
Shed Hunting/Scouting: With the first two items being more of a high level approach, I wanted to give a quick run down on some things that I will physically be doing on the ground in the next few months. This time of the year is a great time to do some hardcore scouting. I like to do winter scouting (January/February) on top of my spring scouting that will take place in more of the March/April time frame. Scouting plays a large role in my hunting, because I can more easily identify bedding areas, see sign from the previous years such as rubs and scrapes, identify travel areas, etc.
Shed hunting to this point in my life hasn't been as serious as some people take it. For whatever reason, if I go out shed hunting and haven't found a shed in the first twenty minutes, I can't help but turn it into a scouting/shed hunting trip. With that said, shed hunting can be a great way to get an inventory on what bucks survived the hunting season and will be around next year.
Conclusion: This will probably be my last journal post until I go out and find some sheds at some point this late winter or spring. Between now and then, I'll be dissecting maps probably close to daily, as well as doing a lot of driving around checking out new areas, and doing some winter scouting. The 2017 season starts right now, let's get to work!