By Alex Comstock
As I write this, it's currently the last week of April, and finally spring has shown itself. Here in the northern region of the country, winter overstayed its welcome, and it's resulted in me getting a late start on hardcore spring scouting, and has taken its toll on my shed hunting success. With that being said, I wanted to give a quick update on my plans now that spring has arrived.
Small Window of Time: The first thing that I'm going to have to deal with is going to be the short window of time I'll be presented to get a lot done. With it taking this long to finally warm up and melt the snow, we'll go from having feet of snow in the timber to none, to green up fast. I probably have until about mid-May to get my spring "to do" list done, and odds are it won't get all done.
Shed Hunting: With the way winter has played out this year, it's been tough to find any antlers. Last weekend I took a trip out to North Dakota even, thinking I would be timing it perfectly to find a lot of antlers. Unfortunately I was about two weeks early, and there was still over a foot of snow in the timber in most areas. Between me and two friends, we put in a combined thirty miles on the boots and only found two antlers. I can't even imagine how many sheds I probably walked right over, still covered by snow.
In the next couple weeks, before things start greening up, I hope to get out a few more times specifically to find sheds. The weather looks like it's going to be warming up fast, so time will be of the essence. I'm really hoping to get out to North Dakota again as well to walk my main public land spot one more time in hopes of finding some sheds from a few different bucks I know of in the area.
Scouting Plans: In the same time frame as finding sheds, I'm also going to be dedicating some time to scouting new areas of public land, mostly big woods areas in my home state of Minnesota to hopefully get a start on where I want to spend some time next fall. My goal will be to identify a couple different areas to focus on, as the chunks of public land here in Minnesota are thousands and thousands of acres, compared to the small couple hundred acre tracts of public land I'm used to in North Dakota. If I can cross some areas off the map, figure out a few to focus on, and maybe even identify some food sources and buck bedding areas, I'll be in a good spot come summer. I'll touch on this later more, but I'll then do a lot of digital scouting, and running of trail cameras in the summer to inventory bucks in certain areas, and to help me key in on where to hunt early season. My hopes are once we get into October and November, I will have areas to fall back on that I scouted here in the next couple weeks and then can change my game plan as I see fit based on what my hunts show me.
Conclusion: To say I've got a big challenge ahead of me is a severe understatement. Time is running out this spring to get things done, and what I accomplish in the next couple weeks could have a big impact on my success next fall.