By Alex Comstock
As I sit here and type this, I keep glancing out of my bedroom window. I can hardly see anything at all because of how much snow we've got right now. Northern Minnesota can present its challenges when it comes to spring scouting, simply because our spring is so short. So while I'm dreaming about scouting, here's a few things to love about it while you're out collecting information for next deer season.
1. There's Always Something To Learn
If you ever meet somebody that tells you they know everything there is to know about deer, just know they're wrong. What makes me love deer hunting so much in general is the fact that there is ALWAYS something to learn. And the best time to be learning is in the "off-season" while scouting. I read a ton, and listen/watch a lot of content from very successful deer hunters. The common theme with about 95% of them? Scouting > hunting. It's almost too simple of a concept. You scout a s*** ton, and it usually pays off the following fall. And if it doesn't pay off that next season? Well then you get those boots on after the year is done, and do it all over again. But here's the part I really love. If that scouting did pay off and you do harvest a buck or multiple bucks, that doesn't mean you chalk it up as a W, and not scout the following off-season. Regardless of whether or not you fill a tag, you scout and scout some more. Because there is always something you can learn.
2. You Can Walk a Property Care Free
I know some people's hunting styles are different, but for me, I'm always so paranoid if I'm messing stuff up during the hunting season. "Did my wind screw me up?" "Should I have used the other access route to get to my stand?" "Hopefully I didn't bust anything on the way out of the tree." These are just some common thoughts running through my head during the fall.
When it comes to scouting, I love that I can walk without worry. I can dive right in to the bedding areas, literally squat in a buck bed, walk the travel routes from food to bed, etc. all without worrying about messing anything up. It's really the one time of year all of the worries that come with deer hunting can go out the window. Deer won't be hunted for 7-8 months, and you won't affect them. With that, this is the time of year you must capitalize on that notion. If there's something you're wondering about when it comes to a property, or something you've been itching to get a look at, now is the time to do it.
3. It Gets You Excited For Next Season
Every spring while I'm out walking in the timber, it just creates a feeling inside of me that is almost indescribable. It's like I get so pumped for deer season to be here, yet I know I have so much to do before fall. But when it gets down to it, I just get excited. All hopes and dreams are still alive for the following season. Thoughts of velvet bucks, the rut, frosty mornings in a treestand, and squeezing that release on a deer all float through my head. I don't really think of the year as having a season and an off-season, as much I consider it more of a year round lifestyle. Regardless, while you're out in the next month or two scouting, odds are you'll get pretty excited for the calendar to flip to September or October.
Between now and green up is a very important time in the deer hunting calendar. This time of year is your platform or base and from here until next season, you'll be building on whatever platform you create. Hopefully you're having fun and loving being out there at the same time!