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  • End of Season Scouting PT.1 - #5 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. Clint Casper

    February 02, 2023 5 min read

    End of Season Scouting PT.1 - #5 “CALCULATED KILLER” FT. Clint Casper

    Post Season Scouting for Deer PT.1

    By: Clint Casper

    For some, the day after deer seasons close for good, means that hunting season has ended and a state of depression and misery will soon set in. BUT, for other hunters out there; this is THE BEGINNING of a NEW season, filled with GOALS, DREAMS, AMBITIONS AND new found, ENERGY!

    For myself, this is a very crucial time to be a big buck hunter, because of all of the fresh clues that are left behind from the previous fall and winter! During this time frame, I am as busy as ever, putting in the finer detailed work, that will hopefully pay off in seven, or eight months! NO, I am not immediately jumping to shed hunting, but first I am going to piece together the unsolved mysteries from this past year, before I start looking for fallen treasures!

    Forget the Sheds For Now

    I get it AND I admit it, I’m as addicted to sheds as it gets, but right after the season closes this is NOT my main concern just yet! Right now, my main concern is seeing what bucks have made it through the season (most will still be packing their antlers) and where they are calling home currently!

     In my opinion, there is NO better time, than right NOW, to figure out where a mature buck likes to call his safest “home”! What I mean by this is that at the end of the season, a mature buck has been hunted for months on end at this point and will now be bedding in his most safe spots! As a big buck hunter, I want to find these bedding areas right now and figure out how a buck uses them! By moving trail cameras to these spots and by putting boots on the ground, without worry of bumping the buck and ruining hunts, since the season is now eight months away.

     Why I say, “forget the sheds for now” is because I want to have my eyes focused on the BIG picture and not just scanning the ground for antlers! Instead of looking for a tine, or a piece of shiny antler, I want my eyes focused on rubs, scrapes, oak trees, apple trees, agricultural fields and the lay of the land! So for now, forget the antlers and focus on the pieces to the puzzle that unlock the owner of these antlers!

    Leave No Stone Unturned

    I love this time of the year for whitetails, because I have a very aggressive mindset and can now get away with it! During the hunting season, I stay very mobile and move a lot! I would call my hunting style very “calculated and unpredictable” but that doesn’t mean I throw caution to the wind! I’m still very sensitive to certain bedding areas and transition zones that are hard to, or almost impossible to get into without bumping a lot of deer!

     During this end of season scouting, I’m now able to throw caution to the wind, LITERALLY and go into these spots with a “guns a blazing” attitude! I’ll crawl into doe thickets and bedding areas and spend a lot of time looking over every detail. I like to mark beds, rubs, scrapes and trails! I especially want to take note of the entry and exit trails into these spots, as these are fantastic spots to hunt during the rut! I also pay particular attention to the trails paralleling these bedding areas on the downwind side, which bucks will use during the rut to check for estrous does! I try to “think like a deer” as much as possible when I’m in these areas, to better help me understand deer movement.

     Both buck and doe bedding areas can now be scouted and give a bowhunter a ton of valuable information without worry of bumping, or educating deer! I also like to do the same exact thing with food sources like oak ridges, apple or crabapple patches, inside corners of agricultural fields and green briar thickets on south facing slopes close to bedding. All of these spots will have deer in and around them during most of the season, so after season is a great time to dive into these spots to really pick apart how deer are using these areas by the sign left behind.

     I also use this time to move stands, tear stands down and prep spots that I know need more work! Maybe I need to cut more shooting lanes in a proven rut spot, or I need to move an oak flat stand to the other side of the ridge, based on what I saw in the fall etc. Regardless, now is the PERFECT time to get these jobs done and out of the way before warmer temperatures and green growth hides all of the signs left behind.

    Trail Camera Craze

    I see a LOT of guys during this time of the year taking all of their cameras down and I’ve never understood why? I put more cameras out now than maybe ever before! Why you ask? Well let’s jump into it!

    For one, and the most obvious reason, I want to see what bucks are still alive and around my hunting areas. I want to pay particular attention to the areas they are in, in relevance to the wind directions that they are using! Write these things down! I cannot stress how important it is to figure out the winds that a particular buck likes to use to his benefit! This will come in handy later on in the year! My plan for these cameras are obvious feeding areas and trails leading to well known bedding areas. Also, pay attention to what the does are doing as well! This could unlock clues to how they use certain bedding areas and that’s a great piece to the rut puzzle in that area.

    The second reason I love to run cameras during this time of the year is to dive DEEPER into areas that I don’t know much about, or invade during the actual hunting season. Some spots that I have, have no service for cell cameras and I don’t want to risk intruding into with a regular camera during the season due to having to check it in order to see what’s on the card. This makes these spots extremely difficult to understand and figure out, BUT during this time of the year I can get aggressive! I’ll take cameras into these spots and run them for a few months, without worry of bumping and intruding deer. What this camera strategy allows me to do is to better understand how the local deer herds are using these areas that are almost impossible to hunt!

    To me, understanding how deer travel to and from these unhuntable areas and by coordinating that with wind direction and weather fronts etc I can predict when these spots will hold deer and that changes the game for me, as a bowhunter! Unlocking clues, to spots that we don’t enter during hunting season, is invaluable information to patterning certain bucks and or local doe groups. To me, these cameras in these spots are like my “undercover agents” giving me the heads up on how deer use and live in and around these areas. And I can do this without worry of intrusion!

    ABOUT: Clint Casper is a calculated straight up big buck killer, host of the CC Hunt Files with Working Class Bowhunters, and long term outdoor/hunting writer. He just recently added this Mobile Venatic column to his long resume! Clint is easing into saddle hunting...listen here

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