By: Justin Hunold @jshunold
Brad had seen the deer cruising across the down slope during a bow hunt. He believed him to be bedding in that area. So, on our hands and knees in the summer heat, soaked in sweat and Deepwoods Off, we were beginning to understand why this public land buck decided to bed on this hillside. We found one of his beds, two trails leading to it. He could see everything below him and smell anything above him, and it was as thick as the Jungle in Predator. There has to be a way.
When we scout for hunting seasons it can take many forms. Roadside glassing, hiking trails, trail cams, observational sits, history with an area, e-scouting and many more. For this section let’s concentrate on Public Land scouting for a bit. I like to start with a bit of E-scouting using one of the assundry of hunting map apps available. I initially try to find public ground that seems to be small or have limited access. From there I look at the features of the land. We all have our favorite features, be it ridges, swamps, hills, fields. I tend to look for swamps and ridges. I use the satellite view to find inside corners, breaks in timber, or any sort of visible cover change. I generally try to find these features as far from a parking area or road as possible. From there I will lay the topo feature down over the map and find changes to my liking. I put way points in when a few of these listed features come together.
After this I will go to these places and put boots on the ground. I want to see understory, canopy cover, deer trails, changes from one tree type to another, scat, browse, and all of the obvious signs like rubs and scrapes. I then eliminate my predetermined spots one by one if they don’t have the sign I would like to see as it relates to that particular type of terrain. I even do this during the season. In 2019 I hunted for a week in Ohio, I had never been there so I spent almost all of my first three days scouting….in November.
We have previously written about the versatility of hunting from a Trophyline Tree Saddle and this is where we will state it again: just about any tree will work to saddle hunt out of. When I am scouting I will look for the best saddle tree in the area but it is not the stand alone reason for choosing a spot.
If you are lucky enough to have access to private land where you are allowed to trim and prep trees, a Trophyline Tree Saddle will quickly become your best friend. I would still do the same steps as above, after that I would find the best tree for the area or spot I wanted to hunt and I would install permanent steps or sticks and install screw-in steps as a ring of steps on each determined tree. Then I would trim and arrange smaller trees and other logs to change and funnel the direction of travel into very specific pinch points. I would run cameras year round letting them soak in an area for months.
Speaking of cameras on public land, you can use your Trophyline with the Lineman's belt and one stick to get your camera out of the theft zone. I let cameras soak for as long as possible on public land and count on my elevation strategy to keep them safe. I don’t like to add any undue pressure to public land deer. Or any game for that matter.
After we found that bed we backtracked out and followed our assumed path of travel for the buck. On the opening day of gun season Brad was on that path of travel about 400 yards away when he was putting his tag on that buck.
About the Author: Justin Hunold is a father, Spouse, entrepreneur and passionate outdoorsman. He enjoys sharing his passion for the outdoors through Answer-Outdoors.com and the Answer Outdoors YouTube channel. Justin forged a relationship with Trophyline prior to the launch in 2019. What brought him to the brand was the outstanding customer service and relationship to the hunting community that Trophyline prioritizes. You can follow him @jshunold on Instagram.