Q: What time of the year do you do your scouting?
A: I’m scouting the entire year. From shed hunting in late winter and early spring to my time working up food plots throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. I do spend more time afield late summer and early fall just for the purpose of locating deer movement and determining which deer are using a particular area.
Q: Do you use trail cameras to help you scout?
A: I’m utilizing scouting cameras from mid-summer through the entire deer season. I am able to learn so much from these tools, which deer are using my hunting areas, what times they are moving, and their travel directions.
Q: Do you use food plots or other food type attractants?
A: I use a variety of food plots on my hunting property, from greens to grains. I want enough food plots and enough variety of crops in these plots to keep the deer using my hunting ground throughout the entire year. I also know that the work I put in on my plots is going to make the overall deer herd healthier.
Q: How do you hunt big bucks before the rut and early in the bow season?
A: During the early bow season, I want to put my efforts into patterning a big buck’s feeding habits. Setting up between his bedding area and where he is feeding is key when their minds are on their bellies and not on the does.
Q: How do you hunt scrapes during the pre-rut?
A: I look for scrape lines – groups of scrapes along a travel corridor. This is an area that I need to pay attention to.
Q: Do you use scent control products?
A: I use scent control sprays, clothing, and keep myself as scent free as possible. I don’t believe that I can keep myself completely scent free, but I do believe in controlling as much of it as possible to give me a few more seconds when that big boy shows up down wind.
Q: How important is wind direction when deciding where to hunt?
A: Wind direction is key to stand placement. I will not hunt a stand unless the wind is perfect. You can beat a deer’s eyes and ears but you can’t beat his nose.
Q: Do you use attractant scents?
A: I don’t worry too much about attractant scents until we start getting into the rut phases of the hunt. Once I’m in these phases, I mainly use drags with estrous doe urine and often use a buck urine drag with it. Once I get to my stand, area I leave these drags downwind of my stand. When I use these drags I pay special attention to wind direction and look to cross several travel corridors where a buck might pick up the scent I have left.
Q: Do you use calls? If so, which ones and how much?
A: I always take a grunt call, an estrous bleat call, and a snort wheeze when I’m hunting. As I get closer to the rut, I also take a rattle bag with me. My rattle sequences last about a minute and I wait anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes before I do another sequence.
Q: What is your favorite time of the hunting season to hunt?
A: My favorite time to be in the deer woods is the pre-rut into rut, when the bucks are cruising for does and deer seem to be moving all day long. Can’t beat it!
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