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For the last couple years I have been archery hunting a property that has excellent potential but I am unable to see much activity. Hunting near the fields I see a couple deer here and there, but spot the fields within couple mile radius 2 hours after dark and there are many deer, anywhere from 30-50 on any given night. One of my thoughts is that the deer are living in the corn, not sure how to determine that though.

My question is.....would scouting this time of year with snow on the ground be a good indication of where the deer will be traveling next fall during archery season? Do they keep the same beds in winter? I am having trouble finding their travel routes.
 

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I use the winter/early spring to locate bedding areas, then determine which beds they use depending on wind direction. How do they access their beds? Where do they normally go to stretch their legs and/or stage? Then during the fall I will find sign in feed areas and try to guess which beds the deer are probably using. Treestand locations are predetermined the previous spring, as are access routes so as not to disturb bedded deer. Hunt each tree once or twice during archery season, more and the buck will probably figure out what you are up to.

Good luck! Post season scouting is the most rewarding time of the season,,,next to wrapping your fingers around the base of the deer's antlers upon harvest!
 

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Winter scouting will tell you how many deer are in a general area. The micro-patterns in Jan. will not be the same as Oct.
 

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My feelings are that we should let them alone during this time of year. They need all their energy to survive the winter.
 

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I do nearly all of my scouting for the next year during the winter with snow on the ground. It not only tells me what areas have the most deer but also what routes they travel when both undisturbed and when someone approaches their bedding areas. I use all of that information to my advantage then next fall. I do it while flintlock hunting and then while late season grouse hunting. But, I also winter scout when there is nothing in season.

That all changes though if the snow gets deep enough it starts forcing the deer off the ridges and plateaus. Once that happens it is best to leave the deer alone so they can conserve their energy. But, as long as they are still traveling up and down the hillsides to bed and feed all is well for winter scouting.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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I love winter scouting. Just got back from a walk. Had a grouse explode out of a snow bank and almost take my head off. Certainly got my heart beating.
Saw several groups of deer and even flushed one to a neighbor ML hunter. He missed. There weren't concentrations anywhere but there were tracks often enough to keep me on my toes.
I was also assessing possible habitat projects. Winter really shows how stark the landscape can be if there isn't suitable ground cover. It requires that you can identify trees by their bark. A woodlot of birch, ash and maple isn't going to have any acorns next year.
As far as scouting for archery, it would be great for late season archery.
 

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I'm constantly walking my hunting areas looking for sheds and sign. Heavy snow will crowd the deer together in the warmest( southern slopes) and best feeding areas. I wouldn't worry about bothering them too much, they don't go too far when a slow clumsy human goes by, the coyotes on the other hand are always harassing them.
 

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Huge neccessity for archery hunters. With the snow, it's no doubt the best time to scout potential trails and funnels even if natural movement may be skewed with hunters being in the woods so much the past month or so.
 

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It always amazes me when I follow a deer track how they find the heaviest cover and how they slip through an area. I'll hunt the same ground for years and think I have them figured out, then walk the area with snow on the ground and be amazed!!
 
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