Scouting While Stand Hunting

Stand hunting is most effective when preceded by scouting for sites currently frequented by desirable quarries. Without scouting, you’re just guessing where to hunt, relying on luck only and not much of that. While scouting and selecting and preparing stand sites 2–3 weeks before a hunting season begins, no precautions are necessary to avoid alarming whitetails. By opening day, all deer will be back in their home ranges doing predictable things during predictable hours at predictable places.

While scouting for fresh deer signs during a hunting season — next places to hunt — certain precautions are necessary to avoid alarming whitetails, thus keeping them from abandoning their ranges or becoming nocturnal. While scouting at this time, the hunter must appear harmless, predictable and easy to avoid. This is done by walking non-stop along selected deer trails at a moderate pace (without regard for wind direction or sounds made) and keeping your head pointed straight ahead (eyes assessing deer signs on the fly along the trail ahead), the hunter acting as if only interested in reaching some far off destination (an effective deer hunting ruse regularly used by grey wolves). The moment you begin displaying hunting behavior while scouting at this time — suddenly halting to stare at something or visually scan the surrounding area, kneeling to inspect or measure tracks or droppings, slowing your pace, sneaking and often haltng or suddenly or often changing direction — any unseen deer that sees and/or hears you doing this will soon abandon the area and not return for several days or the balance of the hunting season, meaning, you’ve cancelled the hunting value of fresh deer signs found within 100–200 yards.

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