Remote Scouting

Your students are likely to be busy professionals and may live in large cities miles from potential hunting grounds. Technology and research can help them prepare for their hunt, while saving them drive time and gas money.

Remote scouting entails using Google Earth, topographic maps, county plat maps, commercial mapping programs and other resources to “scout” for high potential hunting locations from home (or while taking a break from email at the office).

The time spent doing homework and reviewing distant locations can help your participants choose hunting locations and use their limited on-the-ground scouting time more efficiently.  The more a hunter knows about an area before he/she sets foot on it will help eliminate low probability areas and allow them to fine tune hunting strategies.

Printing internet maps or copying purchased maps gives your student an easy, inexpensive map to make notes on during on-the-ground scouting and even while hunting. A GPS unit or GPS equipped watch or cell phone can lead a hunter directly to a location discovered online may or conversely translate an exact real word location to a virtual map.

We recommend assigning a remote scouting exercise as “homework” or as group exercise as a way to reinforce these skills.

Resources

E-Scouting Tools for Hunters

Just because you know where you can hunt doesn’t mean that the area will have animals living in it. So, once you have figured out where you are allowed to legally hunt near you, the next step is to learn what areas are more and less likely to produce a successful hunt. I’m a firm believer in efficiency, and I think there’s a clear progression of scouting techniques — scaling from least to most time intensive — that can be used to find where the animals are living.

The Art of Mapping Deer - Saddles Benches and Points

Although I could write a narrative on each of the following landscape features, how they funnel deer, and how to hunt them, the most important thing to know is how to identify them on a map. With hunting season quickly approaching, scouting is likely on your agenda, and if you’re hunting the hill country, then here are some good terrain features for stand locations. Keep in mind that these areas are not always loaded with deer sign.

Art of Mapping Deer - Barriers

In my previous article, I discussed how water can act as a natural barrier, but there are many other barriers to deer movement worth discussing. The great thing about barriers is they are fairly easy to identify on a map and deer movement along barriers is very predictable. Remember, deer will skirt the edges of barriers often taking the path of least resistance from point A to point B. This makes barriers highly desirable places to hunt, especially when bucks are cruising during the rut.

Access - Best Practices Hunting Workbook

Having a place to go hunting or shooting is critical for people to participate in these activities. Surveys have consistently shown that not having a reasonably convenient place to hunt or shoot is one of the top reasons why people drop out.

For hunting, not only is having a place to go important, but having a reasonable expectation of finding the game that you are seeking is also important. Actually harvesting the game you are hunting has always been identified as a less important motivator; but having a reasonable chance to see or get a shot is important.