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Posted on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

Scouting for a successful 2013 deer hunting season

By Rick Taylor


Rick Taylor | Contributor

It’s that time of year to get your trail camera’s, tree trimming saw and head into your favorite hunting locations in preparation for the bow hunting season coming up on Oct. 1. Can you believe its only five weeks away? I don’t know about you but I’ve been lazy by simply trusting my tree stand as the best hunting location without really looking around to see if deer travel patterns have changed.

So, one very effective way to ensure a successful hunting season is to invest in a quality trail camera for each hunting location you frequent. I’ve tried to save money and buy lower cost camera’s but they always seem to break a few months after the warranty expires. I just purchased two trail cameras that cost about $130 each. It’s hard to believe the technology within these cameras of today but they’re certainly worth the money.

These motion detection cameras can digitally take video or eight-megapixel pictures of the game that walks close enough to trip the motion sensor without the animal knowing its picture was ever taken.

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This monster 170 class buck was captured by a trail camera last fall and he's still out there. Hopefully my new trail camera will determine if he's still out there.

Rick Taylor | Contributor

So, why is a trail camera so important? The camera illustrates the number of bucks and does in your hunting area. You’ll find out whether or not that huge buck is hanging around your hunting spot or not.

I’m a firm believer that a successful hunter must have at least three or four hunting locations — period. Hunting the same location over and over again will greatly reduce your chances of harvesting an animal.

I personally own six trail cameras, and I’ve put most of them out yesterday in the hopes of seeing what’s out there. First and foremost I’m a meat hunter, so shooting a doe right away is important to me to fill up my freezer.

I’ll use the data I’ve collected from my trail cameras to determine which hunting location has a high doe population and hunt there to get my first deer. I’ll then hunt for that monster buck from the pictures I’ve collected on my trail cameras.

But, effective scouting goes far beyond setting up trail cameras. Studying prevailing winds and “playing the wind” is arguably the most important factor in deer hunting. Of course, you have to have deer in the area your hunting but ignoring the wind will get you nowhere.

Utilizing a tree stand is arguably the most effective way to hunt because you're 15-22 feet in the air, and you have a sight advantage by seeing the deer long before they see you. But, deer are smart and know to look up during the hunting season. So, be smart and don’t cut every limb around you. You’ll look like a neon sign, especially during the rut when all the leaves have fallen. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it so just learn from it.

Baiting is legal but some don’t like the notion of baiting. Some say baiting is for lazy people who don’t scout hard enough to find a great spot. Others say baiting is the only effective way to bring deer into an area that they may not otherwise frequent because the terrain doesn’t allow it. My son took his first deer last fall over bait allowing him time to make a clean and ethical shot.

So, get out there with your cameras, bait or no bait, trimming saw and find 3-4 hunting locations to hunt this fall. Don’t be afraid to walk around and get outside your comfort (lazy) zone, you might just surprise yourself. Finally, keep safe by utilizing a safety harness! You owe it to yourself and family to come home alive.

Rick Taylor warmly welcomes your comments and story ideas. Feel free to contact him at .


Rork Kuick

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Maybe $1000 of cameras isn't part of a tradition I want to participate in. More technology can help, sure, but is it really where you want to go? (Aldo Leopold discusses it.) If you never use the same tree twice, baiting makes little sense. Instead try leaving no indication that you are (or were) there, be flexible about which tree you will use on any day, and understand what the deer are eating at that time. There's bait enough out there already. For example try and learn the differences between our various oaks, and which ones are hot this year. It's kinda old-fashioned I admit. Knowledge can be useful, inexpensive, and light-weight. And it's an adornment.

Jim Pryce

Wed, Aug 21, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

It's getting close - saw a deer in the field tonight over the hill after walking out of the chicken coop. Teaching Hunter Ed. this weekend, as well as 2 weekends in September. I'll even have an October class to do. My favorite time of the year.