Though hunting season may be over, that doesn’t mean the deer go into hibernation. Deer remain active all through the year, so you need to continue monitoring their behavior even after the season ends. You can monitor them with trail cameras, or by paying attention to paths in the woods you normally hunt.
Set up a Camera
Setting up trail cameras and monitoring deer behavior in the summer will help you during hunting season in the fall. If you already have an idea of where the deer are gathering, you’ll be able to go into hunting season prepared. You can immediately set up shop in heavily trafficked areas, without wasting any of the hunting season figuring it out.
Setting up a camera will also help you to record the buck to doe ratio. It is important to know what your ratio is to know what the next rut season will be like. If you have more bucks, the rut season will be wildly active, with the bucks all fighting over the few does to choose from.
Pay Attention to the Environment
Nature plays a large role in deer behavior. If the summer produces different food sources (an abundance of one food over the other) or a change in the normal habitat, deer will adjust accordingly. You need to know what kind of summer you’re having in your area to know what the deer are going to need/do in the fall. Deer are driven by their health, so they will behave according to their body and what it needs to survive.
Note areas of thick cover. Deer use thickly covered areas for everything: bedding, birthing, and safety. Pay attention to what areas are thickly covered this season. That is going to be where the deer are going to gravitate to.
Snowy days are obviously prime days for tracking, but don’t forget about rain. Excessive rain will produce mud, which will give you a crystal clear roadmap of the deer’s travel patterns.
Identifying bedding areas is crucial in more ways than one. Not only will it tell you where the deer are living, it will help you to navigate your own route. You don’t want to disturb bedding areas too frequently or the deer will become suspicious and stop coming out as often. You want to know where they are so you can avoid them when you’re not hunting.
Observing the size of the deer during the post season will show you what kind of herd you’ll be dealing with in the fall. Knowing there is a monster buck out there somewhere will allow you to plan your hunting season accordingly. You don’t want to waste out your tags on smaller bucks that won’t produce much meat when you know there are bigger deer out there somewhere. Knowing big deer are out there will make it worth the wait. It can be disheartening to be waiting in the woods not knowing if the fruits of your labor will produce anything, but monitoring deer growth will give you a goal to strive for.
There are many ways to scout in the post season. The important thing is to pay attention to trends. It is important to know what’s happening in the present in order to plan for the future. What do you like to scout in the post season?