By Bob Humphrey
Outdoorsmen and women know that pre-season scouting is an integral part of a successful hunt. While many limit their scouting time to the days and weeks leading up to opening day, more enterprising individuals never quit. For them, scouting is a year-round proposition, and often tied in to other outdoor activities. You too can work toward a more successful fall season by incorporating some off-season scouting into your summer adventures.
While you’re out fishing, think waterfowl. Puddle ducks prefer to feed in those same shallow weed beds where you cast for bass. When cruising or trolling down the river look for coves, backwaters or sloughs where ducks might feed or stage during the day. Out on the lakes and bays, those shallow reefs you avoid while boating might be prime feeding areas for divers. Even narrow strips of dense cover alongside your favorite trout stream could attract upland game birds come fall.
It’s sometimes said the best way to endure a long hike is by looking only a few steps ahead rather than far down the trail. While your eyes are trained there, you should also be looking for sign like tracks or game crossings. Observe terrain and topography to predict where certain features might funnel deer movement. In more open country, make note of brushy draws and pockets of cover that might provide daytime bedding cover.
On the Trail
Much the same applies when riding the trails on your ATV. You should always have a GPS and a topo map with you. Mark waypoints and other locations that might be worth further investigation as the season draws closer. You may also find a quicker, easier way to access un-pressured back-country areas.
These are but a few of the possibilities. The list is limited only by your own ambition and intuition. When you’re out in the field this summer focus on the task at hand, but keep an eye out for future opportunities as well.