Spring Scouting for Fall Success

Knowing where a buck spends most of his time is the biggest challenge to harvesting him.  If you wait until fall to locate a buck, you risk bumping him if you enter his bedding area.  In the spring, however, bumping a buck has fewer consequences, and you can also take your time to pick through each bedding area.  We had excellent weather here in Minnesota this weekend, so I decided to take a walk through the woods.  I found plenty of deer signs and even found one small shed antler.

I have two places to plant food plots next year and I really wanted to see which of the bedding areas had the most activity as well as determine the routes to and from the food sources.  I also found out that I did not plan accordingly for the amount of food left for the deer to consume over the winter.  I was planning on feeding Supplement 365 but I’m in a county where feeding was recently banned, so now I’m left with no options for supplementing the herd.  It’s like the “nutritional rug” has been pulled out from underneath my herd.  Below is a picture of the small patch of beans left on the property.  There wasn’t a single bean pod left and it looks like it has been that way for several weeks.  I will use adaptive management to increase available food next year, as well as harvest more does, but that still doesn’t change my situation right now.

I did find a lot of rubs along one edge of a field, and the rub line extended back into the woods where I found a lot of large beds.  I now have a better idea of how at least one mature buck is moving around the property.  What I will do next is find a tree along the edge of my food plot that makes sense for the prevailing west wind.  I will also cut a few shooting lanes this spring that the buck will already be accustom to when the fall season arrives.  Planning ahead and getting work done in the spring will pay off in a major way for when that buck is doing the same routine in the fall.

-Tim Neuman, Wildlife Biologist

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