How Do You Define A Successful Scouting Trip?

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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The thread on not seeing many deer on a scouting trip got me thinking. How do you go about defining a successful scouting trip? Is it the number of deer seen? Is it the sheer number of bucks?

And go!
 

go_deep

Veteran member
Nov 30, 2014
1,674
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Wyoming
If my truck doesn't burn to the ground, and I don't die, its a success! Lol

In all seriousness my friend came out deer hunting in Wyoming last year, I prescouted the area 4 different days in the summer. Purely to identify quality glassing spots for different wind directions, and sunrise, sunset to have the sun at our backs. Seen a few deer while doing that, but cared less about if we saw any shooters.
He was able to shoot a 5 1/2 year old buck, aged by a biologist on the second morning.

The farther from your hunt date you are the less I'd be concerned about numbers or size of bucks and just figuring out the lay of the land.
 
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archeranthony

Active Member
Dec 10, 2018
280
92
Texas
I don’t have any experience scouting out west, as this is my first year hunting out west and i don’t have any time to scout. I have plenty of WT scouting experience. I always just looked for good sign and good cover for the animals and something I can get to without spooking the animals. If I can find those than that’s good enough for me. All my scouting for this years Colorado hunt as been on ONX we will see if that pays off in about 6 weeks
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
3,490
159
Gypsum, Co
Scouting trips isn't all about the animals but finding new country and learning about it.

My brother in law has a hunt this year in Colorado where scouting for animal is a waste of time until they move into the area any time from the middle of September to the hunt in October. It is a migratory hunt and there are very few animals in the area before then. So when we go out there we will learn the lay of the land, where the roads go along with where the vantage points are for glassing along with a good camping spot.

This will be a very successful scouting trip.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
5,542
203
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If my truck doesn't burn to the ground, and I don't die, its a success! Lol

In all seriousness my friend came out deer hunting in Wyoming last year, I prescouted the area 4 different days in the summer. Purely to identify quality glassing spots for different wind directions, and sunrise, sunset to have the sun at our backs. Seen a few deer while doing that, but cared less about if we saw any shooters.
He was able to shoot a 5 1/2 year old buck, aged by a biologist on the second morning.

The farther from your hunt date you are the less I'd be concerned about numbers or size of bucks and just figuring out the lay of the land.
Yes, the truck not burning down is a good thing!
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
5,542
203
www.eastmans.com
Scouting trips isn't all about the animals but finding new country and learning about it.

My brother in law has a hunt this year in Colorado where scouting for animal is a waste of time until they move into the area any time from the middle of September to the hunt in October. It is a migratory hunt and there are very few animals in the area before then. So when we go out there we will learn the lay of the land, where the roads go along with where the vantage points are for glassing along with a good camping spot.

This will be a very successful scouting trip.
Agree, that is a great plan for a migration hunt!
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
151
13
Colorado
Scouting trips isn't all about the animals but finding new country and learning about it.
This. Scouting isn't just about actually seeing animals. If you scout on a hot summer day for a late-season deer hunt they may just not be where you are... yet. Half my scouting trips are about making sure I have access, parking, good places to camp, good hiking routes to features where I want to hunt with alternative approaches if the wind changes, places to glass from, water, etc. Seeing actual animals is just a bonus.

To be honest I almost prefer not to. The less pressure on them the better. I don't want to do anything that might push them off their patterns, especially with deer...
 

Timr245

Active Member
Jul 21, 2016
381
121
Northcentral PA
This. Scouting isn't just about actually seeing animals. If you scout on a hot summer day for a late-season deer hunt they may just not be where you are... yet. Half my scouting trips are about making sure I have access, parking, good places to camp, good hiking routes to features where I want to hunt with alternative approaches if the wind changes, places to glass from, water, etc. Seeing actual animals is just a bonus.

To be honest I almost prefer not to. The less pressure on them the better. I don't want to do anything that might push them off their patterns, especially with deer...
Yep. Exactly what I’ll be doing. When you travel 1800 miles 1-way and find your roads to be inaccessible, even with a plan B, C & D its a bummer.
 
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ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
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Feb 3, 2014
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Truck bed full of Beer can's Multiple Bucks sited.(Maybe just
one ).Try covering one eye....Don't Forget The Ice!!Dang It! :cool:
Works best to put a patch over the eye that you look through the spotter with...that way after all those emptying all those cans you don't smash your eye on the lens. :LOL:
 

Joseph

Active Member
Jan 25, 2014
175
25
Creston BC Canada
If it’s a new area finding the trailhead(if one exists), the best way in, water/camping spot(maybe stash some firewood),glassing areas, just learn the lay of the land. Of course look for deer and sign. If it’s a known spot I’ll cut firewood and just have a wander about. I really like to have the firewood out of the way. I stay cleaner and don’t have to waste a lot of energy and time. Not to mention the noise of cutting firewood.
 
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mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
1,688
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A successful scouting trip to me is figuring out how to navigate a unit without having to break out a map. If your breaking out your map when you are hunting you are burning precious hunting time. Let the other guys do that while your out hunting.

I hardly ever break out a map if I am hunting from my truck. I drive park to where I already know I am going to hunt from park (Unless someone else is there already, which rarely happens) and get after it. Nothing worse that wasting time driving because you didn't knwo where you were going and made a wrong turn.

I do almost all of my scouting online and I rarely set foot in a unit before I hunt it. I already have a plan devised before I hit the ground. Unless there is an extreme amount of pressure, I normally get into the game pretty quickly.

I simply cannot afford scouting trips out west both financially and as far as having enough vacation time. Sometimes I go a day or two early but I try to stay in the truck and get the "navigation to the parking spot" part out of the way during that timeframe.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
I don't do a lot of online looking at an area I'm going to hunt. I look at Google Earth and get a little perspective as to terrain. Nothing beats rubber on the gravel and boots in the dirt. I'll look for things you can't see easily, old scat, old beds and trails to & from water sources. I hunted an antelope unit here in south central Colorado a few years ago and found out some things for a future elk hunt that you couldn't get unless you were there and then asked a warden or biologist some specific questions. Hunted at 9500" elevation in sage brush country edging to timber. Quite a few antelope and it went well. What I did notice was old elk scat everywhere. The Warden who stopped by my camp to chat about my hunt told me that it was prime winter habitat for a ton of elk. I'll be hunting it in a year or so and won't have to do much but apply and hope for snow.
 

257Roberts

New Member
Aug 14, 2017
14
6
For me its kinda like what Mallardsx2 said. getting the logistics figured out. Looking at a road on Google earth or even on X doesn't mean you can go down it . I hunted a new area last year. Made a quick run in August found I wasn't able to get to the camping spot I chose on a map. Also a rancher told me I could open a wire gate as long as I closed it back....and take a short cut across their property . Those 2 items saved at least half a day. Expectations may be different if your looking for a specific trophy.
 
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dirtclod Az.

Veteran member
Jan 26, 2018
1,101
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Arizona
ScottR
Works best to put a patch over the eye that you look through the spotter with...that way after all those emptying all those cans you don't smash your eye on the lens. :LOL:

I had "scope eye" one time,but never with a spotting scope!
Thats a new one ,even for me!
 

muleyfool

Member
Jun 7, 2018
105
14
A successful scouting trip is getting outdoors with the kids and friends.
Seeing animals is a plus but not necessary. Being out in the field and the anticipation of the hunt is the real rush.
That being said It's always helpful to know how the critters use an area ie. migratory or resident herds.
90% of the time I'm hunting familiar ground. Usually just bounce around different canyons till I find something I'd go after.
If that doesn't pan out I take in the views and have a good time learning new areas and hope to stumble across animals.
When hunting new units with a lot of pressure I'll scout from vantage points prior to the season and keep in mind when the hunting starts I'm gonna be as far from the road as possible.
 
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mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,066
17
midwest
My scouting trip where I didnt see much worried me after the game and fish told me that the deer herd was not migratory. It worries me much less after learning it is migratory from past tag holders. I learned a lot of country, glassing points, and access roads. It really helped having spent time in the unit when I talked to past tag holders too. Its so much easier for me to mentally follow what they are talking having seen the unit than going just from a map. At this point I’d call my trip a definite success.
 
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mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,066
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midwest
A successful scouting trip to me is figuring out how to navigate a unit without having to break out a map. If your breaking out your map when you are hunting you are burning precious hunting time. Let the other guys do that while your out hunting.

I hardly ever break out a map if I am hunting from my truck. I drive park to where I already know I am going to hunt from park (Unless someone else is there already, which rarely happens) and get after it. Nothing worse that wasting time driving because you didn't knwo where you were going and made a wrong turn.

I do almost all of my scouting online and I rarely set foot in a unit before I hunt it. I already have a plan devised before I hit the ground. Unless there is an extreme amount of pressure, I normally get into the game pretty quickly.

I simply cannot afford scouting trips out west both financially and as far as having enough vacation time. Sometimes I go a day or two early but I try to stay in the truck and get the "navigation to the parking spot" part out of the way during that timeframe.
Hunting season falls somewhere between weaning calves and bringing cows home from pasture for us depending on the year or species. I can get away for a few days now much easier than I can add days to my hunting trip scouting before the season. I agree on learning the unit and not having to stop for the map all the time, that is a definite plus. I'm not the best at scouting from maps or online yet though. I do it but the country always seems different when I get there. I sure like seeing the country this time of year and then the maps make more sense to me, I can start really narrowing down areas and eliminating others. It's all about making the best use of the time and resources you have available I guess.
 
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