In this Update From The Field we are continuing our last minute scouting of several public land locations. We will be hunting in two locations this fall. One in the northeast part of the state and the other in the southern part of the state. This update will focus on our southern public land location. An update on the northeast site will come in the next week or so.
The property we are scouting in the southern part of state is completely new to us. We have never seen it before or scouted it. So the first thing we did was use aerial photos to pinpoint spots we wanted to look at. The first thing that stood out to us was the accessibility of some of the locations on this property. This location is fairly large for public land sites in Nebraska and has only two access points that take you into the property. So there is a significant amount of property that is very hard to get too. THESE ARE THE LOCATIONS YOU WANT TO LOOK AT. You want to find a way into the spots that other people can’t or won’t get too. Another aspect of this property that is important to look at when using aerial photos is its proximity to food. We are very close to food sources on almost all sides. So we combined the aspects of both food and hunting pressure to determine a few spots to look at. Food will determine the direction of deer movement throughout much of the hunting season and hunting pressure will determine what time of day they are moving. So if we can understand those two things as much as possible we can greatly increase our odds of seeing and killing a mature buck.
So after we found two or three locations that looked interesting we made the trip to the public land site and put boots on the ground. We didn’t waste any time looking around, but headed right to the first spot we had marked on the aerial photos. This spot looked good initially. We had a corn field that bordered a soybean field. A perfect spot for the early season and throughout the fall as food sources change. This spot also had lots of cover as the both the timbered area and corn field provided sufficient protection. The only downside, someone else thought it was a good spot too. Spot one was no good.
We had several other possible stand locations in this same area, places that bordered some 90 degree corners that the field made into the wooded areas, but these areas were also already being hunted. This small area that we looked at had a total of four stands in it. There was no use looking around farther because the hunting pressure would be too high in this area. So we moved on to the other side of the property to look at some other possible stand locations.
This next location was very similar to the setup of the first spot. It was a supposedly hard to get to spot that bordered a very secluded soybean field. But it didn’t take us long to find out that this area had even more hunting pressure then the first spot did. Bordering this soybean field was six or seven stands, all on the field edge overlooking the beans. I have said it before and I will say it again, “It isn’t public land if it doesn’t throw you a couple curveballs.” Needless to say, we didn’t find a stand location in this area.
Because of all the unexpected hunting pressure we left the property that day with a plan to relook at the aerial photos and come back after we had found a few new possible stand locations. It’s important in a situation like this to not just throw a couple stands up. We went into that day hoping to put stands up, but the circumstances changed. We could have hung stands in a poor location or in an area we weren’t happy with, but that would do us no good. Don’t just hang stands because that was the objective for the day. Hang stands with a purpose!!! If you have scouted enough and answered enough questions and feel comfortable with the spot, hang the stand. If you still have unanswered questions or the spot just doesn’t feel right, wait to hang your stands.
We had only a limited amount of area left to look at. So we decided to focus on the stream that runs through the property. A portion of it is dried up and borders the portion that is still flowing and it also has a wooded area running next to it on all sides. A perfect location for bucks to run the river during the rut, scent checking the wooded areas. Also the dried up river and the vegetation that is now growing in it provides excellent bedding cover for does. We found this out when we scouted it and pumped into two does that were bedded in the thick grass. After seeing these two does and scouting around a little more we decide to hang a stand just of the edge of the woods overlooking both the dry stream bed and the stream that is currently flowing with water. We chose this stand for four reasons. The first reason was minimal hunting pressure. This was the only location we found that didn’t have any other stands near it and on public land hunting pressure is everything. Second, this location allowed for a large range of sight. We still don’t know exactly how deer are using this property. So a setup that allows us to view multiple travel routes at once is important. Third, we saw deer there. We scout crop fields to find deer and if we see them there we almost always hang a stand overlooking that field. Wooded areas are no different. If you are scouting deer and bump a few deer, take note of the location. The deer are using it for a reason. The fourth and final reason we chose this spot was because it overlooked trails that bucks will be running during the rut.
If you remember from the last update we were still on the fence as to which location we wanted to hunt. After looking this property over and finally finding a place to hang a few stands, this location will be one of the hunting sites for this fall.
We have plans over the next week or so before the season opens to scout the soybean fields that surround this property in the evenings to see what deer are using this area.