How to Scout Deer for the Next Season

1. Know when to start


Seemingly counterintuitive, the best time to start scouting deer is in January and February. It may seem odd that the best time to scout would be right on the heels of the previous season, but I’ll do my best to clarify.


  • Deer are still where they’ll be next hunting season, so you can easily find out where their food sources are.
  • Bare trees are easier to see through, and snow keeps good records of deer paths.


While you can always scout in the summer, deer follow different paths in that part of the year. If you’re tracking the wrong path you’ll have a pretty uneventful hunting trip next season.


2. Use technology


Google Earth is going to be a great tool for you to use to track your game. The same technology the NSA uses to invade your privacy is just as invasive for the deer that you want on your table next winter. You’ll be able to spot areas that deer often travel for food, densely wooded areas that deer use for cover, and any other frequently visited areas. You can print a map of the areas where you intend to hunt and highlight them, making it easier to find your prey. If you set yourself up where the deer are going to be they’ll come straight to you.


3. Get a Little Closer

Doing some snooping from afar is very beneficial, but if you’re going to be hunting in a specific area you need to check it out in person. Look for tracks or paths left by deer. Take note of plants that have been nibbled on. Check nearby streams for tracks. If you see a deer, remember where it was; it’ll probably be there again. Once you’ve found multiple signs of deer in one area, look for a good tree nearby to place a tree stand. Take into consideration that you need to be able to enter and exit the stand without alerting any deer that may be nearby. Before prepping the area, leave a trail cam in that spot to make sure the deer you’re after are actually moving to and through this spot regularly.


4. Find Multiple Locations

As much as we would like them to, deer don’t hang around in one spot all year long. Because food sources change throughout the year, deer graze different areas to eat whatever plant, nut, or berry that’s in season. Inconveniently, these foods don’t all grow in the same spot, so it will be worth your time to scope out multiple spots ahead of time if you plan to find your prey at different times of the season.


Deer Hunting Tips | Big Buck Bounty | Mississippi and Alabama 


Scouting out your prey gives you a huge advantage during your upcoming hunt. Whether you’ve been scouting for years or are learning for the first time, it’s helpful to refresh your memory and see what others suggest. Discover the best hunting tips from experts in the field! Join the Big Buck Bounty newsletter and take a look at some prize-winning bucks found on private and public lands over the years. Browse public hunting lands in Mississippi and Alabama and see if your buck lands in the trophy room!