Harvesting big bucks in your home state consistently can be tough, but doing it out of state can be a real challenge! It’s next to impossible to scout anywhere like you can at home, but when you combine todays technology with a smart scouting plan, you can increase your chances drastically! Theres no doubt, I have always had my best success at home when it comes to getting a crack at a big dominant buck, but through trial and error I have managed to come up with a few tactics that can help you be more successful on your next out of state hunt. On any given year, I will normally hunt 5 or 6 states, this year a few more, and it takes detailed planning along with some strategic scouting trips to make the most of my season.
One thing that has helped me drastically when it comes to figuring out pieces of property over the years are return trips to the same areas. I’ve been fortunate to meet some great people over the years and hunt many different pieces of property, some good some bad. Once I find a great spot, I stick with it! The experiences and information I’ve gathered over the years on these particular farms is invaluable to my success. Over the seasons I’ve learned where the preferred bedding areas are, the best rut spots, even tracts that normally hold deer during late season, the kind of info you cant get from topos and aerial maps.
Something else that can make a huge difference is knowing what time of the year you are going to hunt an area, and direct your scouting accordingly. If you are planning on hunting Illinois during the peak of the rut, you need to concentrate on locating major doe concentrations and connecting areas or pinch points, your not going to help yourself by scouting rub lines. Likewise, If your planning to hunt the opener, you need to concentrate on early season food sources, water holes and rubs, not the local doe herd. It’s all relative, give it some thought and scout accordingly.
When you scout will have a direct impact on what you see also! I’m getting ready for a mid summer scouting trip to Indiana and Illinois, and just like during season, I will plan my trip according to the moon guide! I mentioned it in the last couple columns, I hunt according to the moon and the chart I get from moonguide.com, it has played a major role in my success during season and while I’m scouting in the summer. Giant bucks don’t like to be seen, even in July and August, but there are certain days when the moon will pull them out in the fields before dark, those are the days I want to be scouting out of state, not during a lower percentage period like a full moon!
Last but not least, are trail cameras! If your fortunate enough to be allowed to put in food plots or mineral licks on the out of state property you hunt, you have to monitor them with trail cameras! Standard cameras can be there when your not, gathering intel for you 24/7, and with the new technology available on cameras that can transmit pictures to you wirelessly, you can keep tabs on the buck your after from the comfort of your own home, hundreds or even thousands of miles away!