Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
deerhead

Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.

 

Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Get out and scout!

March 15, 2009 at 05:20 PM

So you think the season is over? Hardly. Now is the very time you need to scout for the upcoming deer season!

Here is an opportunity that many hunters miss. If you are a die hard deer hunter like myself, don’t miss this great opportunity to get out of the house and do some serious scouting. I usually start my Fall scouting in January! What you see now, is most likely what you’ll see in early October. Why? Because the rut is over and deer are back in to their routine. Routine is much easier to gauge than luck.

Early season bucks are just as habitual as does before the rut. They only get goofy when the rut begins, which is when they begin their wandering. Other than that, they like to stay close to home. If you find where they sleep now, you now can find a place in your home where to hang the rack. Hunting a home bodied buck is like waiting for your kids to get off of the school bus at 4:15…you’ll have a good idea when to be there! During the rut, it gets a whole lot trickier. Granted you may not be able to see antlered deer at this time of the year, if you scout carefully, you’ll be able to tell the difference. Not too many huge does with holes in their heads in March. You can always check your homework in a couple of months to see if your targeted animal has grown bone and if not, look for another big boy. FYI, yes, this article is for those who are interested in looking for trophy bucks and not for those who state: “You can’t eat the antlers”. Although that statement is true, you certainly can eat the 60 pounds of meat that are attached to those antlers!

My rule of thumb on where to begin your scouting for monster bucks:

Find a good source of water.
Find a good source of food that is easy to get to.
Find a great place to sleep.

Now make sure all 3 of these places are within 200 yards of each other! As far as the “sleeping area”, big bucks like to bed in higher places! They like to see far out, be able to smell scents that rise and don’t like places that are easy to get to by other living beings.

I am utterly amazed each year how many people I know spend hours and hours scouting without following some simple rules regarding big buck habitat. Of course there are other circumstances that affect big buck behavior but begin with the basics. I do most of my scouting with an aerial map and a topo map. (If you need access to these maps, click here: http://www.nontypicalhunter.net/resources.htm and that will take you to the NTH website that has all of the tools you’ll need to prepare for your upcoming season. Like everything else on the site, it’s free). When I go into a new area, the first thing I do is scout with these maps. No matter what the weather is doing outside, I’m sipping coffee while I’m in my heated office scouting for big buck areas. Once I’m on the property, I already know what areas to focus on. Wow, computerized scouting, it so cool!

I love deer hunting so much, I try to stay involved with all aspects of the hunt all year. Killing the animal, to me, is the least most exciting part. The detective skills used to find the monster lurking out there is 90% of the fun for me. Of course, if I butcher a shot or mess something up prior to the harvest, I’m not a happy camper either, so I try to keep my shooting skills up-to-date. When I prepare for a hunt, I not only begin my scouting early but I have a heart-to-heart with myself. I know where my deficiencies are, so I attack them head-on. If it’s my shooting abilities, I’ll practice. If it’s a lack of scouting, I’ll get out. If it is a lack of this or that, then it’s this or that I’ll attack. Hey, you can apply this attitude to every aspect of life! Get out and make it work. Wow, this is starting to sound like a motivational speech….if I fail at deer hunting, maybe I can sell Sham Wow’s :-(

 

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