Scouting before you scout..........

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Seems there has been a big need lately for a thread about finding your honey hole.........or just finding a good spot to hunt in a zone you have no experice in so I'll get it started.

Lets say I drew ................... whatever pick a zone

First thing I would do it go the the DFG web site and pull the zone map.
Second thing I'd do is look for the hot spots they say are the hot ticket for the zone.
I'd pick an area and head over to google earth and look at the zone in depth.
By using google earth I look for area's in the zone that look like area's I've been to in other zones and have an idea that they would be a good start.
From there I'd go get a map of that area........a map is the best tool you can find for pre scouting.
Study the map as best you can making notes of elevation and water along with roads but remember that maps can lie to you and are never to be totally trusted. You have to get out and make sure your map is dead on.......streams change course and springs dry up.

After finding a few good spots I'd get back online and do a search for that area and find everything I can.........
I'd search the name of the place and the hunt history.

If your searching JHO look at who has done well in the past and if you are so inclined ask them if they care to share any tips.

Once I've done that I take off and hit the trail.

Then I come back and talk about it with my friends and keep on working until my next trip out.

Thats how I do it.................

Sometimes it works better than others but its what other good hunters have taught me to do.

What do you guys do to get ready to scout and hope for that honey hole?
 

socalkid

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Good thread. I do a lot of the same things as you, such as the DFG maps and info. I love using Google Earth to check out new areas. Like you said, nothing beats actually being out there, but knowing where to start is a big help.
 
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Like you said, nothing beats actually being out there, but knowing where to start is a big help.
Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life.............

Give him the fish and you create a begger from then on.

Scouting falls in the same class.

I have friends who hunt the zones I do and they NEVER tell me go here, look there.

They wait until I've done some work and found some nuggets then say.......good job, what did you find..........now try this.

For me that is worth more than anything because it makes me think, work and I learn.

I know there are a lot of better hunters here that I am so lets hear how you do it..........
 

Mr. Luckypants

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I do basically the same things you've mentioned above. The cool thing is that no one ever taught me. Of course it always helps if someone is willing to help and give good info.

One thing I would like to ask is this:

Assuming you have limited time. Do you spend that time scouting on South facing slopes or North?
 

goindeep

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calling the local biologist is always a good start, but scouting the unit befor you apply is the only way to go. Its not always possible to physicaly scout the unit, but at least do some internet scouting. dig up as much material on the unit as possible from dfg,hunting mags, whererever then sit down with a good map and visit google earth. And when you arrive at you hunting area talk it up with as many locals as you can, they can be you best source of info.
 
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Locals are awesome..........

And remember we are all a local in one zone or another.

If you show that your not playing the jazz flute or something equally as lame your gonna get some help from the people in the know.

Biologist are like Maps, most of the time they are only as good as the person looking at it.

M
 

bpnclark

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Locals are awesome..........
Not always. Nothing says “I’m not telling you sh*t” like a Californian license plate.

Your points are very good. Everyone should put in their own time. I got a whipping from listing a CO spot by my family. I don’t know why they care, because I don’t think we are going back to that spot anytime soon. And half of the people that go, don’t walk the distance anyways.
Anyways, very good points. :toast-yellow:
 

Glass eye

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I addition to what has already been covered, when I find an area on my map that I'd like to know more about, I do an Image Search of named peaks, lakes, meadows, etc. As we all know, there are lots of outdoor enthusiast that don't hunt and they have their own forums with beautiful photos of the landscape and detailed diaries of their journey from start to finish.
It gives me a better sense of the terrain and habitat, more than what I can get from the fuzzy google-earth images.
 
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Akash

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Really good tips/pointers. Im sure this thread will help out alot of novice hunters like me who are going to there 1st ever deer hunt this coming season. I got a d-8 tag and my dad (first timer as well) drew x-10.

Thanks again for the wealth of knowledge as JHO is always !!! Good Luck to all !!
 

Orygun

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What do you guys do to get ready to scout and hope for that honey hole?
I have GPS transmitters attached to all your rigs. I am thinking about buying some high end packs and selling them "For a steal" to notable hunters with the packs also embedded with transmitters.

Plenty of resource material available from game agencies, this site has been great for general hunting information. Online maps are excellent but I still load up on the real thing. Getting BLM and Forest circus maps have really helped. some of our local district offices and older style district maps that are blue ink and barely fit when spread out over a full size truck hood.

They list all roads, I mean all, all mainlines, secondary, skid roads, most of the gates, springs, creeks, rivers, marshes, of have dwellings shown. Very useful just to navigate through many of our units here.

You have to get out and make sure your map is dead on
Unfortunately true, nothing is better than wearing out boot leather.

Learning about what the deer need to eat and where they can drink is important. I've thought about posting up pics of browse and forage that deer use but always get too lazy or forget. Vegetation is often shown on maps but doesn't really tell much else. Photos can separate trees and bushes and grass. An example here would be the high desert and sagebrush. If it ain't got bitterbrush, there better be tons of forbs and other plants to supplement the sage. Having the main forage plants means the ability to hold more than just a few animals and it gives you a place to start. I ahve a pic at my desk of my most favorite spot to hunt in the Sierras The ridge is a mikle or so form wher eI ytook it and ec=ven form that distance I can pcik out the bitterbrush and the spots where I always find deer. And they correspond nicely with maps I have.
 
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I am thinking about buying some high end packs and selling them "For a steal" to notable hunters with the packs also embedded with transmitters.
Now there is an idea :lol bashing sign:

And for the rest of your post its dead on.

Ins't going to help to be told where to go if you have no idea what you are looking at once you get there.

Time in field, priceless.

M
 

YORT40

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It takes a little more cash, but just before the season opens I start making my scouting trips to the local bars & parties. NOTHING like a few rounds on Yort's tab to have the boys Proclaim theirselves a man & open up the Honey Hole faults. Imnrut can't help himself. :mooning:
 

SDHNTR

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Good stuff. These things are unwritten code among most experienced hunters but IMO it is probably good to write it down so nothing is taken for granted.

I personally do a lot the same stuff FIRST and then if I need/want a little more help (like for an out of state zone where I can't scout as much as I'd like) I turn to my network. But again, I have done as much of my own research as possible FIRST! By network I mean people I know, who then know people who know people. That may include people you find on the internet sites. I personally do not think it is right to simply start asking around without having done copious amounts of research first. You may think otherwise, and that is fine, but this is what I believe.

In my opinion, asking an expert on the unit for help without at least doing some research yourself is flat out disrespectful. It shows that you only want to take the easy way out and just want someone else to do all the work. This probably wont get you far. It is a slap in the face to the guy who has spent years learning an area. You will have much better success getting info from your network (including biologists, game wardens, local processors, guides, etc) if you do some research and familiarize yourself with the unit upfront, before you start asking for extra help. It may take some time to build, but a good hunting network is priceless and must be handled properly! It's like a good woman, it must be gently cared for, nurtured and always treated with respect.

This is only my opinion but I think it is very important. Realize that if someone gives you information, it is coveted, sacred, treasured, and should be treated as such. Good info is earned not just casually shared. It should be shared in only in private. People may have sweated, bled, worn out boots and spent many years finding spots and learning local game habits. If this info winds up in unappreciative hands those good areas can be abused and easily ruined. Don't take such info lightly. If something is shared with you consider yourself very fortunate.

If someone helps you out, THANK THEM. Profusely. Maybe even send out a Cabelas gift card or something similar if warranted. Let them know that you truly appreciate their willingness to help you out. You didn't do the hard work, they did, and they were nice enough to share it with you. Some kind words will go along way. Not acknowledging the help someone gave you is simply rude. This just happened to me recently from someone on this forum. He emailed me asking for a little help. I gave him a few good spots to scout and some suggestions. Never heard anything more from him. No thanks at all. That is rude. That guy is permanently scratched off the list of anyone I would consider helping in the future. That is not a good way to build a network.

Lastly, this whole concepts works on the reciprocity principle. If soemone helps you out with a unit they know well, offer to help them out with a unit you know well. This is how a network is built and how lifelong hunting partners are created.

Disclaimer: These are just my opinions and are based on common courtesy. This is not meant to ruffle any feathers, hurt any feelings, nor intimidate or threaten anyone, especially new hunters. It is purely for informational purposes.

Good topic FT!
 

JNDEER

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Great post FT...I was going to start a post very similar to this...I see people come in here all the time saying I drew X tag...where should I go...

what i don't understand is why would anybody put in for an X zone tag before knowing anything about the area or knowing of a spot to hunt before hand??? I have never put in for a X tag, but to me it does not make sense to put in for it if you don't already have a spot or many spots picked out to hunt before hand
 

youngr24

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I use my GPS and Google Earth together. When I find a good ridge that I want to hunt or if i can see water I mark them on my GPS so that they are easier to find while out scouting/hunting. Water is everything when in the backcounty.
 

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