October 02, 2013
Scouting Tip: Go For the Green Beans
By Scott Bestul
We talk a lot about transitions during this phase of the whitetail season, and the bean field pictured above is a perfect example. As any farm-country deer hunter knows, whitetails are nuts for soybeans. Early in the season, they eat the foliage, but that attraction fades as soon as the leaves on the bean plant start to yellow, like the majority of those in the pictured field. Once this change occurs, whitetails typically shun beans until much later in the season when they'll return to the brown, dried-up plants to eat the pods and beans.
But look in the foreground of this shot. See that small patch of bean leaves that are still green? Right now, deer will walk across an entire field of yellowed plants to snack on that pocket of lush, green ones, and if your stand or blind is within shooting distance of the greenery, you can enjoy excellent action. The best places to find verdant bean foliage is on the field edges where shade trees delay plant maturity and in low-lying spots like waterways and riparian areas.
Speed scouting is a favorite tactic of mine, and the tactic lives up to its name when you can it from your vehicle just by looking for a certain color. Of course, like everything else in the fall, the window is closing quickly on this opportunity; spot a green patch of beans like this, and you've got maybe a week if you're lucky to hunt it before the plants mature. So jump on the opportunity.