Insta-Scouting

When you only have a day to check out unfamiliar territory before you hunt it, you need to speed scout. Here's how.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Sure, You had every intention of scouting before the hunting season but somehow didn't. Or you're hunting an unfamiliar area just for a weekend. You have only a day or less to look over your hunting grounds and find productive stand sites. This is when you need to speed scout. Here's how to do it right:

(1) Go scent-free, just as you would when hunting. Don't touch anything with bare hands, especially around potential stand locations. Your scent will linger and may spook deer.

(2) Walk casually, as though you are just passing through. Deer can tell the difference between a human on a stroll and the stalking, measured pace of a hunter.

(3) Bring a map, notepad, compass, and handheld GPS, if you have one. Mark anything of interest on the map, or as a GPS waypoint.

(4) Jot down details about each spot you mark. You'll never remember all the sign that you come across, and which places have the greatest potential.

(5) Use a compass to determine the prevailing wind directions. You'll want to set up your tree stand accordingly.

(6) Study your notes at home and connect the dots on your map. This should reveal buck routes that, in turn, can tell you exactly where to score in the morning.