I’ve been a little obsessed with flowers lately. And while that’s the sort of personal information I might normally spare you, it actually has relevance here. Over the weekend, I took my five- and three-year-old kids on a wildflower expedition at one of the farms I hunt. We found cow vetch and windflower waving from the ditches, swamp buttercups nodding at the field edges, and a wash of yellow bedstraw streaking a waste area that crawled with dewberry. There was cow parsnip in the aspen grove, forget-me-nots along the creek, plus devil’s paintbrush, sweet clover, mouse-eared chickweed…

All of which was well and good, but I was focused on the bunched-up, white, starlets of gray dogwood. That’s because where there are gray dogwood blooms now, there will be gray dogwood berries in September and October–and deer coming to eat them.

Just about everyone scouts just prior to the deer season, and more and more of us comb the early-spring woods for thawing buck sign. But there’s no reason to stop once the trees leaf out and the weather turns warm. There’s plenty to be learned right now. For example, many important and overlooked food sources–like gray dogwood–are easiest to identify when they bloom in late spring and early summer. So, now is a great time to walk your ground to see what you can find.


That’s my summer scouting tip. Let’s hear yours. The person who offers the best advice or shares the coolest method for gathering info now that will help once deer season begins will win this brand-new 8-megapixel Stealth Cam Delta 8 Trail Camera, courtesy of and available exclusively from Cabela’s–a prize worth $140.