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Most hunters don’t like to hear this nugget of truth, but if they’d spend more time scouting before the season started, they’d likely have more success bagging a trophy buck. Of course, scouting can be time-consuming, tiring, and even boring at times. But it’s vitally important in determining your stand location and how you’ll hunt an area. If you want to be more successful at scouting your hunting area than ever before, here are three things you’ll need.


These binoculars feature 10x magnification and have fully multi-coated lenses for clarity. Vortex Optics

A good pair of binoculars can help you harvest more big game animals than nearly any other type of hunting equipment. Binoculars can enable you to locate more animals—and judge the quality of the animals you locate—from a distance that would be impossible with normal vision. One good thing to know when shopping for a pair of binoculars is what the somewhat confusing numbers used in the descriptions mean. Magnification, or power, is one of the most important considerations, and is the first number. The objective lens size is also critical and is the second number. So, a pair of binoculars designated 10×42 have 10-power magnification and a 42mm objective lens.

Spotting Scope

This 20-60x spotting scope will give you a close look at faraway deer. Sightmark

If you’re scouting wide open hunting areas and are likely to be looking at deer several hundred yards away, a good spotting scope is just the tool for the job. Looking at a buck 1,000 yards away with a pair of 10x binoculars might not allow you to adequately judge its rack. Viewing the same buck with a 40x or 50x spotting scope can let you quickly determine if it’s just another buck or a fine trophy worth hunting. One reason spotting scopes are so important to scouting is they can allow you to observe a prime area from much farther away than a typical pair of binoculars can, leaving the area largely undisturbed by your presence.

Game Camera

This game camera has a sub-one second trigger and a burst mode. Stealth Cam

Game cameras can give you the reconnaissance information you need without you having to constantly tromp through your hunting area and spook the deer living there. In fact, place a good-quality game camera in the perfect location, and you’ll alleviate the need to do much on-foot scouting. When shopping for a game camera, consider such features as photo and video resolution, detection range, trigger speed/recovery time, battery life, flash capabilities and presence of a viewing screen so you can look at pictures while in the field. Note that in addition to scouting for deer and other game, such cameras are good for keeping an out for anyone sneaking around your house, barn, or hunting cabin.