In the context of “Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting,” the text would be rewritten as:

In the sixth season of Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting, Hunt ’em Big returns! In this first episode, you will join Steve Bartylla as he shares must-know deer hunting tips specifically tailored for big woods hunting, public land hunting, and the use of cameras. Check it out here: [link to the episode]. In the article titled “Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting,” you’ll find a variety of valuable tips and insights to enhance your hunting experience. The video, hosted by Steve Bartillon of Deer and Deer Hunting, covers several important aspects, including the significance of big woods hunting and the importance of understanding deer habits and habitats. By studying topography, looking for unique features, and creating a checklist of potential scouting spots, you can increase your chances of finding that elusive big woods white tail. The article also touches on the differences between hunting pressured and non-pressured deer, emphasizing the need to find secluded areas with limited hunting pressure. Lastly, the use of cameras is discussed, highlighting the importance of proper placement and timing for maximum effectiveness. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, these tips are sure to help you become a more successful big woods deer hunter.

Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting

Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting

Importance of Big Woods Hunting

Big woods hunting is a crucial aspect of deer hunting success. The majority of big woods deer spend most of their time in specific areas, and finding these areas is essential for successful hunting. Somewhere around 80 to 90 percent of big woods deer are spending 80 to 90 percent of their time in only about 10 percent of the entire habitat. If you want to score on big woods white-tailed deer, you need to find these specific areas.

Identifying Unique Features in Big Woods

To locate those specific areas where big woods deer are spending the majority of their time, you need to look for unique features. If you are hunting in homogeneous hardwoods, search for a pocket of soft woods. Conversely, if the area is predominantly deciduous, look for a pocket of conifers. Additionally, swamps, creeks, and rivers are attractions for deer, as well as ridge systems. These unique features will help you identify the spots where deer are likely to spend their time.

Reading Topography

Understanding how topography can affect the size of hunting areas is essential in big woods deer hunting. Topography can shrink a vast area down to a smaller space, making it easier to locate deer. By studying aerial photos and topographic maps, you can identify converging edges and unique topographic features that can lead you to potential hunting spots.

Using Aerial Photos and Topos

Studying aerial photos and topographic maps is a valuable strategy for big woods deer hunting. Aerial photos provide an overhead view of the landscape and can help you identify potential hunting spots. Topographic maps, on the other hand, allow you to analyze the terrain and identify distinct features. By using both resources, you can locate areas that are different from the surrounding landscape, increasing your chances of finding deer.

Creating a Checklist of Scouting Locations

Before heading into the field, it’s essential to create a checklist of scouting locations based on your research. Prioritize the locations and focus on scouting those spots first. By using aerial photos and topographic maps to determine the best spots, you can save time and increase your efficiency during scouting.

Using Mock Scrapes for Tracking

One effective technique for tracking big woods deer is to create mock scrapes at scouting locations. By making mock scrapes, you can attract deer and potentially find big deer tracks in them. While finding a big deer track is not a guarantee of a mature buck, mature bucks generally have much bigger feet than does. Checking for larger tracks in mock scrapes can give you an indication of the presence of mature bucks in the area.

Understanding Pressure vs. Non-Pressured Hunting Areas

Hunting deer that do not realize they’re being hunted can provide a significant advantage. Non-pressured hunting areas, such as utopias, generally have limited hunting pressure per acre, resulting in more deer per acre. These areas, whether utopias or lightly pressured private grounds, make it easier to hunt and increase your chances of success compared to heavily pressured public grounds.

Finding Unhunted Areas

To increase your chances of finding mature bucks, it’s essential to identify areas that other hunters do not frequent. Look for barriers that prevent other hunters from accessing an area, such as swamps, thick clear-cut regrowth, or hard-to-reach locations. Hunting in these areas, where most hunters do not go, can give you an advantage in targeting heavily pressured white-tailed deer.

Identifying Barriers and Hard-to-Reach Locations

Barriers play a significant role in deterring other hunters from venturing into certain areas. If a person needs to put on hip boots or traverse through a clear-cut regrowth or a ravine, most hunters will likely avoid these obstacles. By navigating through these barriers and accessing hard-to-reach locations, you leave behind the majority of other hunters, increasing your chances of targeting mature bucks.

Low-Impact Hunting Techniques

When hunting in big woods areas, it’s crucial to adopt low-impact hunting techniques. This means avoiding anything that may draw attention to yourself, such as excessive gadget use, calling, or rattling. Instead, focus on stealth and minimize your impact on the environment. Taking these precautions will help you remain undetected by deer and increase your chances of a successful hunt.

Using Cameras Effectively

Cameras can be valuable tools in big woods deer hunting if used effectively. Ensure that your cameras are working for you and not against you. Avoid unnecessary trips to check your cameras, as this can increase your presence in the hunting area. If possible, use cell cameras or space out your camera checks to avoid spooking deer. Choose days with favorable weather conditions, like a stiff wind blowing away from the deer’s anticipated location, to hide your sounds and movements.


By implementing these scouting techniques for big woods deer hunting, you can maximize your chances of finding and hunting mature bucks. Combining the strategies discussed in this article, such as identifying unique features, reading topography, using aerial photos and topos, creating a scouting checklist, and utilizing low-impact hunting techniques, will make a significant difference in your hunting success. Remember to adapt your approach based on the specific conditions of the area you are hunting and stay persistent in your scouting efforts.

Scouting Techniques for Big Woods Deer Hunting

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