Early Scouting for Bucks

It was a typical day early September about 2:00 in the afternoon we pulled into a pull off for the state land access to a chunk of property. As we got out and started looking around the local farmer had planted three of the paddocks one in hey one in corn and one in beans. As we look to the hay field nothing caught our eye’s. Knowing the cornfield was going to be tough to see any Wildlife within it we skipped over it. As we started to scan the edge of the bean field, we noticed some movement along the east line. We got out the spotting scope and tried to zoom in on it to see what was making the movement. To our Delight we noticed it was a buck in velvet. He was just sticking around the edge of the field popping his head in and out like he was nervous. He was out about 325 yards at the top of a ridge. We ducked behind a couple big trees and got a little comfortable. Set up the spotting scope and waited for him to reappear. What seems like an hour passed really it was only 10 minutes, was nervous picking his head up and putting it down eating the tops of the beans. He looked to be like a nice 8-point as we scoured the rest of the field nothing appeared to be moving in the other tree lines, so we just focused our attention on the single spot which we saw him in. He went back and forth, in and out of the field like he knew somebody was watching him but couldn’t quite put a finger on it or a hoof. We decided to come back later and work our way towards the ridge to see if we can pick out the spot he was occupying. As the day went on, we collected our tree stand hunting gear. Five o clock come around and we started our adventure, my son in front caring in the tree stand and the ladder, I followed behind with the ratchet straps, chain and padlocks. As we got to the west side of the field, we started splitting the bean row trying not to walk directly on the Deer Trail meandering the edge of the field. As we are walking through the field that in certain areas out about 30-yards from The Edge into the field all the tops of the beans were missing, they have been nibbled on. It took us about 25 to 30 minutes to make it to the spot we thought we had seen the buck earlier that day. Once we made it to the top of the ridge, we have noticed why he had picked this spot of all the rest. As you enter the field you can see approximately 300 yd North and South in about two hundred yards across the field, so it’s a prime location to see what was going on before entering the wide-open field. We started to look around for a tree that would hide the silhouette of a human but still present good shooting Lanes. We proceeded to scout 30 to 40 yards into the swamp and woods, up and down the edge of the field looking for any signs that the deer were using a trail more than others. We found one trail that used more than the other ones. This trail parallel the edge of the field approximately 20 to 25 yards into the brush cover so we started looking closer to the top of the ridge where we hand seen the buck earlier meandering around, we noticed great differences in the tracks that the deer we’re leaving. Some were real small pointy rounded while others were a little larger with light impact on the ground and then there’s some that were large rounded wide toed deeper impressions, assuming this was a Buck or maybe even the buck that we seen early in the day. My son noticed a tree about 15-yards off the field edge and 10-yards plus or minus off the traveled trail that the animals were using. It was an oak tree about 30-inch in diameter at the bottom and 24-inch diameter up about 15-ft, enough to cover the silhouette of a human. He decided he wanted to put the tree stand in this tree. So, we stuck together the ladder stood it up the side of the tree. We started at the bottom with a ratchet strap, we are not allowed to penetrate the bark of the trees on state land in our state. Here is one of my favorites.


Picking up the next 4 ft section of the ladder and placing the ratchet strap around the tree. This is challenging, you must sling it around the tree hope you don’t catch anything and catch it in your other hand to attach it to the ladder to snitch it tightly against the tree so you can proceed upward. We put five sections up that puts the top of the ladder 20 ft in the air. We like to hang on to the ladder and step onto the tree stand so the actual tree stand is approximately 15 ft off the ground which is good distance for the prevailing winds to carry your scent away. This is one of my picks. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=tree+stands&crid=1YWSQC88VKD5M&sprefix=tree+stands%2Caps%2C170&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

We like to use tree stands that are comfortable wide platforms fat seats easy to be comfortable in. As we got towards the end of setting the tree stand up my body reminded me I’m almost 50 years old that this is probably one of the last times you really need to be placing a tree stand in a tree. My feet started shaking, hands are cramping and sweat was rolling down my forehead so fast and I can barely tell that I wasn’t showering but I did it I got it up there and it is safe. As I climb down in my son climb up, he was satisfied with a location that he had to picked for this hunting setup. I was ready to get out of the woods my son was not. I started walking towards the parking area, he wanted to sit in the stand a little longer to see if anything was moving. I got to the cooler and got a bottle of water sat on the tailgate waiting for my son to come out of the woods.  15 or 20 minutes went by and I finally see him walking along the edge of the field towards me as he approached the truck he was nothing but smiles saying Dad I think this is the one that’s going to get me that buck, I said good son because your dad’s tired and that you are probably going to have to start putting up the tree stands why I stay on the ground and bark orders. He smiled and laughed I figured he said. We both sat on the tailgate enjoying our Waters discussing what time we thought he should be in the tree before daylight and what time he should be moseying out of the woods after daylight during the scouting season. As we shut the tailgate got in the truck and headed home, we talked about how much we love being outdoors and that it was great that our state sets aside land that we all get a chance to use and cannot wait for the opening day of bow season.