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Scouting flat featureless terrain help
Was given permission to hunt a 60 acre rectangular block of woods that is essentially an inverted trapezoid in shape in the bottom third of the land narrows until it's about 1/2 as wide as the top. Its has no agricultural crops on it and will remain so save for the food plots I plan on putting on it. It is surrounded by other blocks of woods that vary in size from similar to much larger. The nearest agricultural fields are at least 2 miles or more distant in any direction. In the words of the land owner the woods on the property are very thick with large areas of heavy thick undergrowth. Received my A/P from Mytopo and have been carefully scrutinizing it and the topo version of the land at mytopo.com.
Unless I'm missing something there appears to be very little in the way of contour change in the topography of the entire property that would affect or control deer movement and make their travel easily predictable and help me with choosing stand placements. In short the land looks to be flat and featureless with no natural or naturally occurring funnels of any kind so far as I can see on the A/P or topo map.
I am going down this weekend and spending several days scouting and Sunday 1-3" of snow is predicted which will be an immense help to my scouting and showing the most recent real time deer activity and travel paths.
I wont really get a feel for what's going on till I scout the property and I plan on scouting it as I have done all land for the last 30+ deer seasons. But seeing as best as I can recall this is the first land I have ever hunted where the land basically has no funnels of any kind of be they fields, ditches, creeks, hedge rows or other terrain features that I'm use to using to determine likely deer travel paths and place stands accordingly. What I would like is some suggestions from those who are experienced and enjoyed success with it on how to scout basically flat land to determine stand placements. I have multiple trail cams I plan on putting out so that should be helpful.
I have a pretty good idea it's likely going to be a case of common sense walking the land with a copy of my A/P in hand and mark the most impressive deer sign on it I find as I scout it than connect the dots and come up with a stand placement game plan. I have no hesitation admitting It seams this new land has exposed the Achilles heel of my deer hunting and scouting knowledge. But it never hurts to get help and advice from people more experienced at something than you are yourself. Thanks, Arthur.
Welcome to Manitoba deer hunting lol. What I look for here is all about edges. Deer are creatures that relate to edges especially when travelling. It's super important to zoom outwards on google maps and find corners where woods intersect, inside corners on 90 degree bush edges, or even in some cases an edge where old growth meets new growth. From there observation scouting is your friend. Do a walk when the snow first melts when it once again reveals scrape sites etc that got covered in late fall. Watch from as far away as possible in late summer and then you'll simply start to learn things as you hunt. Take year 1 as a sacrifice year and if you get the odd snowfall in the fall use it to backtrack a buck and see what he was doing. Where was he travelling? Did he leave ag and go hit some bedding areas? Assuming he wasn't hassled by a predator or human there was a method to his madness.
Multiply the buck sign you find by three compared to terrain with undulation/elevation.I've always thought they simply do not rub as much in flats.
You really have to be aware of suttle interior edge such as water ,blowdowns,forestry practices and old homesteads etc Many times I've killed deer on my gut as I simply never could find hot buck sign and be excited about where I was sitting
With no funnels I would focus on the browse or other food. Some spots in there may have good browse on one end but not the other. Also like said above look for edges of say pines and oak or whatever that land has.
I used to hunt the coastal plains of GA - flat! Killed a lot of deer off downed trees that were perpendicular to water. Find a big blowdown and sit the ends of it depending on wind. The deer will “funnel” around the ends of it.
Thanks all for the advice. I'm heading down tomorrow with multiple copies of my areal photo in hand and plan on spending two sun up to sun down days scouting and recording all the significant deer sign I find. Saturday the area is supposed to get enough snow to be a tremendous help in determining deer travel routs.
APauls got it right. Even in terrain with elevation changes I still look for edges.
Be looking for things they can walk under and through.
If there is one broken-over tree within sight, they'll walk under it. Then they'll likely go on to the next tree with a viney clump hanging off, or a leaned-over cedar tree, or a slightly thicker "whatever". He will also follow any slightest dip that's headed to the next "sumthin".
You can also successfully "thought trail" poorly bleeding deer this way until you find more sign to follow.
Get a mower out there and mow some paths.
Yeah, spend a day or 2 with a chainsaw & weed whacker and make some trails near some good trees for stands. Guarantee the deer will find and follow them