Hunting and Scouting
Out Of State
Two elements when combined show where to go hunting and scouting. This is directed towards traveling deer hunters who often needs to change their perspective on what are central mid-west deer spots.
Think mostly open, meaning flat land of long range observation.
45 to 55% land use in farming. Contrast that to many other heavily deer hunter populated states where more than 60% is wooded in large bocks. This contrast is further distinguished in the central mid-west what is wooded is where land would not make crop ground, meaning drainage’s. This creates thin wood cover with many small wood patches.
A second effect is our one mile road grid system on our mostly open crop land. A dynamic occurs of deer being sensitive to long range observation or movement.
Not Big Woods Hunting
In the big wood states such as Minnesota or Alabama deer to be concealed move but a few feet to get into cover. Low to ground deer level hiding cover is everywhere in the big woods states. In Kansas, Missouri and Iowa deer must seek out cover spots to loaf/rest. Deer must find pocket of cover in what is otherwise row crop land. Or, move 1 1/4 mile to cover is common.
Key spots are away from open fields with have road access or farm yards. Roads and farm yards that can be seen create no deer areas. Deer loafing spots become isolated from direct observation of human frequented areas. These areas have no relation to size of any woody cover. It is this isolation factor deer seek. Isolation may be provided by a tall grass, brushy drain without any tree for stand.
Add to this of having a nearby water source, sometimes a rarity. Determine preferred to that part of season food source. Together with isolation spots quickly define where to scout.
Rub where the rifle is leaning above shows this to be buck country.
The value to this picture for new to central mid-west deer hunter is in the background. Small trees, thinly wooded. Movement area. Bedding/feeding is outside the tree line in tall grass/brush. Edges, not center of a woodlot.
Another rub illustrating recurring buck presence.
Deer hunting value of the photo is cover habitat in the background. This wood patch is connected by a lightly wooded dry drainage that can just be made out as the ditch towards the background.
Ditches or drainage’s coming together are typically thick spots of woody cover.
River Bottom Deer Hunting
When the common colloquialism of river bottom deer hunting is talked about, this is what is being described at right. Same as a smaller drainage just likely over a larger area.
No river to be seen. The mostly dry drainage that feeds a river. Or, land if it were to be cleared would not make crop ground.
At right a scrape along the edge of what is poorly shown in this picture of an old farm lane cutting through part of a wood patch connecting crop fields.
The wooded cover shown in these pictures is about as thick as to be found. It appears thicker in these pictures than it does on the ground.
A view from a top of the stand. In this case the trees in the picture appear smaller than they do within the woodlot.
Most of the trees in this picture would easily hold a stand and hunter. Not all would be high stand capable at 20 feet or more. Many at 12 to 15 foot.
Another deceptive aspect of this picture is the crop field that from the stand could be picked out between the trees. However, in this picture that detail is absent.
Looking the other direction from a top of the stand across a slope to the far ridge line.
What cannot be seen is the crop field in between the wood patch with the deer stand and the far wooded ridge. This lease is within the 50% agricultural land use region. This food first, cover second approach is a mind set different than the big woods hunters who feel it is large wood cover that is required for better hunting.
A view from an alternate stand within the same area that captures a small ridge connecting two small hilltops. It is in a saddle between two hill tops.
If all the deer cover in these pictures looks the same please continue reviewing our pictures. We have learned from many others over years to overdo pictures. They are never enough. However, after looking at enough pictures, details begin to show when combined with boots on ground scouting start to give a refined definition for where to hunt. This comes through about the third year in the Association. That is when hunters begin to express they now hunt much differently than they did their first season.