Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Hodag Hunter
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Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Hodag Hunter » Tue May 03, 2011 6:46 am

Last Saturday and Sunday, 4-30-11 and 5-1-11, Dan, Magicman and myself went scouting in search of big woods beds and deer activity. I knew it was going to be a learning experiance for me and was really looking forward to the time with both of these grizzled veterans.

We selected areas I was somewhat familar with and went over some topo maps before heading out.......all "spots within a spot" that looked promising to Dan and Magic were locations I spent little to no time in before hand. :oops:

Previously guessed we would be spending all day walking but with these two who seem to be part deer, "a walk in the woods" is a whole new defination. :shock: ........Yeah, my legs and feet still hurt.

Dan offered me a ride on his dinosaur scooter but I declined as we both together would be over the weight limit.

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Magic kept yelling for help as he knew Dan and himself couldn't drag my fatbutt out if I had the big-one in front of them.

From previous years hunting and trail pictures knew the areas held some respectable bucks, but I always had difficulty nailing down EXACTLY where they bed. Well we found some prime locations and as every hour ticked by the light bulb kept getting brighter and brighter in my head.

The whole idea of finding the exact location of a buck's bed never was so true. We would find the bed or beds and then the staging areas or entry/exit routes into the bedding. The staging areas where typical of what I would find on my own but how I would hunt them was basically a crap shoot. Previously I would place my stand, keeping wind direction in mind for the staging area and where I guessed the buck would bed. Well, this was/is a mistake as the trees I would choose might be fine once the deer was physcally in the staging area, but might be 100% wrong for where the buck bed is located. It really made sense after seeing it first hand in the woods........ all my years of hunting I could have blown the hunt before I even climbed the tree because my scent would be blowing right to the bed. Even if I was "right" in my stand placement, in part, probably was because I was too far away from where the buck beds and walks in daylight. I would be long gone from the stand before the buck would make his way to the area and the game was over because of finding my ground scent from just being there a few hours ago.

To hunt a big buck you have to be close, allmost on top of, where they move in the daylight......which is where they bed.

I can't stress enough how critical it is to know where that bed or beds are in relation to his entry/exit routes and/or staging areas. Knowing the exact location of the bed also will give you the advantage for entry and exit into your area to hunt......another thing I was crap-shooting on. Previously would take my best guess and go for it. I seen deer in the past.....lots of them.....but pretty much because mature bucks don't bed where the does and little bucks bed. Where those big bucks bed is right where most humans/predators would approach an area......it all just makes so much sense now putting all pieces of the puzzle together.

Couple pictures from Magic's camera.......mine took a crap/I broke it. :lol:

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Dan even met a few new friends in the woods.....he is quite the friendly guy but I don't know about the monkey. :? :lol:

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In closing, what I learned first hand this weekend would take a few years for a guy to apply himself after reading "it" here on the Beast. This weekend was time well spent and I thank Dan and Magic both for coming up and sharing their knowledge.
Last edited by Hodag Hunter on Tue May 03, 2011 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Wrinkleneck » Tue May 03, 2011 6:57 am

That would have been great!!! Glad you took it all in. I'm sure it is info you will NOT soon forget 8-)
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby PLB » Tue May 03, 2011 7:23 am

Good to see Dan up in the big woods!! ;) Hey Hodag, was this your own land or public?? Awesome to have those 2 deer gurus with you!! 8-)
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby dan » Tue May 03, 2011 7:53 am

It was a fun time Jason, glad I could help... I was certainly surprised by the amount of deer / buck sign we found after all the complaints I have heard from that area about lack of deer.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Hodag Hunter » Tue May 03, 2011 8:06 am

Public Land Beast wrote:Good to see Dan up in the big woods!! ;) Hey Hodag, was this your own land or public?? Awesome to have those 2 deer gurus with you!! 8-)


Public land......I hope you guys understand why I won't post the Topo areas where we were and how we marked them up.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Hodag Hunter » Tue May 03, 2011 8:09 am

dan wrote:It was a fun time Jason, glad I could help... I was certainly surprised by the amount of deer / buck sign we found after all the complaints I have heard from that area about lack of deer.


The deer numbers are still slightly down but there currently is a good number of deer available to hunt. Just as my postings were all last fall, I seen deer just about everytime out, just the quality of deer wasn't there for me........I know why now. 8-)
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby PLB » Tue May 03, 2011 8:43 am

That's awesome!! I would love to spend a day with Dan in my big woods spots! I have so many areas I hunt, it would be tough to narrow down. I have 1 area in mind though ;)
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby PLB » Tue May 03, 2011 8:45 am

Oh I forgot, Magic too! :oops: :lol:
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Singing Bridge » Tue May 03, 2011 9:08 am

Hodag Hunter wrote:In closing, what I learned first hand this weekend would take a few years for a guy to apply himself after reading "it" here on the Beast.


Perfectly stated, Hodag- spending time in the woods with the Big Buck Serial Killer and the Magicman can really shorten the curve and plug in puzzle pieces that were missing. 8-)

In the next couple of days, I would sit down with a notepad and think through the time spent with them. I would write down as much as I could recall about what they did and what was said. Even if I took notes as I went along I would review them and add in things I may have forgotten or overlooked. If you are anything like me, it won't take long before some of it is forgotten... :?
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Hodag Hunter » Tue May 03, 2011 10:01 am

Bridge is right about the notes.....I even mentioned it to Magic as we were walking out of one spot that I should have brought a small notebook.

All the spots we found where marked with a GPS using Magic's and mine. We marked the actual beds and the trees to sit. Didn't take the time to clear any trees, some don't need any or very minimal, as we wanted to keep pushing on to locate as many good spots as possible.

Soooo, I have to go back to each spot with-in the next few weeks to prepare trees and entry/exit routes for myself. I will write down good notes for each spot at that time. My only worry is Dan or Magic won't be there to "help" drag me out. :lol:
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby cwoods » Tue May 03, 2011 11:14 am

Singing Bridge wrote:
Hodag Hunter wrote:In closing, what I learned first hand this weekend would take a few years for a guy to apply himself after reading "it" here on the Beast.


Perfectly stated, Hodag- spending time in the woods with the Big Buck Serial Killer and the Magicman can really shorten the curve and plug in puzzle pieces that were missing. 8-)

In the next couple of days, I would sit down with a notepad and think through the time spent with them. I would write down as much as I could recall about what they did and what was said. Even if I took notes as I went along I would review them and add in things I may have forgotten or overlooked. If you are anything like me, it won't take long before some of it is forgotten... :?


^^^This^^^!
Man thats awesome that you got to spend time getting into the minds of two big buck serial killers. Your a blessed man for sure.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby BackWoodsHunter » Tue May 03, 2011 11:15 am

Man that's too cool I'm jealous! I would love to spend some time in the big woods with those guys shortening that learning curve. Glad you had success I hope it helps you out this fall.

I know you won't post topos BUT can you give us an idea how big these spots were and how hard you scouted them? Were they all big tracks of land all over the northwoods? or were you only able to cover a small section of property in a larger tract of land?


Also in response to the deer numbers, scouting over Easter weekend I too was surprised to see the deer numbers up like they were. I think that we have been allowed to shoot does the last couple of years a lot of the deer drivers and big woods meat hunters have moved on to new spots allowing the herd to recover. I am looking forward to getting some trail cams out at the end of the month and watching to see what fawn numbers look like for the upcoming year.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Hodag Hunter » Tue May 03, 2011 11:39 am

BackWoodsHunter wrote:
I know you won't post topos BUT can you give us an idea how big these spots were and how hard you scouted them? Were they all big tracks of land all over the northwoods? or were you only able to cover a small section of property in a larger tract of land?



Basically what I did was hand Dan two USGS topo maps and he picked the best spots he liked. They were all in large public areas, quite a ways in from where I parked the truck.......did yeah miss the part that my legs and feet still hurt. ;) :lol:

Dan would pick spots on the map and say where the buck beds should be......most of the time he was right on, but like anything a guy needs to walk it to confirm what it's really like out there.

I apologise if I wasn't clear beforehand that I hired Dan to do this thru his scouting servces offered here on the site. If any of you are considering going this route......by all means jump at Dan's offer. It's worth years and years of trial and error doing it by yourself.......Sure was for me.

Can't say thanks enough to Dan and Magic for helping out.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby dan » Tue May 03, 2011 12:36 pm

Basically, I looked at the topo's Hodag supplied and looked for structure that should be good for buck bedding. Some spots, like the 1st one we went to, I was right on... Some spots the bedding was a little off, but still findable.
The bucks on this property seemed to bed in the typical elevation spots of the hills as described in my Hill country bucks DVD, however, they needed a lot of cover or a thick escape like most flat land or farmland bucks... This was probably due to the hills being more rolling and lower elevations than that of the ones in the hill country DVD...
The hardest part about scouting out here was to get all the way back in a mile or so to find out the cover was not thick enough or that it had just been logged.
I can see where scouting from a plane for one day to see where there is thick cover on east or south facing slopes ( assuming West / North winds ) and then later walking those areas would be a GREAT tactic...
If a guy were to scout that vast of a territory without maps and without knowledge of terrain based bedding, he probably would not find much big buck sign, and likely would not be to successful.
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Re: Scouting Time with Dan and Magic

Postby Edcyclopedia » Tue May 03, 2011 12:49 pm

Good read thanks!

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