The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 10, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Plan now for next fall

As deer hunters, we all know that lady luck sometimes smiles on us and for whatever reason she pushes a big deer with extra-long tines right into our lap.

 However, if you want to consistently tag wall-hangers, you’re going to need to depend on much more than luck or chance.

In fact, you better hit the woods soon, with a proven post-season scouting and organizational plan that will help keep you directly in the middle of all the hardcore antler-action when the games begin next fall. The following off-season tactics for deer hunting will ultimately allow you to connect with more bruiser bucks on a regular basis.

 

Do your homework

The first several weeks that follow the conclusion of season are probably some of the best times of the entire year to locate a mature buck. At this point, you’re primarily dealing with the big bucks that have been smart enough to escape another hunting season. If you want to hang a tag on one of these experienced bucks, then you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and do some homework.

Simple steps

Accordingly, the cold winter months are the perfect time for die-hard antler addicts to search for next season’s prime target candidates. At this point in the year, the woods are practically wide-open and big buck sign is both easy to find and simple to read. The lack of foliage, coupled with usually heavy snows in Northeast Ohio, makes tracks, heavily worn trails and preferred bedding areas stick out like a sore thumb. In addition, pinpointing last season’s tree rubs and scrape-lines are also a breeze during the cold winter months. Many of these same rub and scrape-lines will be utilized by mature bucks again the following season.

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