Scouting Technique and Tips

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Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby alan0260 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 am

I still see guys asking about where to hunt and how to hunt and what to hunt with... but not asking how to scout. This is the biggest factor in a successful public lands hunt and I thought it should be brought up. So here are some of my tips for scouting a NEW location, add yours, make fun of these, and maybe (I highly doubt it, but maybe) one less topic will be "New to the area, tell me where you hunt"

1. I spend atleast 2-3 days scouting for 1 day hunting
2. Take detailed notes- where the ducks are, wind direction, cover you could hunt from, time of day ducks are moving, ect
3. Scout 3 or more spots for 1 day of hunting
4. Use Google Earth, and make notes there. If I go back to an area I haven't hunted in over a year, I keep notes here like "1 inch of water, 6 of mud"
5. Get the cheapest GPS you can find, and use it in conjunction with Google Earth. Keep your pins as accurate as possible.

Anything I missed? Good luck... scouting is part of the fun, and pays off.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby :-) » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:08 am

You put a LOT of effort into scouting...I hope it pays off for you.

I don't get that detailed, but end up being successful most of the time. If an area's holding birds we can only hope they're still there tomorrow.

Nothing against you...I just choose to not get that detailed.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby yareelohim » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:22 pm

Another great tip that has been the most successful for me so far.

I scout the water and look for pin feathers. Whichever body of water is the most secluded and has the most pin feathers, that's the one I will hunt.

I then mark it on my google maps and various digital maps for future reference.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby Take em boys » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:07 pm

im assuming were talking about water but ill throw in my opinions for both water and field

From my past experiences if your seeing (tornado of ducks or field jammed with geese) you can bet your ass other people are to) large flocks are a HUGE sight factor and every waterfowler in your area has their eyes on it. So when it comes to fields I will only hunt fields that I know for 100% fact that im the only hunter in it cause it never fails even if I arrive at the field at 3 in the morning some jack ass will show up 10 min before they start flying and set up a dozen shells down wind of me so public fields my opinion I don't hunt them run traffic if ya have to its better then watching some butt sky bust your birds

Water...

I see this lake with one side being all marsh and ducks are dive bombing in it if your in a high pressured area bet your last dollar some one will be their if their not their some one will "Jump shoot it" PERFECT!!! I set up in sight of the area but keep 500-1 mile away depending on body of water size and the singles doubles and triples seem to trickle in all day

Its not that I don't like to hunt the X trust me some of my fields become the X for multiple weeks during the season but when I know theirs other hunter I always always ALWAYS set up were no one els will weather it be a 2 mile walk in or right off the road

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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby Spunky » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:56 am

1. For me don't scout to soon. The closer to the actual hunt date the better off you'll be. Seen it to many times, have a spot the birds have been using for a while and when I would go to hunt it the birds wouldn't show up. They had moved on me.

2. Fine an area where the birds are than make the area much smaller. Find the honey spot with in the spot. It may be 50 yards from where you think it is when actually it maybe a 100 yards away. Get right where the birds were. Being off by 50 yards can really make a differnce some times.

3. The more secluded the spot the better. You might not get the large amount of birds using the spot but the quality of the hunt will be better. Prime example is about 5 years ago we were covered up with flight mallards. Huge flocks of 4-500 birds would hit the local lake during the day and spend the night roosting at another lake. The birds would come in around 8 AM and sit on the open water until around 3PM than leave. No way to get to them until I watched the birds trading around a wooded area. Pretty soon they would drop through the trees and disappear. Took the time to run across the lake and do the mile and half walk through the woods and found a spot where there was a depression in the woods that was filled with water from the recent rains. Set up the next morning and finished out in less than 5 minutes. Hunted that spot 7 times and got birds every time. The birds haven't been using that spot in the last few years due to no water being in there, but when we get a wet fall I know that the birds will be using it again.

4. Since I hunt all public land I don't put a lot time scouting except when I hunt. The pressure is pretty intense where I hunt so most places that had birds are barren. I find a place that is secluded and throw out just a few decoys and hardly ever call. It works for me.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby trswstudent » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:48 am

I want to start by thanking Alan for creating this thread. I am new to duck hunting and had questions about scouting. Also thank you to everyone who has replied as it has given me advice.

I do have a question though about scouting. Is there a best time to scout? I'm assuming morning and evening are best. Is it worth scouting mid day? Unfortunately for me the afternoon is the only free time I have to scout.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby Take em boys » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:22 pm

trswstudent wrote:I want to start by thanking Alan for creating this thread. I am new to duck hunting and had questions about scouting. Also thank you to everyone who has replied as it has given me advice.

I do have a question though about scouting. Is there a best time to scout? I'm assuming morning and evening are best. Is it worth scouting mid day? Unfortunately for me the afternoon is the only free time I have to scout.



I scout when ill be hunting... Birds move to roost rest feed not in that order but you need to know what their doing if your gonna be hunting in the afternoon every one will call you a roost buster :) lol even if you can do a quick drive by at first light to see if theirs birds flying into your spot that's better than sleeping in the extra few min it takes


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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby sharris » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:40 am

I usually get a public ground atlas and then drive around and make notes regarding the water level, visibility of water from the road, whether other cars are there, etc. and try to pick areas that are less visible (so they aren't going to get too much pressure) and have good habitat and hunt those. If the habitat is good and there isn't much pressure then birds will usually come in.

This year I am going to try something new. A couple of the lakes around me are getting closed by game and parks for maintenance/repairs. They already cabled off the roads and boat ramps so it is walk in only (the signs say closed but game and parks said walk in/day use is allowed). I figure these area should get a lot less pressure and give an advantage to people willing to walk in with a layout boat. I'm betting that 90%+ of people will just skip an area they believe is closed or isn't easy to access.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby adamfiore00 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:45 am

Where can I get a map of wmas
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby Botiz630 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:14 pm

adamfiore00 wrote:Where can I get a map of wmas


Your state's DNR website.


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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby REM1100 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:20 pm

I don't want anyone to know I am scouting or hunting so I dress in civies and have a nice shiny clean suv and drive the main roads spot the birds and then take a narrow dirt road to get a closer look usually out of sight from the main road. I make a log so I can look up the birds as they use the same area fields every year. Upon spotting I use a sub compact camera with a 20X zoom to record the location and make notes on wind direction, time and direction of travel. If I am going to hunt next morning I scout the field (from a hidden vantage point) in the morning then evening ( I stay with the birds until they leave for the roost) and then call the farmer for permission and to see what other hunters he has let on or who the hunters were from.
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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby agengo02 » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:35 pm

If you're hunting public look for areas off the beaten path or that are hard to get to. It's been my experience that public land hunters are lazy. If they can hunt a spot that they can boat up to, throw out decoys, and hunt out of the boat they will.

Look for spots holding ducks in different conditions. Spot A seems to hold birds on a strong north wind; spot B holds them when it switches from the south. Give yourself plenty of back up spots.

+1 on finding the feathers. If ducks are preening then they are content; if they are content you don't need much to get them back there.

One scenario I experienced last season: found a couple of big concentrations of ducks right before the season in a long walk in area that had just gotten lots of rain. At first glance, it looked like they were just randomly sitting in large flats of shallow water. After a few hunts and other hunters moving them around the area got more hit and miss. Ducks were still there, but it was tough to pinpoint exactly where they wanted to be in this huge area. I finally made the couple mile walk all around the area and determined that every small group of ducks were sitting in almost the exact same depth of water. Looked at old Google Earth aerials and saw that this area used to be ponds, but now with the sheetwater the whole area looked to be the same depth. From then on if there were birds using that area, you could set up on almost any pocked of water with that depth and had good hunts. Sometimes there is more going on than what you first think. You can't really beat getting out and walking around.

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Re: Scouting Technique and Tips

Postby razorrt5 » Sun May 04, 2014 10:20 pm

All great tips! I think everyone's tips are great but every place is different. For example I'm from upper Chesapeake bay area of Maryland and the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake bay are the only significant bodies of water so you have a good idea where the birds are hangin and where to scout, but now I live in Minnesota and within a ten square mile area of my house I have 9 lake (250-700 aces +) about 20 Sloughs and 30+ sizable ponds that will hold birds, how do I attempt to scout all that! there's water everywhere!!
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