Scouting Questions

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Scouting Questions

Postby Oneandonlychaz » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:20 pm

Hey guys, new to this duck hunting thing (haven't shot a bird yet) and am trying to get on a few birds this season. I've been trying to get out and find some locations but have a few questions about scouting.

When do most of you guys scout? Are you all going out the night before and looking for birds, the same time of day that you expect to hunt, or somewhere in between? This year I'm most likely only going to be on public land (unfortunately) and went to a place today that I thought would hold birds and flushed two mallards right where I expected them. I don't want to return too much and spook them away (if that happens?) but I know the opener is a few weeks away yet. I am not looking for anyones spot, I have no issues trekking around myself to find birds but when is more the question. I obviously know that weather changes and the birds will move south but how far in advance can you scout out and find birds and expect them to be in the same spot when you return.

Also during the season if you are scouting, are you bringing your guns with you and if you flush a bird are you jump shooting them or just making a mental note and coming back a following day?

Thanks for any help and looking forward to this season and hopefully a cold winter.

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Re: Scouting Questions

Postby Montauker » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:46 pm

1. Scouting here is different than in hunting videos and in the west where the rules of the game are different. There you have lots of birds and lots of access opportunities, so you drive around until you find them (often referred to as the X), then get permission and set up in that spot the next day. Here you're looking for spots that either hold birds or are in an area with a lot of bird activity, might only be a few, might be a few thousand when the geese and divers are here.

2.If you jump shoot while scouting you may get a few, but birds that are walked out of a creek will return. If you shoot it they will likely not return.

Try to scout in a way the doesn't disturb birds. If you walked them out of a spot yesterday I'd probably not check it again up close. Maybe try to get a vantage point to see if they are coming to that spot or roosting there. If they are roosting or loafing , when are they coming there?

As you learn patterns and areas you'll figure out that scouting isn't always about being on the X but rather hedging you bets. For example, I hunt a river on the Eastern Shore for divers. Do the divers stack up in front of the blind, nope, but if we find them at the mouth of the river the usual pattern is that they will come up river in the morning or on a certain tide. So we check the mouth, two miles away from the actual blind.
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Re: Scouting Questions

Postby PSUbuzz » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:32 am

montauker hit it pretty spot on. Get yourself some binos and try to scout spots from a distance so as not to spook birds. He is correct that if you shoot at some while scouting, theres very little chance you will see them again in that same spot. As far as public land goes, its tough to scout because of so many variables. You can scout a public swamp one morning to plan to hunt the next day, but someone else can beat you there in the morning, or after you leave, someone else could come along and jump shoot them or spook them out. Scouting public waterways such as rivers and the bay are especially difficult because all it takes is one boat to push birds in the direction away from you and then you never see them.

When it comes to public land scouting, your best bets are to really focus on weather, wind direction, and tide if applicable. Note what the weather is like and where you see birds during certain weather conditions. You can save yourself a lot of gas and time scouting if you know where birds like to be during the weather expected for your hunt.
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