|Scouting for elk!
Before I go on I do what to define what scouting is... According to the Webster's dictionary, the verb scout means, "to spy on or explore an area carefully in order to obtain information." When you Google for antonyms (opposite) of the word scout, you find words such as, "neglect, ignore, find, and overlook." When scouting an area for hunting I want to stress the definition of scouting as the act of spying or exploring CAREFULLY to obtain information (emphasis on carefully). So in other words, scouting is spying on an area carefully without neglecting or finding, as an attempt to obtain information. I can already tell I have lost a lot of you through my boring English lesson on what scouting really is.... So now I will explain what I mean!
Effective scouting is when you are able to explore an area thoroughly to the point of discovering the animal you are pursuing without that animal knowing you found them! To do this, it takes a combination of many things including time, effort, tools, and skills. Especially if the area you are scouting is a new area, some of your efforts may be trial and error so don't get frustrated if you happen to be discovered.
Time - Scouting is not something that you can do casually and do it effectively. Just like anything in life, if you want to be good at something you need to practice it. As many of you know, a successful hunter must spend much more time scouting than they do hunting! This time scouting will be well appreciated when it comes time for your hunt to start. Many of the posts online about scouting tell you that the best time to scout is a few weeks before your hunt opens... As this information is true and accurate, what it fails to suggest is that you get familiar with the area much earlier than that so that you can observe the animals from many different locations without spooking them. Some things to look for while scouting early spring and mid summer are access points and glassing spots. These two items will help avoid spooking the animals once they begin to settle into their patterns closer to hunting season. The more time you spend in your area without spooking the animals, the better chance you will have of closing the distance on the trophy you are after.
|One of my glassing areas to watch for elk!
|My bad example of poor trail camera placement! haha
In conclusion it is simple really but easier said then done... To effectively scout you will do everything and anything to make sure your presence is not known by the animal you are after while still getting the upper hand and knowledge you are after. A combination of time, effort, tools, and skills is necessary to scout effectively. If any of these four factors are missing, then the scouting trip may be as unsuccessful as some of your hunting seasons have been :) and I'm speaking of first hand knowledge right there! haha