Big Woods Scouting
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Thread: Big Woods Scouting

  1. #1
    Fawn cge7's Avatar
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    Big Woods Scouting

    I hunt public land in the pine barrens and generally know the what to look for when scouting but my big question is what do you guys really focus on/look for when scouting the big woods like the pines where oak flats arent all too common and the terrain is flat (for the most part) and theres limited to no agricultural fields for miles.

    Im just looking for some tips as to what I should concentrate on. Im starting to wean myself away from baiting as I dont like the idea of the 'biggest bait pile' competition that hunting has started to become and want to get back to the actual sport and skill of it. Thanks
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    Fawn Pfibraio72's Avatar
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    Rub lines!!! Hunter the pines for years mostly driving and hated it lol. But the best thing to look for is a rub line in my opinion. A fresh rub line means activity. Fresh Scrapes also


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    Monster Buck jumpthestring's Avatar
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    its simple deer sign , scat, and deer trails . congrats on going bait free..

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    Dominant Buck slayer1962's Avatar
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    I am new ( 4 years) to the pines and know exactly what you mean. I hunted Sussex county and could find deer sign and trails and pinch points. I came down south and looked around saying everything is the same ! Pine trees and sand all flat! I 3 foot hump is a hill down here! I spent time just seeing where deer moved. I have great spots but I cannot tell you why they are great except I always ( 50%) see deer .
    Guys that grew up in the Pines find sign or (hills) that us Northern born hunters never see. I looked for 100 foot hills creating a funnel. I used trail cameras , bait and boot leather to narrow down my spots. My problem is like yours I think, if you asked me for another spot I don't know how to find you one without trial and error.

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    Non Typical deadonshot's Avatar
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    This fall will make my 44th year hunting the pines. The easiest scouting you will ever do there is in January through March. My other weapon is trail cameras. Also, do not fall in love with one or two spots. Deer will pattern you in the pines and you need options. Also food sources change from year to year- like heavy acorn crop/to no acorns. And as a result deer relocate and use different trails. Watch for predator sign as well. I have a spot on public that I used to see 20-30 deer in a day. Now there is heavy predator presence and very few deer. I hope this helps.
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    Fawn cge7's Avatar
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    @slayer1962 i grew up in the pines these woods are my backyard haha. im just a self taught hunter so since i was 14 its been all trial and self teaching (with some successes) but i always relied on scouting trails and scat, whatever food source i could find and/or throwing a bit of corn (never a real heavy bait guy). Wish i didnt go that route now as i never really learned the art to hunting the pines..now that im starting to go bait free im just hoping to get any and all pointers i can

    @deadonshot yea i know what you mean ive had to move a handful of times in the last 5 years. i have one stand out with two more and a blind ready to go i just need to find the right spots for them

    thanks for the input guys. is there any terrain features (creeks, old logging roads, etc.) you guys focus on when scouting? or look more for trails, scat, previous year's rublines and sign of that sort?
    Last edited by cge7; 07-26-2017 at 02:15 PM.

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    Monster Buck LBI Surfrat's Avatar
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    After these rains go look around the bogs. Deer are like us they will use the dryer option. Everything is thick now so it won't be easy to see as much. As already mentioned go in January February and the runs/trails will be very noticeable. Use a GPS to map those spots. Look at topo maps. Look for large mature pines behind bogs. It may be dry ground and that's where they will be when pressure hits. But getting to them quietly and without being smelled is a whole other topic. Pine deer from the Einstein bloodline.

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    Dominant Buck bill43's Avatar
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    Then only true way to learn an area in the pines is get in there and hunt. Pay attention to where see deer. Not only while sitting on a stand but also while moving through the woods. Eventually you will start to see patterns develop.
    For the most part deer in the pines are browsers but Look for areas of oaks (They're there). Plus scrub oak thickets. Scrub oaks drop acorns early. Also they're more of a bush that tree. So the deer will eat them right off the bush
    The small clearing in the pines will also draw deer. Especilly the grassy ones. During the rut theses areas will generally be heavily scraped. I have a grassy clearing I keep a cam on year round there is always activity.

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    Typical Dominant Buck's Avatar
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    I hate the pines, give me the mountains, ridges anyday, lol.
    Good luck. I do a lot of scouting in late winter, when snow on ground, gives you tracks, bedding area, etc to follow. I GPS certain areas, such as remote bedding areas, funnels, but that is up north
    Good luck
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    Non Typical mikmaze's Avatar
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    find water and walk it, small creek, walk the creek bank to find where they cross, find 2 within 150 yds, and set up in the middle. sneak in, and out as quiet as can be. pines are dead quiet as opposed to areas with highway noise. smells important too, around me, always someone drying a load of laundry, downy, snuggle, you name it, it wafts through the woods. down there, not nearly as prevelant, makes your scent stand out like a huge stop sign.

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