Watching a video featuring John Eberhart recently, I was struck by the amount of information he remembers from every one of the trophy deer he has hunted. In fact, he goes on to recommend every hunter keeps a journal of each hunt they go on. It’s a really interesting idea because one of the common threads of all elite deer hunters is they are very well organized. For the rest of us, juggling careers, family, and hunting can make it hard to keep everything straight. Keeping a record of what happened each time we hit the woods gives us a wealth of information to go over later.
Record A Synopsis
For starters, write a few sentences about how the hunt went. Questions to consider are things such as:
- What time did you get to your stand?
- Did you bump any deer on the way in?
- What deer did you see when you were in your stand? If you saw deer, what time did they walk by your location? How were they acting and what were they doing?
- Did any deer become aware of your presence? If so…how did they react?
- Were there other hunters in the area?
- Did you find any sign in the woods? What type of sign (rubs, scrapes, tracks, scat, bedding areas, etc)?
Including as much data as possible can help you better figure out a property when you are looking back through it the next day. Record the date, time, temperature, moon phase, wind direction, thermals, and barometric pressure. These details may not always be useful in the moment, but over time and as you develop a larger data set, it can help you predict how deer respond to changing weather patterns and other external factors.
Using a digital notetaking program to keep a hunting journal can be really helpful. It allows you the ability to include pictures of the area you hunted and include screenshots of maps with your exact location marked. Also, using a program you can access from your phone will allow you to record notes anytime.
So much of successful scouting is really understanding how a property works for the wildlife on it. Spending time on the land is important, but the real work comes from the analysis of what you learned while walking the property. If hunting a property is like solving a puzzle, then each piece of data and observation you analyze is like another piece. When the puzzle is complete and you really understand how a particular area functions you will be in a much better position to go in and kill a deer.