Scouting Whitetail Deer

Velvet Bucks

Let’s face it. We all love the sight of big velvet bucks on our trail cameras. Better yet, seeing them in person while glassing fields from a distance. Scouting whitetail deer during the summer can lead to some tremendously valuable information for early season hunting. Depending on when your bow hunting season starts, you may have as little as a couple weeks before the deer start changing there food sources and moving to their preferred fall habitat. I’m such a deer fanatic that I’ll do a ton of summer scouting, but I do it with the knowledge that it’s really not the preferred time to be looking for fresh sign.

Scouting Whitetail Deer in Summer

Summer is hot.  It doesn’t matter where you live in the whitetail’s range, if you are hiking through the woods then you are dealing with bugs. Whether its ticks, chiggers, or mosquitoes, sometimes even wearing the best bug spray money can buy wont keep you from having an encounter with one of these pain in the butt bugs.  That being said, sweating buckets and dealing with bugs are something that I gladly do every chance I get if it means the possibility of finding a monster buck to go after come October. Most of the time, finding them is the hardest part. Taking advantage of a summer pattern could be the difference maker for you this fall if you can recognize the pattern.

Find the Buck

When scouting whitetail deer during the summer, you have an advantage. This time of year deer aren’t worried about being hunted by humans. Though they still flee when they see us, I can’t help but think they know they aren’t in real danger during the summer.  To be able to kill a mature buck in early October is a true accomplishment. To do this, you must find him first. That means glassing fields from a distance until you have located one. Then continue to watch that field on a nightly basis to confirm regular use. Once established, take note of where the buck enters the field each night. You can bet that his bedding area is in that general direction.

Pattern the Buck

Know what time the buck enters his preferred evening food source each night. That  will give you an  idea of how early you need to be in your stand. Also, make sure that you set your stands up to be downwind of where you have watched that deer enter the field. When scouting, take note of what the wind direction i son the days he’s in the field. Does he only come on certain wind directions? Does he come earlier or later depending on other factors? Is he with other bucks or is he loner? All of these questions help you pattern him. If you’re going to take the time to scout during the summer, then make sure you do it well enough to capitalize on it when the time comes. Your window is small.


Honestly, I don’t do as much summer scouting as I’d like. With family outings and yard chores, getting the time to scout is tough. Add the fact that the fresh information you get has a short shelf life and you can see why many hunters don’t bother. There are many reasons to stay out of the woods during the summer. But there’s that one big reason that summer scouting could land you your next giant. That one big reason is what makes it all worth it. When you put the work in, the rewards can be great. Happy Hunting!

2 comments on “Scouting Whitetail Deer During the Summer

  • I thought it was interesting how you said that the deer usually aren’t worried about being hunted in the summer months. I would have thought that they would be worried at any time. When I go hunting next year, I think I will try shouting out the deer.

    • Well, in terms of being hunted in general, yes. But, not in terms of being hunted by humans. Personally, I think it has more to do with the energy that we project when we see deer in a non hunting situation versus when we are hunting, but that’s a whole different conversation.
      Thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment!

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