Pre season scouting anyone


For those hunters out there not currently chasing black bears or gearing up for moose, just a reminder that it’s nearing that time of year when pre-season deer scouting is in order.

This past weekend I was at my hunt camp and visited my deer woods to check out what’s been going on since last fall. While there, I put out a trail camera and investigated some of the old runways for activity. 

I must admit I was a tad concerned about entering the deer woods this year following two meagre years in a row, but it looks as though things may be on the rebound. 


I was pleased to see a fair numbers of old and new deer tracks around; indicating that at least some deer are still around from last year, and undoubtedly some new critters have arrived this summer.


Man, I don’t care who you are, just setting one foot into your hunting territory at this time of year is exciting.

Has anyone else done any pre-season deer scouting?




40 thoughts on “Pre season scouting anyone”

  1. Going up on the 17th to put out some feed and a trail cam, then I’ll check it on the weekend of the 25th when we have out fall work weekend.

    Seeing lots of deer at the cottage on the Quebec side, seems like they’ve really bounced back.

    1. Iggy, depending on how your camp does this year, would you consider hunting around your cottage next year?


  2. Great minds think alike Outdoorsguy. I was at my camp all weekend as well, hanging stands and putting out cameras. It’s a disappointing year for apples, but there seem to be a ton of acorns. They were falling all around me while I was putting up my stands in some oaks. Hopefully the deer will still be on them come Oct. 1. There was a decent amount of fresh sign, tracks and droppings. Like you said, it looks like things might be on the rebound!

    1. sure-shot dave, regarding apples, this year it seems to depend on where you are. Where I hunt on the QC side the apples were all over the place while Ive heard many areas of eastern ON did not do so well.


  3. Heading out this weekend for our annual shoot and the next weekend to the deer camp for some scouting, wood cutting, and meet up with the other hunters for the annual pre-hunt meet. Looking forward to it!

  4. Out at the camp today.Lots of deer sign,young and old. It may seem hard to believe but i seen some moss that had been pawed up in the last couple of days and a couple good size tracks in front and behind. In the hardwoods the acorns are the size of quarters. Last week saw an 8pt on the edge of a clearing,and today 4 does. So things are looking good in our neck of the woods.

  5. Sounds like a great acorn crop this year, Paul..which means my Acorn Rage should work extra well…if you’ve never tried it, you best check it out.

    As the kid’s say, Its the Bomb baby!

    Acord Rage is sold in solid form or powder..and basically its ground up acorns with a bit of other stuff mixed it. Last fall I put out one of the solids…which screws into a tree…and the deer went crazy for it, especially the bucks. The biggest buck I photographed was still licking the plastic dispensor….even after the bait was all gone.

    By the way, my Dad picks it up at Bass Pro in Florida when he’s down there in the winter.


  6. supposed to be heading up weekend after next to do some work on the camp and hump around the bush alot. so looking forward to it.

  7. Scouting shmouting I’m going hunting. I leave tomorrow morning at 6:30 for a ten day deer archery hunt in Manitoba!

    I just hope they are not flooded out. The forcast for where we are going is almost 100 mm of rain over the next few days. Talking to the farmer we have contact with he ahs spent more time getting tractors out of the mud than harvesting so far this past while.

    PS I start scouting the day after deer season ends!

  8. Well Mr Fancy Pants Rick..hope you get a chance to pull one of those big Manitoba bucks out of the mud..of course, we’ll need to see some photos afterwards!


  9. I believe it might be Methamphetamine …hehe…

    No, they add a mixture a molasses and other yummy stuff to the Acorn Rage block…just to hold it all together…but it seems to be as addictive to deer as crystal meth!


    1. I just another photo above from last fall…you can see the Acorn Rage block screwed to the small yellow birch beside me… that was September 27th and by Thanksgiving the entire block had been consumed!


      1. Ok, I just posted another trail cam photo – taken from the same spot 1 month later (Oct 27) and easily two weeks after the Acorn Rage had been totally consumed…you can see this nice 9-pointer licking and chewing on the Acorn Rage’s plastic dispenser…

        This big guy showed up two nights in a row heading straight for that tree…and then I never saw him again.


  10. Nope, no hunting in Qc for me, at 275 bucks for a license, it’s too steep for me, and bucks only, and whedn you do shoot, lets say it’s early, say opening day, your hunt is over, and no hounds.
    I’ve been invited by a group up there, and it’s beautiful hardwoods country, but no.

  11. Jeff,

    I hunt deer in WMU 58 ~ Ontario Side by Constant Lake.

    to follow up on the topic of scouting and not sure if this is part of the Acord Rage topic, But we usually put salt blocks for the moose hunt and the blocks usually last more than 1 season. We put out a salt block In May and the territory is totally butchered up. Looks like the moose have been visiting frequently. lot’s of signs.

    We put out another salt block last weekend.

    Pretty well pumped because I got an Adult bull tag this ….My first one ever.

    1. Alain, I have used those large ‘livestock’ salt blocks before and yes they do last a long time. Ritchie’s Feed & Seed sells a variety of them and I’ve tried a bunch from acorn infused, to apple flavoured salt licks, to sugar flavoured.

      It’s funny, the deer behind my property at home don’t really seem to go for any of these…but the mountain deer where I hunt are a whole different story.

      Sounds like you’re in for a great moose hunt Alain…wish you luck!


  12. I have just spent another day in the bush and am convinced that this is going to be a good year.Between the pictures i have on my game cameras and what i saw today (5 bucks and 3 does) the deer are in remarkably good shape. None of the bucks were sporting huge racks but they were very visible. I am disappointed with the bears this year and am beginning to wander how many are actually around because berries on trees that are bent right to the ground normally are not even touched and baits are not hit hardly either. either there preoccupied elsewhere or there are not as many as we think,and only the problem bears are getting all the attention.

    1. Hey Paul, I guess that’s good and bad news.

      I’m really surprised there is not more bear sign around, but you know how those things can travel as you mentioned.

      Great news on the deer though!! A couple more years of rebound and we’ll be back in business again rebuilding the herd.


  13. Judging from the calls I recieved while out in Manitoba there are lots of bears around. The seasons have just started and already I have as many bears in as I had all of last fall.

    PS A ten point came back with me from Manitoba. Not a big deer but a nice one.

    1. Welcome back Whitetail Guru..and congrats!!

      Perhaps you could send me a pic of that bad boy…along with a brief account of what happened, and I’ll share it with the world.


  14. Rick i take it you are a taxidermist, congrats on ten pointer. i had trail came out for two weeks just picked it up on friday with 253 picks on it. i was surprised not to have any bear picks or how little sign there is. last year was insane around there with bears this year so far pretty quite. we got some pretty funny pics though one with a four pointer staring right at camera with his tongue sticking out.(he was eating an apple)

  15. Congrats Rick, any trouble bringing it back, sure hope your not spreading any Mad Cow Disease
    While you were gone there was a big controversy about transporting wild game from Man. to Ont.
    or Que to Ont. Sillyness
    We put out two trail cams at camp last Friday and we are going back up this weekend for a work weekend and we’ll check them then. Yes we also put out corn covered in some kind of sweet molasis. Bought at the TSC Store

    1. Iggy, is that corn-covered feed meant for deer? I didnt realize TSC stores carried that kind of they carry other deer feeds, salt blocks, etc? Did you go to the one on the highway in Rockland?


  16. We had no problems bringing back the antlers. The meat went to the landowner.

    If you are checking this blog out Mr. CO the skull cap was cleaned of all “tissue” and dried before bring it back although I am still waiting to hear back from MNR on a definition of “tissue.” We did not bring the cape back this time.

    Jeff I will get the photos downloaded and sent you one. They were not great as they were taken after dark.

  17. Iggy party hunting is allowed in Manitoba. There was no way I was getting out of my stand until legal shooting time was up even though I saw my buck go down. There was a bigger buck on the other side of the field, we still had two tags to fill and a hour of shooting time left.

    1. I don’t blame you for staying, thats exciting!

      So Manitoba allows party hunting, Ontario does too and I know of others…I guess QC is the only province that does Not allow it..too bad.

      See any real monsters out there, Rick?


  18. Jeff as far as I am aware Ontario and Manitoba are the only provinces to allow party hunting. Several states allow it but it is rare.

    Parties in Manitoba are restricted to four hunters. You must sign each others licence and are limited to one party.

    I know you were teasing me Iggy but I thought it was a good time to tell hunters about some laws in another province.

    Jeff did you get my reply to your email about the big buck from eight years ago? It got a message that said it was awaiting delivery.

  19. Hmmm..only Manitoba and Ontario, are you sure Rick? None the less, at least you can benefit while you’re out there.

    No, I’m sorry there was a server down yesterday and I had no email for the was like having both my arms cut off!!


  20. not being able to party hunt is one of the main issues with me not hunting in Quebec, be damned if I’m going to buy a license for close to 300 bucks and have my hunt done the first day, and kicked out of the bush, but could I hold back and not shoot a 10 pointer on the first day? Dumb
    TSC store in Arnprior, just off the highway, and it’s got a big picture of a deer on the bag. It smells so good I think I could survive on it for a short time. I’ve got my trail cam on 1 minute videos and I’d send you a couple but every time I send you anything like that it bounces back.

  21. What about acorns – do they become undesirable to deer later in October? Wondering if it pays to leave my tree stand near the white oaks on my property for a mid-late October hunt.

    Great blog by the way… kudos to all the contributors.

    1. Swamp Buck, I know that acorns contain Tannic Acid which is known to be toxic to horses..however, from what I understand can be consumed by deer into late fall without a problem.

      Besides the fact that if you really do have White Oak have something very special there!! I’ve actually never seen White Oak growing anywhere in my deer woods as they tend to be a more southern hardwood. What we have mostly in eastern ON and western QC, as you probably know, is the Red Oak..typical ‘pointed’ oak leaf..whereas the White Oak leaf has rounded edges.

      If you really do have White Oak on your property, I had always heard that white-tailed deer – if given the choice – would eat White Oak acorns over Red Oak acorns every time!

      In a nutshell, I’d say leave that stand right where it is..and when Mr. buck shows up to do some munching, you know what to do. Then you can send me the photo so I can post it here.

      Thanks for stopping by….



  22. Thanks very much for your insight Jeff.

    I don’t know too much about trees, but I’m learning… we were told the woods include white and red oak. I will definitely pay more attention to the shape of their leaf as I never bothered before. Will red oak acorns still attract deer any time in October?


  23. SB, you’re good with red oak acorns all season long, if you ask me..and if you’ve been reading some of the other posts, my the successful deer bait/feed I use at one of my trail cam locations is called Acorn Rage.

    Trust me, the taste and smell of acorns seems to drive them nuts..especially the bucks!

    I just realized you might be located in southern/southwestern ON..and not up here in eastern ON..which might explain the White Oak!


  24. You’re correct I’m in Southern Ontario. I’m hunting in the southern part of Muskoka. I heard and learned for myself that the deer there aren’t interested in apples and figured there wasn’t much sense in using them when there are acorns everywhere. I do have a bag of acorn rage I wanted to use…. figuring they’d be familiar with that smell.

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