Scouting Mountain Whitetails

Scouting Mountain Whitetails

Here are a handful of the best tips I can come up with for those settings (by “those settings” I mean any kind of big woods hunting).


From season’s close to spring green up is your best friend. Last year’s rut sign is still out there and can help paint the picture of how bucks are using the habitat/terrain.


Scouting in the snow has a bunch of disadvantages (scrapes and some major fall trails covered, as well as the extra work of walking through snow), but is a great time to go to school. Find the biggest set of tracks you can (not a guarantee they’re buck tracks, but odds are and you should find clues to help validate or disprove they are during the exercise) and back track them (back track so you aren’t unwittingly nudging the deer). Follow them long enough and you’ll eventually find where it was bedding. When you do, crouch down in the bed, look around and ask why, of the entire landscape, the deer choose this spot to bed? Do that enough and you’ll see a pattern unfolding and be able to take far more accurate educated guesses on where the bucks are bedding, without having to beat the brush. No guarantee he’ll be bedded there next fall, but at least it’s a start.


If minerals are legal there, Bobby Worthington’s technique can work quite well. This spring, put mineral licks and cams on the edges of all the thickest pockets of cover you can find and let the cams tell you if Mr. Big is living in them. He does that on mountainous public grounds, as not a lot of ppl out there to steal cams in spring and mid summer, so long as you stay off trails…That boy kills some great bucks in areas not at all known for great bucks.


In all big woods settings I’ve hunted, I find that the majority of the deer spend the majority of their time in a fairly small percent of the habitat. I’ll be honest. I’ve never hunted the mountains of VA. So, I’m not the best person to tell you what to look for there that offers highest odds of the deer gravitating to those relatively small areas. That said, not doubt it’s based on food and/or comfort and lack of pressure, just like the big woods in WI, MN, MI and Canada I’ve hunted.


Also, topography will be your friend. Deer use topography everywhere, and no doubt that’s simply put on steroids in the mountains. Cuts, points, waterways, benches and so on are natural deer movement corridors everywhere, and they no doubt are there, as well.


Hope that disjointed post helps in some way!