First, if i found a new honey hole, I would set out road closed signs and warnings of wild dangerous animals…..kidding.
My first thought when looking for a new hunting area is human presence. Here in Oregon its hard to get your own patch of timber. Worse if you dont get off the beaten path. So, I get on my maps and look for some areas I can get to off that beaten path. Once I have found a area that not many strive to get to and plan a road trip to the area for some scouting. When there I check the trails, creeks and water holes. Look for intersections of trails that show good use. This is obviously a good tree stand location. The same thing with water holes, “although I like to leave those alone in a area I hunt”. Why? Well, I have found that if a water hole is visited by people to many times the animals move on to another area. Also I check out fence locations. Especially on a ridge and in the creek bottoms. These are a good crossing point for aniamals. I dont worry to much if I dont see a lot of animals. Tracks and sign tell just as much as seeing them. I am not sure what state you hunt or the type of land you hunt but when scouting its a great time to plan for the work after the shot. I’ll look over a area and decide how I would get the animal out of the area it would be laying in. Some canyons here in Oregon can be exhausting. So, I have found a few areas that I dont hunt because I know I would not be able to get the animal out before it went sour. I hunt a lot by myself and/or with one other guy. Depending on some factors and knowing the terrain I am hunting in saves me a real dissappointment by knowing better than to kill a animal there. I have not used trail cams much althouogh If and when I get one I will. Maybe not so much as to see how big a deer/elk is, but more to see the time of day or night the tracks I am seeing were made. When I find a great tree for a stand, blind or just a great area to stalk I will set out Salt blocks. I dont always do this but will depending on how the animals traffic looks at a specific spot I may need them to be.
Have fun and enjoy the scouting trip. Its a great non pressure time to take the family and a “tight lipped” friend.
Good luck in your search. Have fun!!