So I got permission to hunt this 280 acre tract of land in Northern Virginia Suburbia. Its all wooded with the exception of a power line that borders 2 of the four edges. No food plots or anything just houses ~100 yards away from the property edge, a decent sized road and some offices. The property has a creek on the power line edge as well. Just trying to figure out how to start scouting this thing for trails and deer. I walked around a quarter f the property aimlessly and found a trail or two, some wild Turkeys and what I believe was a pretty good size buck.
Any suggestions or tips? My first time doing this kinda thing.
Location: Upstate NYMy first thought is to get on to an aerial photo site and see what it looks like from the air. No telling what you’ll see – funnels, cover, meadows, etc. Second would be to find a vantage point somewhere on the periphery and spend a little little time viewing from a distance to see what might show up. I thinks it’s also necessary to hoof it through the property to see what’s in there – mast crops, fruit trees, clover, etc. A few trips in isn’t going to chase all of the deer out. It’s possible that some of the surrounding residents are already making their presence known. You might find some existing tree stands. It might be necessary to post the property. Then you can always position some trail cams but I’m not into them. Sounds like it could be a great opportunity. Good luck.Yea I used google maps to get terrain and aerial photos and then combined with the Google My Tracks app to track my walk through 1/4 of the property and tag things like trail, poop, funnel and turkeys.
Unfortunately there are zero fruit trees and very little fields of clover. It appears that there is a “field” which is maybe 5 or 6 acres but its close to the road and office buildings and not very good trees to get a stand in.
The property really is just a bunch of hardwoods with large sections being dense collections of younger pine trees.
There is a creek that runs the length of the back of the property and they’d have to cross over the powerline to get to the creek, so i’m figuring maybe there should be a trail that runs across?
Joined: 6/21/2007Looks like possibly a large field off the property in the lower left of the photo. Anywhere to watch that from in the evenings? Mast should be visible with a pair of binos in the trees right now if there is any. Try to find some white oaks bearing nuts and you will be in the October bow hunting chips! You mentioned pine thickets!!! Or any thickets!!! That would be my goal in assessing the property initially….to walk it thoroughly noting the thickest of the thickest, those will no doubt be bedding areas. Come late October and into November, I would be set up on the edge of those. With a property that size, you should be able to identify a couple spots that you could set up on the down wind edge and have stands for all winds. Example: dead west wind, be set up on the east edge of one of them. Set up about 20-30 yards off the edge, close enough to be able to shoot the edge, yet cover 20-30 yards the other direction also. Whitetails are edge creatures, the love edges, breaks in terrain or cover, and especially bucks during the rut. If you find two thickets close together, say where a corner of each is within 100 yards or less of another, you can bet your bottom dollar deer will travel between those two points.
Also, looking at this same piece of property in TOPO map form can help you identify pinches and funnels in terrain, then you can go to those exact spots and scout them. A pinch or funnel is worthless unless it pinches them or funnels to or from something they want to go to anyway….I’ve learned that the hard way!
Location: In your stand while your at work!I agree in looking at aerial maps – look for where other properties border this one as that’s a possible travel place from property to property… especially if not hunted. Scout the NE side hard. The dominate wind is from the west and with water and drainage in that area there should be lots of browse to hunt early. Look for the white oaks and or a group of them especially if they have a lot of horizontal branches and hit them when its raining acorns. Not sure if that’s a trail, sewer or gas line… in the SE but that has potential(best spot for me right now unless its a walking path…). Look for trails crossing it and follow them, hunt the edges where they cross as they are good at times. I marked the map of areas I would look at because there seems to be something different there like ridge or change in cover. Look for small openings in the woods as I see these places attract lots of activity and doe love to run thru them when in chased in the rut… The spot to the NW is simply a funnel and deer always hit back yards. So many people go to the middle and my secret is to let then and stay close to the edge or by homes as the deer are use to that activity. In this pic it’s hard to tell and it’s all the same. Looks like Fairfax VA
Just my .2 doesn’t mean a thing without boots on the ground. I would walk all of it way before season and THAT will tell you.My Buck killing skills are sick – too bad there not contagious!!! Big Bucks are easy - That's why I let them go and shoot little young ones :)280 acres … that’s nothing. I hunt 16,000 acres and I recommend doing what I do.
1. Wipe out all the sign … tracks, scatter the dung, etc. Sometimes I just rub it out with a boot, other times I carry a broom.
2. Determine prevailing wind. Walk down wind of trails looking for rubs. Locate old and newer rub lines.
3. Plot the food sources by time of growth/season both on and off the property. They will give you an idea of the trails.
4. Plot the water sources on and off the property, they too will give you an idea of the trails.
280 acres isn’t enough to hold deer. You are looking for trails crossing the property. Find them, determine the prevailing wind, locate your ‘trees’, and set your stands.I am in herndon, if you need a hunting buddy. let me know, good luck.
Joined: 9/9/2004Remember one thing gjarcher, this is Eastern suburban whitetail deer hunting, not Western mule deer hunting. Whitetails will bed down on your back porch if nobody bothers them. And if food, water, and shelter are nearby, that’s where they’ll stay! The rut may get the bucks moving around, not necessarily the doe.
Q2 and Bow4Um had some great suggestions, but the best suggestion is “boots on the ground”! You have to go see what’s out there and what the deer are doing. Suburban hunting can be weird, the deer can be anywhere!It's not how far you shoot, but how close you get.Yes, I know. I hunted Virginia for 15 years … Loudoun and Fairfax Counties mostly. Quantico, Ft Belvoir, Davison Army Air Field, and suburban areas … shot a lot of deer out of backyards. Did it just like I recommended…get rid of the confusing, old sign so you can pattern current movements.Yup I’ve boots on the ground a bit and found some things. Also have a picture of someone on the property likely trespassing… Sooooo I have my 300 blackout with me for tracking this feller down.
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