Editor's Note: Most deer hunters don't really start thinking about or scouting for the bucks they want to take until 2-weeks before deer season. However, the hunters who consistently take big bucks already have started scouting right now in the spring.
Often hunters don't harvest trophy bucks, because the lands they hunt don't home any trophy bucks. To know whether or not the land you hunt on has a trophy buck, begin to scout and search for shed antlers in the spring. Bob Zaiglin of Uvalde, Texas, a well-known wildlife biologist, reports, "If you diligently search for shed antlers, beginning in the spring and continuing through the summer, you can get a reasonably-good picture of the number and size of bucks you have on your land prior to hunting season. If you fail to find any big antlers and only see small basket racks, then you may learn you're hunting for a trophy buck where one doesn't exist. But if you locate several large antlers, you can assume that a big deer is on the property you hunt."
A place often overlooked where you can see deer before the season is naturally-occurring and/or man-made mineral licks. When temperatures soar, deer develop a need for salt and minerals, which they may find at springs that have come-up from the ground and brought mineral deposits with them. Another productive place to spot deer before the season is old smokehouse sites where meat once was preserved by the use of hardwood smoke and salt. As the salt pulled the juices from the meat, the solution of salt and animal juices ran into the ground and today draw deer to them where the old smokehouses have rotted away.
Also in the summer by watching farm crops, food plots and pastures near the land you hunt, you will see bucks sporting velvet antlers come-out into the fields just at daylight and at dark. Although most eastern hunters don't use spotting scopes like western hunters do, you can drive through croplands on roads and see deer and determine antler sizes, if you'll use a spotting scope with a window mount. If no roads are close to these croplands, set-up a tree stand 100- or 200-yards away from a feeding site. Take a tripod with you into the tree stand, and mount your spotting scope to study bucks from afar.
This is just a sample of what you'll learn in the new Kindle eBook, "Deer and Fixings." by John E. Phillips. Go to http://www.amazon.com/Deer-Fixings-ebook/dp/B007L97HCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335554863&sr=8-1;
or, go to www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks
, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, smart phone or computer.