When hunting or scouting a piece of property, an aerial photo is your best friend. Aerial photos are available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for as little as $10. And the internet makes it easy to get aerial photos for your hunting area. Just go to the USGS site (http://mapping.usgs.gov/) and you’ll find all the information you need to buy them. And there are many other sites out there that offer mapping services.
An aerial photo shows the relationship between fields, creeks, hardwoods, bottlenecks, clear-cuts, fencelines and ponds. Look for dense cover (where the deer are more likely to bed), food sources, and the transition zones between feeding and bedding areas.
The photo will tell you compass directions, and you can mark stand locations, deer trails, and the best approaches to the stands.
When planning a hunt, look at the weather forecast and then plan your attack by using the aerial photo. You have to have the wind in your favor. Wind direction is the single most critical aspect of deer hunting, and your aerial photo will tell you which stand will be best to hunt on a given day, and it will help you determine the best route in to your stand.
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Ok, I know it has been forever since I posted something on here. You all probably thought I had given up on you. But, that is not the case, it has just been very busy around here lately. Unbelieveably, deer season is now officially over. I had more good luck this year than I have had in any other year. I took 2 bucks with a bow, 1 with a muzzleloader and one with a rifle. I also took 3 does with a rifle, and one with a muzzleloader. Needless to say, my freezer (and my in-law’s freezer) are well stocked for the year. I also hunted 3 different states this year. I tagged one buck in Pennsylvania, and two does in Alabama. The rest were taken in my home state of West Virginia.
It was a great year, as most of the folks in our hunting party, including my brothers, my uncle, and one of my best friends were able to take at least one deer. Even in the best of circumstances, it is pretty unique to have that many folks in one party be able to successfully hunt deer!
My Pennsylvania hunt is probably the most memorable. I got to hunt with my dad, and we both scored on nice bucks. He tagged a nice 10 pointer, with 6 points on one side, and 4 on the other. I got a nice 9 pointer. Both were taken under “challenging” circumstances. Dad shot his buck on a dead run. In fact, it was running so hard that when it died, it smacked its head into a tree, and broke one antler off, level with the skull. I shot my buck at 420 yards, the furthest distance at which I have ever killed a deer. I’m sure you have noticed the picture of the two bucks over there to the left. My dad is on the left, and my son is in the middle. He absolutely loved being around all the deer this year!
I don’t know if we will ever have a year as successful as this one was again. Even without the success, this was a great, enjoyable year. It will be well remembered, as I am having my PA buck mounted for the wall, as is my dad. They are being done in the same pose, which is a “pedistal” mount. I will be sure to put some pics up here when I get the deer head back, probably some time in June. My dad had been trying for sometime to get me to hunt in Pennsylvania with him. With the new 4 point on one side law, he had been seeing several nice bucks. I am glad that I went this year. Who knows, maybe next year there will be time for another deer up there…there just might be another with my name on it!