Scouting is one of the most effective tools in a hunter's arsenal; without proper scouting, a productive hunting season can be quite hard to come by.
While the act of scouting itself is vital, perhaps just as important is keeping a record of findings whilst scouting. You'll learn a lot about the game you're hunting and about the effectiveness (or not) of the strategies you've used.
A hunting journal can take you down memory lane even if you don't learn a thing, but we think you will.
So improve your chances for success this hunting season – and for years to come. Follow these suggestions for keeping a hunting field journal:
- Make your field journal expandable and accessible. Our suggestion? Keep track of all your resources in a three-ring binder. This way, you can add or remove things at will, with the ability to keep even the most expansive collection of resources organized.
- Another option is to use pocket-sized journals for convenient note taking.
- Keep a record of all routine scouting measures. Take note of things such as deer sign, deer trails, food sources, rubs, bedding areas and potential tree stand locations.
- Incorporate images. Print off details maps to keep in your field journal, and add notes as you take in observations. In addition, use your own artistic skills to add detail to the journal.
- Use all your senses. What are you seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling and tasting?
- Take advantage of technology. Do you use trail cameras? How about topographic or aerial maps? Keep detailed notes along with the images, including dates, times and observations, and file these items away with the rest of your field journal contents.
- In addition, be sure to use hunting journal smartphone apps such as Hunting Journal and iHunt Journal, as well as Bass Pro Shops' MyGuide Hunt.
- Be detailed. Even observations that may seem like no-brainers at the time you notice them may be essential pieces of information in the future, and if you don't have those details written down, they could be lost forever.
What tips do you have for keeping a hunting field journal?