Doing a Bit of Legwork

News & Tips: Doing a Bit of Legwork

I know it's only July but, in my mind at least, we're on the downward slope towards autumn's hunting seasons. In my part of the world, a variety of small game, big game and waterfowl seasons open throughout September. That's just a little over two months away.

DoingABitOfLegwork blog
Consider hiking through your hunting areas to scope out the animals in their habitat.

Like most hunters, I try to keep a handle on what game animals are doing throughout the year. Now, however, is the time when push comes to shove. It's time to start accumulating serious intelligence.

I begin this process by calling my contacts, hunting buddies and landowner friends and maybe even visiting a few of the closer places where I plan on hunting to get the lay of the land in terms of how game and habitat is doing.

Do this for any length of time and you'll learn a thing or two about your hunting prospects for the fall. For instance, it only took a few calls to learn that that cottontail numbers seem to be on the rise not too far from here. In fact, a few phone calls have revealed that several landowners I know say they haven't seen so many cottontails in years. One or two, have even offered me permission to hunt their properties. So, you can bet that those tasty little bunnies are going to be one of the small game animals that I pay special attention to this fall.

As you can see, this "telephone scouting" helps you reconnect with those people and, if they are frequently out on the landscape, as most landowners are, this also provides valuable intelligence that could come in handy once hunting seasons arrive. More than that, it provides you with a hint of the adventures that you might find yourself in once autumn rolls around.

I know it's not exciting stuff. Most of us would rather hear a hunting story or learn a new trick to help us take game. But the truth is you can't use those tricks or tell those stories if you don't hunt areas that have good game populations. Successful hunters know that hunting in areas where animals are plentiful is more than half the battle.

The phone calls simply extend your range; give you the benefit of local knowledge; and help you make decisions that will pay off come fall. Sometimes they also open the doors to new hunting properties.

Phone calls aside, it's also not a bad idea to go on a few hikes through your hunting haunts, drive a few back roads at dawn and dusk and maybe even put out a trail camera or two. Essentially, now is the time to cast a wide net and see what you can haul in. Then you can decide where those precious days afield will be best spent.

This kind of leg work pays off.