limiting impact pays

The Results Of A ‘Stay Out’ Strategy

Back in September we wrote an article entitled, Minimizing Impact: The Strategy Of Staying Out.’ The article simply mentioned a few reasons why we were going to be very deliberate about ‘minimizing impact’ on our various hunting properties this year.
This meant reducing the number of trail cameras we placed, paying additional attention to scent control (such as using a rainy day to check trail cameras) and waiting until the end of October before we spent a considerable amount of time in our stands.
While the strategy was somewhat experimental, the amount of deer we have seen while hunting, along with the number of bucks on our trail cameras, seems to suggest the strategy definitely works.
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Throughout the summer we spent many weekends knocking on doors and building relationships with property owners—it paid off. And although we received permission to hunt some new properties just prior to bow season, we resisted the temptation to do in-depth scouting in an effort to leave core areas undisturbed.
Due to getting permission late in the year, we did a considerable amount of peripheral scouting in order to minimize the overall impact on these areas. Some of the information we needed to form a strategy was gathered from the property owner, other info was collected from topographical maps and satellite imagery, and most of all we relied on experience. The whole objective was to mitigate risk and increase the chances of reward.
minimizing hunting impact
Based upon these factors we set up a limited number of cameras and placed stands in areas we believed would be the best place for both hunting the rut and the late season.
We also limited our camera usage on properties we have hunted in the past. Instead of trying to place multiple cameras and risk leaving more scent over a given area, we hung strategically placed cameras in funnels or pinch points. These cameras were only checked once every 3-4 weeks and we have been exceptionally careful about scent control when doing so.
limiting hunting impact
At this point I could not be happier with the results of the overall strategy. If we are seeing this type of activity with a few cameras, obviously there are additional bucks we are not seeing. Since these are agricultural areas, once the corn is out we expect see more daylight activity as deer move into the timber to feed on hard mast. We are also right on the heals of the rut, so anything can happen in the next couple weeks.
limit impact in hunting area
Post season we will be scouting these farms to a greater extent, but for now, I think this is a lesson in just how important minimizing impact is.
What are your thoughts on minimizing impact and its rewards?
(While there are more bucks and some daylight photos, we won’t share all the trail camera photos in one post.)

4 thoughts on “The Results Of A ‘Stay Out’ Strategy”

  1. I think you guys are definitely on the right track. I’ve been hunting one particular area of a local NWR and last year, I made a conscious effort to only hunt on days where I had a steady, prevailing wind, and on days where I could hunt all day. I was also diligent with scent control and had cleared a walking path by hand, where I could minimize noise while entering and exiting my stand location. I ended up seeing deer on every hunt, saw over a dozen different bucks, and took my biggest buck to date, a massive 9pt that scored just under 150″.

    1. What a story! Congrats on a great buck. I really appreciate you sharing this with us. It’s always good to learn from fellow hunters and your sharing has helped to confirm what we are trying to implement.
      Please feel free to share any followup stories regarding this strategy. Thanks again!

    1. Hey, Shannon! I agree whole heartedly. This year we have seen more deer than ever before and believe this strategy will pay off in the long run. It’s not easy to stay out when you want to be hunting, but it’s all about the end result.

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