Phone Skope Field Trips: Leveraging Early Season Whitetail Patterns

Few events cause anticipation like deer season, especially during that last week of the preseason when the excitement reaches a feverish pitch. It’s during these days that final touches are being made for the first treks to the tree stands and blinds of North America. While equipment checks and sighting in of weapons are at the top of the list, there is strategizing. Indeed, for the hardcore hunting contingent, planning for factors such as wind conditions goes a long way toward choosing that first sit. After all, smart hunters know the importance of making their trips to the deer woods count.

Speaking of making it count, there’s nothing like the one-stop-shopping offered by digiscoping for your quarry. Luckily, the early season offers one of the best opportunities for in-season scouting.

Why? It’s simple. Despite the change of season from summer to early fall, many deer are still in their food-to-bed pattern. Secondly, many bucks are still gathering in bachelor groups, ripe for viewing. This means that, if conditions such as the prevailing winds are right, you have the chance to view the bucks on the grounds you hunt. The clock is ticking though. Testosterone is rising before the rut and the bucks in these groups will soon scatter.

Early-season digiscope scouting is a good time to see bachelor groups.

A Win and Possibly a Win-Win

With a little common sense, organization, and planning, you have the golden opportunity to view and capture the deer that call your hunting grounds their home range. In addition to your bow or rifle, it’s time to pack your favorite optics, smartphone, and Phone Skope digiscoping kit. You’ll be able to, not only place your eyes on potential target bucks, you can be in a position to put a bullet or arrow through them. Pack thoughtfully, reference trail camera photos, and be mindful of conditions such as wind direction. At a minimum, you’ll capture needed footage; at most, you’ll have a scouting-hunting bonanza when you harvest an animal that tripped your trigger.

Dedicated In-Season Scouting

The next best thing to hunting is scouting. I believe this to be true. That’s why I’m willing to sacrifice a hunt or two by stepping back and digiscope scouting a bigger area. It’s simple, the resulting intel often tells me when and where to slip in closer for a shot. In-season digiscoping for whitetails is advantageous whether you’re toting a weapon or not. Particularly, it’s a great use of time when the wind is wrong for your actual hunting setups. Dedicated in-season digiscoping offers the same common sense and caution as hunting. Using practical entry and exit routes and good concealment is essential. If nothing else, consider it an opportunity to execute best practices in the field. Note that it can also be an efficient way to try out a new area or stand.

Digiscoping during the early season bolsters all forms of scouting.

Less is More

Digiscoping for whitetails during the early season requires covertness; stealth. Succeeding at it requires minimalist packing; traveling light. This is especially true for observation-only sits. This requires little more than your smartphone, optics, and digiscoping adaptor. Other helpful items include a good lightweight chair and tripod. If you can’t fit it in your chest pack, backpack, or chair pocket, don’t bring it. This will make for a more comfortable commute, as well as easier setup once you arrive at your ground blind or other types of setups.

Final Thoughts

Hunting season offers more than a chance to hunt. It’s a way to supercharge your trail camera scouting. Early season is a particularly good chance to capture deer doing deer things; traversing common trails, working scrapes and rubs, and feeding. The best bet is to setup to capture them on food sources or between food and bedding locations. You better hurry though, testosterone is rising and buck sightings will soon be more random and tenuous. Finally, while in-season digiscoping provides proof of life for area bucks, it also gives you occasions to Capture-Record-Share your field exploits with friends and family. 

Early season digiscoping requires traveling light; especially if concurrently hunting and scouting.

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