The Ultimate Deer Hunting Resolution: Year-Round Digiscoping

It happens towards the end of every season. Temperatures, whitetail sightings, and hopes start to plummet. For diehard hunters, the season starts to take its toll both physically and mentally. This is especially true for those that have swung and missed on any deer harvests. 

I recently thought intently about this on the last day of the regular Texas deer season. Tired, yet energized by the last hunt I would have on my favorite property, I replayed my season and all the time I had spent on the road and in my stand; Constant commutes, early mornings, and gas station coffee. I also pondered the things I most enjoyed about being in the deer woods. 

After a redbird lit on a nearby branch and a basket-rack buck crossed a couple-hundred yards away, the answer became crystal clear. As much as I love chasing mature whitetail bucks, it’s the anticipation and sights that stand tall along the way. My eyes then became focused on the bow sitting at my feet. It had been over a month since an arrow had been knocked for the cherished moment of truth. Next to it was my trusty tripod ripe for the Phone Skope digiscoping kit that was tucked in my jacket pocket. Life was good.

Newfound anticipation ensued as I remembered the benefits and fun of magnifying deer and other wildlife with my simple adapter kit. I again had a purpose and it was game on.

Scouting at a Higher Level

The act of scouting has changed over the years every bit as much as hunting. What was once a couple of strolls through fields and woodlots has been trumped by the somewhat self-sufficient trail camera. Having the ability to view images of deer around the clock was a game-changer – even more so today with the advent of wireless cameras.

Of course, for many, there is still the act of using optics to scan the hunting landscape.

For smart hunters, glassing for their quarry is a year-long tactic, continuing through the early offseason.

However, there’s way more to off-season glassing than just keeping a pair of binoculars within reach in your vehicle.

To get the most out of glassing takes thought, time and effort. Digiscoping, at a minimum, tells the story of travel patterns, allows you to magnify the images and video, and gives you an idea of the number and types of whitetails frequenting your hunting grounds. 

The Season Never Ends

This digiscoped image revealed a popular offseason deer crossing at a county road fence line.

The fact is, deer patterns change throughout the year and, as such, digiscope scouting can tell you a lot about them and ultimately arm you with intel that can be utilized during the fall when you enter your hunting grounds in the fall.

The goal of serious scouting is to find the right deer as efficiently as possible. Then, learn what you can about their habits without spooking them.

In truth, much out-of-season glassing is fairly random.

While driving, we see a distant deer, then stop or pull off the road to take a closer look. Often this is done during the late afternoon hours when deer feed near crops, fruitful oak trees, and even feeders.

The truth is, there are no bad times to digiscope scout for whitetails. Deer season includes optimal opportunities, including early-season bachelor groups, as well as the pre-rut and rut periods when bucks are on their feet more often during daylight hours. The offseason includes the vast views afforded by leafless trees and reduced vegetation of late winter and the bed to food patterns that start back up during the spring and summer. 

Goals for the New Year

Like with hunting, digiscope scouting is an opportunity to get outside and learn.

Trail cameras continue to be a great tool, however, they only paint part of the picture. Further, many hunters (myself included) often fail to utilize the data points they provide. They get lazy, hiding behind the notion that those magic boxes strapped to trees decrease their footprint in the deer woods.

Inherently, opportunities to get outside, explore, and learn fall by the wayside.

There are many righteous New Year’s resolutions. They tend to fall into two categories.

There are the mores; more exercise, saving, attention to family, and the likes.

There are also the lesses, such as less junk food, procrastination, and Netflix binge-watching.

Consider spending less time indoors and more time scouting. Increase your outdoor footprint this year by grabbing your smartphone, Phone Skope digiscoping kit, and optics of choice and hitting the woods.

I can’t think of a better gift or, for that matter, New Year’s resolution for the hunter and outdoorsman

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