Scouting New Land

EvoOutdoors ProStaff Team member Dale Evans shares tips on how to figure out and scout a new area:

 

In late May, I made the decision to move out West to Wyoming from Florida after separating from the Air Force. Without a Tag in my pocket for the state of Wyoming, I knew it was going to be a difficult year in the hunting woods. Being the avid hunter that I am, I knew I couldn’t take a fall off from hunting, so it was time to start looking into whatever tags were leftover. Luckily, I was able to find a few elk tags available close to where I live for. Knowing absolutely nothing about these areas, I knew I was going to have to do my homework in order to have success in these tougher units. That these areas were going to be particularly difficult I had no doubt, since that was why there were so many leftover tags.

 

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First things first, I ordered OnX Map software for the state of Wyoming. I’ve never used this software before, but was amazed at its’ ease of use. I set it up with the Google Earth software already installed on my computer and began doing my research. With the OnX Maps, you are able to clearly see Unit Boundaries for each major species within the state (i.e. Elk, Deer, Antelope), see the different land ownership around the whole state, and the landowner information for each parcel. Having this Overlay system at home helped so that I could have a game plan in place before ever leaving my house. Scouting a new area can be very intimidating, especially when you are looking at a large piece of land and have no idea where to start. OnX Maps has a lot of useful information and makes the task a lot less daunting.

After I familiarized myself with the boundaries of the specific unit, and somewhat familiarized myself with the Public and Private land, my next stop was to go and talk with the local Game and Fish Warden and State Biologist. These professionals are a wealth of knowledge, and I found the folks I spoke with to be extremely helpful. They helped with leading me down the right path of where to start scouting, when to expect the animals to be in a certain area, and what places I should stay away from. They also highly recommended having a good GPS with the OnX software, to help ensure I wouldn’t be trespassing and that I would have the necessary landowner information should I decide to request permission.

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The next step I recommend is to get yourself a good handheld GPS unit. I personally own a Garmin Oregon 600t, and have the OnX Wyoming chip installed. This is a great GPS that won’t break the bank, and I have found it to be very accurate. When you’ve made your game plan of places to go and scout in a new area, make sure to use your GPS. I like to have a few places already in mind that I want to check out and give a closer look when I’m heading into a new area. I’ll put waypoints into my GPS prior to going out to make it easier. Like I said before, a new area can be large and seem intimidating, so having a game plan is crucial: Have your predetermined points picked out, use the GPS to get to them, and have fun with your scouting. Unfortunately, sometimes the place that looks like a mecca on Google Earth, won’t be worth the time it took for you to get there. But, sometimes just walking around a bit will open your eyes to something you might have overlooked, or a little honey hole that couldn’t be seen with a computer program. Scouting is all about checking out places that you’ve never seen before, and finding where you will harvest your next trophy.

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Dale recommends the Garmin Oregon 600T

Figuring out new land can sometimes be very simple, and other times it is incredibly difficult. It can be anything from a small 20-acre parcel that you receive access to from the local farmer, or maybe you find yourself scouting out a vast wilderness area. Doing your homework definitely helps to eliminate obvious places, so you can use your time wisely and make the most of it. You also need to understand that scouting and figuring out the land is an ever evolving art. The animals may change their patterns from year to year so you should also be constantly looking for fresh signs and new places to be. Using these small tips will definitely help to shorten your learning curve, but a skilled hunter must be flexible and willing to change at the drop of a hat.

Pheasant Hunting Gear List for Women

A head-to-toe pheasant hunting gear list written by EvoOutdoors ProStaff Team member Andrea Haas.

Prois Reversible Sherpa Fleece Vest and Blaze Orange Cap

For the ladies! All of the gear listed here are my personal favorites for pheasant hunting and would be a good option for most upland hunts.

1) Blaze Orange Hat

  • I prefer to wear a blaze orange ball cap but it’s a good idea to bring along a blaze beanie as well, depending on the wind and the temperature!
  • This Blaze Orange Cap with Waxed Bill from Prois is a great option, available for $26.99

Prois Blaze Orange Hat with Waxed Bill

2) Blaze Orange Vest / Upland Vest

  • The Prois Reversible Sherpa Fleece Vest is one of my hunting staples because I can use it year round and for multiple hunts. One side is blaze orange fleece, perfect for rifle season or upland hunting. The other side is camoflauge, making it great for hunting, deer, elk and other game. It also has scapular pockets designed to hold activated hand warmers! It is available at EvoOutdoors for $170.10

Prois Reversible Sherpa Fleece Vest

  • Another great vest option is the Badlands Upland Vest Pack. It’s lightweight, has multiple pockets perfect for holding shotgun shells and other loose items. It is available at Prois for $179.99

Badlands Upland Vest Pack

3) Long Sleeve Shirt

  • If the weather is warmer I recommend a lightweight top that wicks moisture. My favorite is the Prois Ultra Long Sleeve Shirt available at EvoOutdoors for $50.40. You can pick from Realtree AP, Realtree Max-1 or Black.

Prois Ultra Long Sleeve Shirt

4) Jacket

  • If the weather turns cool, keep the above top on as a layering piece & add a jacket. Last season on the cooler/windier days I paired the above top with the Prois Pro-Edition Jacket and that was perfect. You can find the Prois Pro-Edition Jacket at EvoOutdoors for $215.10

Prois Pro-Edition Jacket

5) Brush Pants

  • The Prois High Plains Brush Pants are a comfortable, yet durable option for the female upland hunter! They have Cordura facings, pleated knees, boot zippers, multiple pockets, and the waist rests at the natural waistline. These are available in Khaki at EvoOutdoors, or at Prois in Olive, $161.10 to $179.99

Prois High Plains Brush Pants

6) Gloves

  • I found on my first pheasant hunt that despite warmer temperatures, the wind can still cut like a knife! For days like this fleece gloves are perfect. The Women’s Ranger Glove by Manzella are fleece with a 4-way stretch fabric for a great fit. You can find these in size S/M or M/L at EvoOutdoors for $22.00

Women’s Ranger Glove by Manzella

7) Socks

  • A good pair of moisture-wicking socks are imperative for a long, active hunt like pheasant hunting. Whether it’s warm or cold you want your feet to stay dry! The Day Hiker Sock by Minus33 is made of merino wool which is known for keeping your feet dry and comfortable in any weather condition. You can get these socks from EvoOutdoors for only $13.00

Day Hiker Sock by Minus33

8) Boots

  • A good pair of waterproof boots are a must for pheasant hunting. My personal favorite for pheasant hunting in the flat, Kansas plains are these SHE Outdoor Avilla 16″ Waterproof Rubber Boots. They are fully lined with 5mm Neoprene and are easy to pull on & off. I like that they are taller, making it a good option for hunting in deep snow. I walked the pheasant fields for miles at a time & had no problem with them rubbing my feet or creating blisters. They are available at Bass Pro Shop for $99.99

SHE Outdoor Avilla Boot

9) Shotgun Case

  • You definitely need a shotgun case to protect your shotgun while transporting it from your home to the field. The Tenzing TZ SS54 Shotgun Case has a soft water-resistant outer shell and a fully surrounding 1″ foam interior padding. You can find this case at EvoOutdoors for $99

SHE Outdoor Avilla Boot

10) Pets

  • Don’t forget about your pet! If you hunt with dogs keep them protected from the elements in the Pointer Dog Vest by Rivers West. It’s made with micro fleece, very insulated and waterproof. One great feature is the top zipper has an inside fleece fly to keep your dog’s hair from getting caught in the zipper! It is available at EvoOutdoors for $49.00

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I hope you find this gear list helpful when planning your next upland hunt!

-Andrea Haas

Be sure to check out Andrea and other women hunters like her on the Huntress View blog.