Online Scouting: Is It Enough?

Online scouting is certainly important and helpful, but it doesn’t replace boots-on-the-ground scouting.

Online Scouting: Is It Enough?

Convenience. Our lives today revolve around it. Right at our fingertips, we have access to information about anything and everything. From our phones, we educate, shop, and yes, scout. Yeah, things are a bit different from what they were just 10 years ago. Between the various mapping apps, Google Earth and hunting forums out there, we can acquire a wealth of information for scouting purposes without leaving the comfort of our home.

Google Earth provides 3-D imagery of the terrain, satellite image history and the location of big game resources that might not be labeled on a map. We can see green grass, trails and possible bedding areas — all with a few clicks of a mouse and taps on a keyboard. I’ll say it again. Convenience.

My dad used to tell me something when I was a kid. He’d say, “You can read all of the karate books out there, but it doesn’t mean you know how to fight.” This couldn’t be truer in the case of scouting for hunts, either. There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, that will beat boots-on-the-ground scouting.

Only so much can be learned from screen time. Yes, we can get a pretty good idea of the lay of the land, but can we see the acorn crop, for instance? Can we know for sure that a bachelor group of mule deer bucks is, in fact, living in a particular basin? The answer is “no,” and the only way to find out is to put yourself in that basin or woodlot to check. By putting boots on the ground and making firsthand observations, a hunter can create their own luck, setting themselves up for success this season. Forget convenience — get out and scout.

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