There is a lot of work that goes into scouting your hunting ground for the big fall hunt.
Knowing your game and their habits can give you a leg up when it comes time to bagging your desired trophy animal. Begin scouting for fall hunting ground in the summer when bucks are relaxing -- they will not be as aggressive as they are in the fall, and will be focusing on putting weight back on after a long winter.
After being chased off by the does and their fawn, the bucks will form a bachelor party led by a single alpha. Follow the group to see their habitat and favorite feeding and nesting grounds. From there, you are able to track their every move to set yourself up for a great fall hunt.
To explore your proposed hunting area, you will need to know where you are going so you don't wind up lost in the woods. Start by checking out the area with Google Earth to gain a sense of where to start exploring. Once you have a particular spot in mind, print a free topo map to bring with you. It's recommended to laminate the map to protect it from the elements.
Knowing where your buck or doe is fattening up over the summer allows you to find the ideal placement for your trail cameras. Place a trail cam on a tree that overlooks a clearing that your desired animal favors to get a sense of the area. Early on in the summer season, place cameras in 100-acre grids to track the movement of the herds and home in on the densely populated areas that show up on the camera.
Although it is illegal in some places to bait animals during hunting season, you may do so during the summer to get pictures of the variety of animals in the area. A proven method for getting pictures of your game is placing a stealth cam on a fruit-bearing tree in an area that you know your animal frequents.
Once you get an idea of where you want to set up your hunting stand for the fall, make sure to get it in place three to four weeks before the season begins -- it will allow any scent you leave behind to dissipate before you return.
Erecting your hunting spot prior to a rainstorm is another clever way to help eliminate human scent before a hunt. Use the knowledge that you acquire from your trail cams to pinpoint where the animals enter and exit the area you are scouting. Place a stand within the two points to aid in your successful fall hunting season.