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I was just wondering what your top 5 things you look for when scouting an area. Also what time of year do you scout? I think I could really learn from someone like you. Many years ago I sat with Jack Eddy and he said you were one of the best hunters he knew.
Thanks for the question. Although it is basically impossible to write down everything I do when scouting an area I will try and answer as best I can.
The main thing I start with is looking for an area that can actually support mature bucks. What I’m looking for is a protection zone where these animals can actually get old enough to get big. They need an area where they can get away from the hunting pressure. On public land, approximately 70% of the bucks taken are 1.5 years old. So out of 10 bucks, that will only leave 3 that will make it to 2.5 years old. The next year 2 of those 3 will probably be harvested. So that only leaves 1 buck that will make it to the 3.5 year old mark. That is generally the age when a buck will start to reach their size potential.
Now that I’ve found that, I start looking for set ups. I will go in and look for available food sources and bedding areas. Their main travel route will be between those two areas. Vegetation, mass crops, fruit trees, etc. If there is deer in the area, there is a food supply of some sort. Everything a deer does revolves around available food sources. Something to remember is deer will move with food sources. The deer herd may wipe out one food source and then will move to another food source. They can travel miles to find other available food. The hunter needs to learn to move with the available food sources as well. Keep in mind that while doing all of this, I’m also looking for buck signs as well. Last years rubs, fresh rubs, scrapes. As far as the time of year to scout, I scout during the hunting season for the most part. Sometimes you have to sacrifice hunting time to learn how to set it up. Other times of the year, the deer may not even be in the area that you want to hunt. When finding buck sign, if it’s around a food supply, then that is usually an evening set up because the buck is making that sign when heading to the food supply. If there is buck sign around a bedding area, then that is usually a morning setup. The buck is making that sign when heading to his bedding area in the morning.
For me, one of the best times for scouting is right now. The end of the hunting season. Right now in Michigan we have snow on the ground and that allows me to really learn an area and see where the deer are traveling. Another good time is late summer although any patterns you find in late summer are going to be temporary. Once pre-rut starts those patterns will change. The transition from late summer to pre-rut is a good time to find a set up because the bucks are still somewhat predictable. All they care about is eating and sleeping and they tend to stay in a smaller range.
I hope that helps. Jack Eddy was very knowledgeable and shot some very nice bucks. I always cherished the conversations we had together.
What’s most important when bow hunting? Do you get dressed in the woods? Thanks
No, I don’t generally get dressed in the woods. But there are occasions when I might. For example, on warm days if I may work up a sweat walking to my stand or if I will be making any stops between home and my hunting area. Gas station, store, etc. For me, the most important thing I do is make sure my stands are set up properly for the wind directions. Having only one stand really isn’t enough. You need to have multiple stands for any given area. If having only one stand is your only option, make sure you only hunt it when the wind is correct.
Something else that is important to remember is not totally relying on scent eliminators/clothing/soaps, etc. Although I do think they help, relying on them to mask your scent when the wind direction is wrong for your setup is a mistake. I have experimented with these things and found that deer can still smell me, but they thought I was farther away than I actually was.
Thanks for your question.
Hi Mitch, i want to send a pic of my 2010 bowkilled buck,
but i can’t find your submission page link. Can you help me out?
Hi Doug. The link is located at the bottom of the home page. “Submit Your Photo”.
Thanks for the photo. Can’t wait to see it
Doug, I see that link is missing. I will try to get it fixed today.
Doug, the link is back. Down at the bottom. Click on “Submit Your Photo”
Mitch, a while back you said you were going to put up pictures of all your bucks. When are you going to do this?
I am going to get more pictures up! My 2010 bucks will be posted shortly.
hi Mr. Rompola! Glad to see you have a website. I’ve been a big fan of yours since i learned about you from deer and deer hunting magazine when you shot your biggest buck. I’ve tried to learn as much info as possible about you and how you hunt and scout. But info is hard to come by. you and myles keller have had the biggest impact on my bow hunting obsession. I hunt mainly public land in NY my home state but also public land in PA and Ohio. I scout harder than anyone i know and that has paid off. I learn that from the articles on you and myles keller. I believe without any doubt that you are the best archery hunter for whitetails on the face of the planet. I don’t buy into all the so called experts that hunt high fence or private land that has all the goodies with no pressure. You have taken bow hunting to a level that few men will ever achieve. I feel bad about all the terrible things that have been said about you and your deer. I inspire to be as good of a bow hunter as you someday. It is hard for me having 4 kids, a wife, and a full time job. it cuts into the scouting and hunting a lot. I have a picture of you with your big buck in my hunting camp on the wall. it reminds me of my goals and gives me motivation. I would like to buy a autographed picture of you with your big buck. If not possible I understand. Its been a honor to write this to you. Look forward to hearing from you. happy scouting
Jim, thanks for for the kind words. I would be happy to send you an autographed picture. Give me your address and I’ll get it in the mail for you.
First time ever on your site, and just want to say I’m a big fan of yours.I live down here in Tennessee, but have had the pleasure to visit Traverse City MI.a couple of times and love it up that way.I fell in love with bowhunting back in 1988 and found it so rewarding that by 1990 I used it as the weapon of choice full time and have done so ever since.You are an inspiration to all of us bow hunters everywhere.
Thank you Michael! I received your picture. Wow! What a nice collection of racks! I’ll get that picture posted. Thank you
I don’t know where to start. I am a huge fan and feel star-struck to know you have a website and that I found it! I learned about you from an old magazine my Dad had sitting in his basement which lead me to find out more about you and to find this website. I guess my first question is do you do all of your hunting on public land? I’ve been hunting northern Wisconsin’s public land since age 12 with my Dad. The challenge of public land hunting is what leads me to obsess about the sport. I’m sure Michigan has some kind of wolf population by now as does Wisconsin so my 2nd question is has the rising population changed the way you hunt whitetails? I sent a picture of my Dad’s bucks, he got his biggest this year. A 220 pound 12 pointer taken from public land in Canada but he isn’t mounted yet so not pictured…I have some HUGE shoes to fill!
I don’t do all my hunting on public land. Lately I’ve been lucky enough to get permission to hunt some private land. There is a good wolf population in the upper peninsula of Michigan and a small but growing population in the lower peninsula. Most of my hunting is done in the lower peninsula so the wolf population doesn’t really affect me. This last year during my annual hunting trip to the U.P though, we did have a beautiful wolf hanging around our camp. Good luck with your hunting. Send me the picture when you get your next buck!
Mitch, I have been a fan of yours for a long time. I still believe you killed a true monster and everyone bashed you because they were jelous! I would love an autographed photo of you and your buck to give to my daughter for her brithday. She loves your pics as well. Her name is Makenzie and she is becoming quite a good hunter. We look forward to each summer to ride and look for the big ones.In North Carolina we dont have 200 inch deer, but we try and get the biggest we have like 120-130s. Good luck and God Bless!
Thank you. Send me your address and I’ll send Makenzie an autographed picture. Good luck to you as well
Mitch I also hunt the northern part of southern mi my wife and I are both die hard bow hunters my biggest is a 15pt that scores 175 2/8 my wife killed her first bow buck last yr about a 115in 9pt just wanted to say your a true inspiration I’ve read a lot about your scouting tactics and I honestly have applied a lot of what I’ve read and it’s working thanks and hopefully we can see more articles in the future
As you can see from the response on this website, you have the support of many. Many people believe in you and your hunting skills. Your track record speaks for itself. My question is: did you sell the antlers from the 38 inch spread buck (carefully and legally worded for your protection)or do you get to stare at them on your wall every day. I always thought that a superior animal like that, whether entered into the books or not, should be displayed for all to see. I have heard the antlers were sold to a private collector. I am not blaming you for making a choice such as this givin the criticism you took after you shot it. I will selfishly admit though, not being able to view the awesome horn on that animal is unfortunate. Every hunter out there would fall asleep at night with the image of your horns, seeing it their dreams, thinking a buck like that could be coming over the hill. It is sad to not have what should be had. I would much rather rally around you-a truly skilled hunter, than someone who was just lucky enough to stand in the right spot on a deer drive and put the kill shot in a record deer chased for miles and shot at ten times. Will there ever be a day that your deer gets the appreciation it deserves for being a truly majestic animal?
when i first heard about your exploits u said u were in the service and learned to find deer by studying terrain to find big deer. we have acres and acres of stripmine ground. any advice as funnels are almost impossible to decipher. every spoil bank seems to have a deer trail on it we have crop fields but they always come out in 20 different places and the wind swirls so much u never know what to expect. any insight would be appreciated?
Pay attention to the way the deer travel with the specific wind currents. For example, if you have a west wind, learn how the deer travel when there is a west wind…and for a north wind, southeast wind…etc. You will probably have to have a set up for ALL the different wind directions. And then you may need to have a different set up for each wind direction for morning and evening. Some set ups will be better than others. Your situation is probably one of the more difficult situations to decipher. Ravines, trees, ditches all play a part. This situation will take a lot of observation to learn the direction of movement for each individual wind direction.
It is great to see the aweome Whitetails that you have taken through the years. The pictures are amazing, but if you could add a short story maybe telling about the first time you saw the deer while scouting, what your plan was in hunting the deer and how you finally got the deer, it would be of great value to your readers. Heck, it might even make a great book! Thanks for sharing these with us!
Ever hunt mitchell creek nature preserve?
Yes l have hunted the nature preserve but that was long before it was the nature preserve. I have not hunted it since it has become a preserve. It gets an insane amount of pressure. Even more now since no permission is required to hunt it.
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