Scouting for hunting land in NW Wisconsin

Here’s a quick overview of the questions you’ll want to consider for a particular piece of hunting land.

  • Are there deer here? The first time you visit a property, you’ll obviously be looking for tracks and signs. If it’s that time of year, you’ll also be looking for scrapes and rubs. (Of course, if it’s already that time of year, you probably should have started looking sooner so you’ll be ready for hunting season.) But even in the spring and summer, you may be able to spot traces of old scrapes and rubs.
  • Could there be deer here? Is this the terrain and habitat that will draw and keep deer? If not, is the potential there? can you plant, mow, or log to create the right sort of habitat that will make deer want to stick around? Are there water sources on the property? What’s the soil like? Are there places you could plant food plots?
  • Is this a large enough piece of land to meet your hunting objectives? If you hope to invite friends and harvest several deer per year without sending the rest sprinting for refuge on your neighbor’s land, then you’ll want more than ten or twenty acres.
  • Who are the neighbors? How much hunting pressure is there? Do your neighbors hunt their land at all? If so, how many and what type of deer are they harvesting? If they farm, do they plant crops that will attract deer? If so, where? (Keep in mind that in future years the same fields might be planted with different crops.) Is there public land nearby? (If so, that could be good, bad, or both. It all depends.)
  • How is the land being hunted right now? Not at all? “If it’s brown it’s down?” Bucks only? Strict QDM? the answer to this question is least important of all. After you own the land, it’s your call. You’ll also be able to plant food plots and make other improvements. In just a year or two, that could change the number and type of deer you can expect to see.
  • Is there a cabin, home, or building site on the land? Maybe right now you’re just interested in hunting land. But it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. maybe someday this will be your vacation getaway or retirement home, with great hunting right outside the door.

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