Scouting for Elk and Mule Deer

The main goal of scouting for elk and mule deer is to locate animals and the spots where you’ll likely encounter them during your hunting season. Scouting also helps you obtain a better understanding of the terrain you’re hunting. The following guide provides insight into likely bedding areas, food sources, and natural funnels to ensure you’re able to spend your time in the field as efficiently as possible.

The main goal of scouting for elk and mule deer is to locate animals and the spots where you’ll likely encounter them during your hunting season. Scouting also helps you obtain a better understanding of the terrain you’re hunting. The following guide provides insight into likely bedding areas, food sources, and natural funnels to ensure you’re able to spend your time in the field as efficiently as possible.

Key Mapping Features for Scouting Elk and Mule Deer

From analyzing the terrain you’ll be hunting, to checking wind forecast the night before, onX Hunt puts the most powerful scouting tool in your hands.

Custom Waypoints and Tools

Mark, customize, and share Waypoints for wallows, rubs, trails, and other sign to help you understand possible animal movement. Use the Tracker to map these routes, then share your Tracks with friends or family so they can easily follow your footsteps. Use the Line Distance Tool to plan hunting routes and gauge distance and elevation for your hike.

3D Basemaps

Understanding the lay of the land is a critical factor in determining the success of your hunt, and our 3D Maps on desktop and mobile allow you to do exactly that. Combined with features like the Hybrid Basemap, the ability to view 3D Maps and 3D Exaggeration gives you the tools you need to understand how animals move across the landscape and where you need to be to cross their paths.

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Historic Wildfire and Roadless Layers

Pinpoint quality food sources with the Historic Wildfire Layer, or get away from the crowds with the Roadless Areas Layer. Easily add these Layers and more to your map from the Layer Library.

Offline Maps

Save an Offline Map before any trip into the field—even areas with widespread cell coverage may have small pockets in which service might drop out. In the event that you find yourself in an area with spotty or nonexistent cell service, you’ll still have access to your map.

Current and Forecasted Weather

Once you have your hunting spot picked out, the next step is knowing the weather forecast and how it’s going to impact your hunt. Live weather reports, weather forecasts, wind direction, sunrise / sunset times, and barometric pressure are all curated within the Hunt App to keep everything you need in one convenient place.

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Tree and Crop Data

Know exactly which types of crops and trees you’re looking at on aerial imagery across the country. These layers take the guesswork out of what the landscape will hold for food sources, cover, and diversity.

Elk Scouting Tips

Elk Scouting Tips

Made by western big game hunters, for western big game hunters. Learn the tips and tricks we use every fall to be more efficient in the mountains.
Videos

How To Scout a New Unit

Duration 26:32
Matt Seidel walks through how to thoroughly explore a new unit with the onX Hunt App. Learn about the boundaries, tree distribution, topography, and access points of an area without even stepping foot in a new unit.

How To use onX Hunt for Western Big Game

Duration 18:17
Follow along with Dylan Dowson as he breaks down how to use onX Hunt for Big Western Game. Utilize 3d maps, gaming units, and private and public land boundaries. Share waypoints with friends and family, organize content with folders.

5 Public Land E-Scouting Tips

Duration 8:17
Follow along with Matt Seidel as he breaks down different types of public land that people often overlook when scouting for their hunt. With these E-Scouting tips, you can get find your next honey hole away from other hunters and where big game hangs out.

Using the NEW Radius Tool to find Access Points with Cody Rich

Duration 1:35
Cody Rich breaks down the new Radius Tool on the onX Hunt Web Map to help you determine where to access a new area.

How To Draw Routes & Dial In Your Hunt Plan with onX Hunt

Duration 1:33
Cody Rich of The Rich Outdoors Hunting Podcast has two tips to help you dial in your hunt plan. He walks through how to use the free draw tool and how to sync with your phone so you’re ready to go when you get to the field.

onX Hunt 3D Map Feature Overview

Duration 5:22
Follow along with Matt Seidel as he walks through the 3D Map features of onX Hunt. Learn how to utilize 3D Maps in conjunction with Map Layers and Map Tools to study prospective hunting areas, examine property lines, and drop waypoints.

Must Have Layers For Western Big Game

Duration 19:36
Follow along with Dylan Dowson as he goes through the ‘must-have’ layers for hunting western big game. Learn how to navigate through the app and several use cases for our different layers including: current conditions, Roads & trails for access, trees, crops, cover, and several wildlife layers. learning how to utilize each of these can add a lot to your chances of success so check it out!

Using 3D & 3D Exaggeration For Western Big Game

Duration 4:21
Follow along with Dylan Dowson as he breaks down how to use 3D and one of our newer features, 3D exaggeration. These tools can be extremely useful, especially when hunting in areas with more subtle terrain changes. Add them to your arsenal this hunting season and up your odds of being successful!

E-Scouting Mule Deer with Cody Rich- onX Hunt Masterclass

1:26:39
Join Cody Rich and the onX Crew for a deep dive into e-scouting for mule deer. Cody Rich will walk us through the tools and tactics he uses to find deer on a consistent basis, helping set you up for your best season yet.

Mule Deer and Elk Scouting Tips From Our Ambassador‘s

5 Tips for E-Scouting

Follow along to see 5 different ways we use OnX hunt to become more successful in the elk woods.

25:44

Finding Hidden Elk

Follow along with Kody as he gives his insight on scouting and mapping out a Colorado elk hunt using onX Hunt.

21:02

Pro Tips, E- SCOUTING | NEW MEXICO

Last but not least we cover the great state of New Mexico, giving you the ultimate tips and tricks to finding public land elk.

10:56

E-Scouting Public and Private

How to E-Scout for early season bull elk using the onXmap.

16:31

How to E-Scout Mule Deer

Hopefully this video helps you guys get an idea of how to scout an area you’ve never been to with OnXHunt maps. Good luck this year!

18:13

E-Scouting for Early Season Elk

How to E-Scout for early season bull elk using the onXmap.

16:31

E-Scouting Late Season Elk

One of the most useful tools we use is OnX maps. From pre scouting at home to in the field use we always rely on our OnX.

19:39

How to use Aerial Imagery for Hunting

Eastmans’ Dan Pickar breaks down how to use onX Hunt to understand and read terrain when you’re hunting or scouting for an upcoming hunt.

5:19

Using the Crop Layer for Hunting

This review features onX hunt’s crop layer an dhow to use it to expand your hunting opportunities.

1:41

Using the CWD Layer: onX hunt App Tip

This onX hunt review features a new layer to help hunters navigate regulations related to CWD or Chronic Wasting Disease.

5:47

Nevada Mule Deer Early Archery Hunt + E-Scouting

SOLO HNTR TV is a self-filmed documentary of extreme hunting adventures through the eyes of the HNTR.

18:16

E-Scouting Overview for Archery Elk with Isaiah Joner

Isaiah gives you a quick walkthrough of his methods when E-scouting for archery elk using both onX Maps and Huntin’ Fool’s map.

16:55

How to Find Elk – Virtual E-Scouting OnX Maps

Being from the south, a lot of times we have no idea what a wallow may look like, what a shelf is, or how to find a saddle. Well in this video we show you exactly what they look like in person and on the map.

16:08

E-SCOUTING FOR MULE DEER: BACKCOUNTRY ROUTE FINDING – EP1

In this episode, Brad explains why its so crucial to carefully lay out your preferred route in from the trailhead to camp and why its important to makes sure the route is hidden from the prying eyes of deer you might be after.

3:31

E-SCOUTING FOR MULE DEER: FINDING BIG BUCK HIDEY-HOLES – EP2

In this five-part tutorial series, Brad will lay out some of the top strategies he uses when e-scouting using OnX Hunt before his high country mule deer hunts. In this episode, the second of five, Brad explains why he likes to drop pins where it looks like big muley bucks might like to hang out and where he might want to glass while using OnX at home.

2:47

E-SCOUTING FOR MULE DEER: FINDING GOOD CLASSING SPOTS – EP3

In this five-part tutorial series, Brad will lay out some of the top strategies he uses when e-scouting using OnX Hunt before his high country mule deer hunts. In this episode, the third of five, Brad explains why he likes to drop pins on likely looking glassing spots while using OnX at home.

2:17

E-SCOUTING FOR MULE DEER: FINDING A CAMPSITE FROM HOME – EP4

In this five-part tutorial series, Brad will lay out some of the top strategies he uses when e-scouting using OnX Hunt before his high country mule deer hunts. In this episode, number four of five, Brad explains why scouting out hidden backcountry campsites from home using OnX has been beneficial on his high country mule deer hunts.

2:25

E-SCOUTING FOR MULE DEER: LOCATING WATER SOURCES – EP5

In this five-part tutorial series, Brad will lay out some of the top strategies he uses when e-scouting using OnX Hunt before his high country mule deer hunts. In this episode, the last of five, Brad discusses why he likes to e-scout for potential high country water sources he can use to replenish his water while backpack hunting.

4:00

Western Big Game Hunting Blogs

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Elk Scouting Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start hunting elk?

Interested in elk hunting, but not sure where to start? Read our guide on How To Start Hunting for tips on how to learn more about hunting, how to gear up, and how to gain experience in the field.

When do I start scouting elk?

With onX Hunt, you can scout from anywhere at any time of year right from your home on your computer. When hunting season draws nearer, make sure you’re going out into the field to scout and study elk herd movement.

When do I stop scouting elk?

As the season approaches, it’s important not to alert prey to your presence and patterns. Ensure that you have done your scouting well in advance of hunting season to avoid spooking elk.