Trophy E Hunter, I am a weekend hunter aswell. But i can usually scout one morning or eve. during the week for atleast an hour or so. I can also usually hunt Friday eve and all day Sat. In PA. and MD. and since No hunting is permitted on Sundays here either I spend all day Sunday in the woods scouting and try to get out like Wed. eve or Thurs. morning to scout.. In season scouting is a necesary evil. Come bow season I know were there bedding area's are and try to avoid them but sometimes you stumble upon a bedded buck, which is actually a plus, If you just bump him and then do not persue him. I act Like I could care less when I kick one up and noisly walk in the opposite direction as the buck exited the area. I then quicky try to determine how the buck exit's or enters his bedding in the AM or PM. and then get out of the area. I then wait 2 or 3 days and start hunting him. I have shot 2 real good bucks by bumping them and then setting up on them and I also put a friend on a third. All 3 were shot the first time we set up on them. The key to inseason scouting is to take the same scent precautions as you do when hunting, Knee high rubber boots, and I also were rubber gloves .If you bump a buck once he will return to that bedding area if you do not persue him once you bump him.
OLD HAT, I treat territorial scrapes and rubs the same. For example if I find a couple of fresh territorial scrapes in the same area as a couple week old rubs, I will still hunt the area, I follow this same stradegy from the first day of the season, thru the searching phase, Now once the chasing begins I will only hunt breeding scrapes, If the scrape does not have a licking branch I do not hunt over it. To me it seems a buck will continue on his summer pattern no longer than Oct. 10th , Some might stop Oct. 5th and some might stop Oct.13th but I count on every buck to leave there summer feeding patterns by Oct 10th. The majority of bucks will become almost completely Nocturnal at this point, Many hunters think this is because of hunting preasure but mature bucks will become nocturnal even without the presance of hunters. The reason for this is the same reason as of why the bucks antlers stop growing and then shed their velvet, It has to do with the amount of light in the day. Once the bucks start shedding their velvet their body is producing testostrone and hormones, the shorter the days become the more their bodies produce, the more they produce the more nocturnal they become, This leads them in to the next phase which is the Oct. Lull, which is the toughest time to hunt mature buck's, it usually last until about the 23rd of OCT. The only chance of harvesting a buck during the Lull is either to get real lucky, or move and hunt closer to the bedding area's both in the morning and eve. but as you know this gets tricky and risky. Now my favorite time to hunt mature bucks is the day after we turn the clocks back around the 26th of Oct. thru the 2nd or 3rd of Nov. If you find fresh sign during this time and set up on it a day or 2 later, your chances are pretty good that you will see what made the sign, The rut as you know is also an awesome time to hunt but the buck that made the sign could be 3 mile away courting a lady or searching the local Walmart parking lot for doe's . Pike