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Fields fairly close to bodies of water is a good start. Many times I will try to spot certain crops such as winter wheat, or grain since corn is not common in my parts. I have found that spring has always been a very good time to scout. Breeding families from previous years will return to their common breeding grounds and will often feed in the general vacinity come late summer into fall. As for talking to farmers. Gain a connection with one farmer and become knowledgeable with the type of farming they do. Farmers enjoy sensible conversation about the daily work they do!

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I'm not one to usually ask permission for fields until I see birds using them, but that might not work very good in areas with higher pressure though. For summer scouting, I'm looking for roosts and loafing ponds, and getting an idea of where the small grain fields are so I can narrow down my scouting later when the season is opening. As far as asking permission, it's all a throw of the dice. Some farmers prefer a face to face conversation, while some would prefer a phone call. A scenario that happens to me a lot is I'll pull up in a farm yard, and the wife will be home but husband is out in the field or at work. She will say "i don't think it would be a problem, but here's john's cell number, give him a call and check." I'll pencil the number in on my plat book for future reference as well.

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