70 to 75% of my time in the field is scouting. Now I'm a little different than most of these guys because I'm a trophy hunter only. This being said I have to cover a lot more ground just to locate one in my heavily hunted areas of my state. You truly should never stop scouting because deer are always changing habits during the season due to changes in cover, food sources, and hunting presure not even getting into physical changes caused by the rut.
I don't get to pre-scout much but hunting in the same area for 34 seasons gives me a bit of edge. While not a true trophy hunter like wmi, my goal is to shoot the biggest buck in our area. Normal years finds me hunting bow, rifle and late flintlock, which covers early Nov, early Dec and early Jan. I'm scouting everytime I'm in the woods, this adds up to just under 3 weeks.
since im on public land i try to hide my spots well.i scout during the off seasons,after deer season when its free of leaves its easy to see all the trails and sign.during turkey season i will also go check out new spots.at the end of september i go in and chain my stand to the tree im going to use on the bow opener.make sure every thing is still the same from last year