Late Summer Preparations For Whitetail Deer
Summer always seems to get extremely busy between weddings, vacations, and other family events, our whitetail deer hunting preparations can sometimes take a back seat on the list of priorities. Just a few months ago, I was saying to myself, “I’ll get around to trimming those shooting lanes or putting up those trail cameras,” and before we know it, deer season is knocking at the front door.
Even though July has mostly come and gone, it’s not too late to get outside and start knocking out items on the to-do list. Here are five things you can be doing right now to help prepare yourself for later this Fall.
Hang Trail Cameras
I don’t know about you but I look forward to checking cameras almost as much as hunting itself. The anticipation and the excitement of seeing a target buck roll across the computer screen is half the fun when it comes to chasing whitetails. Field edges are prime locations to hang cameras because they are easy to access which minimizes intrusion and saves time (that we all desperately need) while pulling cards. To enhance a trail camera location, I like to put out Big Tine 30-06 and Last Call so that I can quickly inventory the resident deer population.
Trail cameras are a valuable scouting tool for locating target bucks during the Summer months.
Hang Tree Stands
Let’s face it, when the temps are pushing 100 degrees and the mosquitos are biting our faces off, the last thing we want to do is leave the A/C behind and hang stands in the blazing sun. This is the most miserable time to be in the woods but it’s not too late to set up new stand locations. I’m a firm believer that you can get away with a lot more intrusion while antlers are still covered in velvet, but once they turn hard horn, all bets are off so do it now. Even if your stands are hung, it’s also a good time to trim shooting lanes and make minor adjustments.
Plant Food Plots
If you’re a late-season junkie and love hunting in single digit temps, late Summer is the perfect time of year to plant a food plot in preparation for the latter part of Fall and early Winter. Buck Brunch Food Plot Mix is an ideal blend of clovers, turnips, rape, and cereal grains that deer will hammer during heavy snow and cold weather. If the soil conditions are less than ideal on your hunting property, make sure to use Big Tine S.O.S. to help improve the growth of your plot.
For the days that are just too hot for your own good, crank up the air conditioner and get some scouting done from the living room. For those of you who are jumping into a new hunting property altogether or are knocking elbows on public land, digital scouting can play a key roll in your success. Reviewing aerials and topographic imagery reveals funnels and potential stand locations that could otherwise go unknown. I use Google Earth to gain intel and to dissect a property from a 30,000-foot view, while onXmaps is my go-to for marking locations for use in the field.
Digital scouting can be done from a phone or computer and will help with learning the lay of the land on a new or potential hunting property.
Gain More Hunting Access
The day I say I have too much hunting property is the day I’m six feet under. In other words, I can never have enough land to hunt. Summer months are a great time to drive the back roads and knock on doors of potential ground in hopes of one-day getting permission to hunt. Gaining access means building trust with the landowner, which isn’t easy to do, so don’t get discouraged if you strike out more often than not. Be polite, offer to lend a helping hand around the farm, and you might just end up with a new piece of ground to chase a trophy buck.
The Season Is Almost Here
If you feel like you’re behind the ball, (guilty) get going on some or all of these items. Even though it may feel like it’s too far gone, believe it or not, it’s not too late to get going on preparation for deer season. Just remember that the reward will be greater if you put in the work now so get out there and have a successful hunt later this Fall.