It Didn't Take Too Long Folks, But We're Back To Talking About Deer Hunting!
Yes, it’s July, but that’s all the more reason to start getting ready for the hunt. And by getting ready, I’m talking about pre-season scouting, and I don’t mean just waiting till one week before the season gets started!
Pre-season scouting, of course, is how you figure out where the best places to hunt ought to be. Remembering where signs were through-out the various hunts from last season, seeing different things while turkey hunting, or even just passing by and seeing the deer out feeding late in the afternoon are all things to keep in mind. Deer respond to pressure, so don’t overdo it and live in the woods with them; be patient but pay attention to the details when you do make a trip into those pretty hardwood bottoms.
Other things to consider when you make a trip out are where to move stands, as this is the best time to do it, and how any natural trails or funnels have changed if you’ve done any clear cutting or logging.
Game cameras are a huge tool in figuring out what deer you have and where they are. First foremost, make sure the camera has plenty of memory on it to store pictures, as you’re only going to check on it about once a month, so as to not pressure deer away from it. Have a few cameras set up around your property, where you think the deer will be going. A little feeder or two wouldn’t hurt to help get the deer nearby. Make sure they’ve got plenty of power too; batteries always need checking. With enough cameras and patience, you can get a pretty good survey done for how your deer population is holding up.
Speaking of feeders, supplemental feeding with corn or protein pellets, like Purina record rack, mineral blocks, and salt licks are great ways to help the deer out on your property. Not to mention, bucks need protein and minerals to grow those pretty racks, so investing in those pellets or blocks might get you a return! Feeding the deer keeps them coming back, which can make for better hunting during the season.
For the more green-thumbed among us, it’s not too late to crank up the tractor and get some summer planting done. Tropical corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, and iron clay peas are all great options that are sure to keep the deer coming. It’s a lot of work, but it’s always worth it.
I mentioned setting your stand up earlier, and this is definitely the time to do it. If you wait until a week before the season starts, the deer are gonna know something’s up right there, and avoid it like the plague. Get it out of the way early, so the deer have time to acclimate to the new changes, and you won’t be disappointed when it’s time for opening day.
When setting up your stand, location is pretty darn important. For starters, the wind typically comes out of the North-West during the fall, so make sure that your stand has you upwind from where the deer should be coming from. Typically, that means setting up on the South-East corner of a food plot, unless you expect the deer to come out of that direction, which may call for some serious inspection of the various paths to and from your location. Remember, deer live and die by that nose, so don’t let them get the best of you with it.
Once you’ve got your stand in place, don’t move it! Again, deer are creatures of habit, but that doesn’t mean they won’t skip town if you make a disturbance. Unless it is a matter of major importance, deer stands shouldn’t be moved once set up, so make sure you’ve got it right the first time, and spend time examining the lay of the land along with the deer sign.
While we’re talking about lay of the land, I might suggest trying out Google Earth. Our eyes only take us as far as our property lines let them, but Google Earth can give you a good idea of what lays beyond what we see. I know there’s been a time or two when I’ve been working a bird during turkey season and couldn’t get the booger to come on over to where I’m hunting. I just pulled out the phone, cranked up Google Earth, and then saw that he had a pond to go around to get where I am. Another time, there was a crop field across the line that I couldn’t see, so I knew that bird wasn’t gonna leave just to visit little old me. Aside from those specific instances, the layouts you can see can help you find stuff you might miss otherwise.
Though the heat is on, like any Alabama summer, now’s the time to turn up the heat on your deer hunting preparations. So get your feed, your stands, and your water, and go get’em!