Food – Nutrition: Now is the time to get your final plots in for an August/Early September planting that leads to a late green-up in the fall. Various clover and turnip plots can be planted late in the summer in order to have a lush plot during the season. Do your best to plan you plot planting with a rain storm if possible to get the plot started off on the right foot. Whitetail Institute is a leading expert on this topic.
Mineral – Nutrition: Deer should still be pounding the mineral stations this time of year. Repeated visits to the mineral site within a week can be expected for some bucks. While others may only visit about once a week. Trophy Rock minerals continue to be a favorite of mine. Realtree offers another option with this video of a mineral supplement that can be made using minerals from Tractor Supply.
Water – Nutrition: It’s never too late to consider digging water holes if you live in an area where water can be found not to far under the ground level. In dry areas burying a large plastic tub can work as well. Fill it with water yourself or allow rain to fill the bucket. The bottom line is water is vital to whitetails during this hot time of year and in many places throughout the country it continues to be very hot in much of the whitetails range. This is critical part of their diet that is often overlooked. Our property now has numerous water holes and sometimes we have to dig them slightly deeper if things get quite dry. Jeff Sturgis of Habit Solutions emphasizes the importance of water holes in this video.
Mock Scrapes/Rubs: Scrapes are an important part of a whitetails communications with one another. Developing mock scrapes and maintaining them throughout the off-season can spike whitetails curiosity and with some luck create a permanent scrape that is used throughout the entire year for years to come. Location is important when considering scrape locations. Attempt to create scrapes in areas of cover with the hope of getting mature bucks to use the scrapes during daylight hours. Freshening a scrape can be done with real deer urine or synthetic urine. I’ve read enough articles that have convinced me that human urine is a viable way to freshen mock scrapes. Be sure to start putting mock scrapes in and around your hunting areas. Shortly the deer will start to be lay down many of their own. The same goes for rubs. I’ve been putting rubs throughout many of my hunting areas using nothing more than a knife.
Bed, Trail, Rub, Scrapes and Food Source Scouting: The main type of scouting I continue to do is in bean and alfalfa fields with a spotting scope. This type of scouting can give you a remarkable inventory of the bucks in the area. Look for the deer in the fields in the evening or after a rain. Using a Luepold spotting scope I’ve been able to get a feel for numerous bucks in our area. Some of these bucks have yet to show themselves on my cameras, so it is good to get an even better idea of the buck inventory in our area. Just this past week a dandy 3 ½ year old 8 point revealed himself in the fields. His brow tines are the best I’ve ever seen in our area.
Stand Scouting and Preparation: I’ve begun clearing some paths to a number of my main stands. The goal with clearing paths is obviously to cut down on noise when heading to your stand in the fall. There are two options when it comes to preparing a path to a stand using a weed-whacker, rake, shovel to clear the area, or you can spray the area killing all growth. For the time being I’ve actually elected to use a shovel to kill the majority of Skunk Cabbage that fills many of the trails to the tree stands in our swamp. In some places in may not even be worth clearing much of trail. When it comes to hanging stands often comes down to preference, but the rule of thumb should be the sooner the better. Get in, set your stand, and then stay out. The less time spent in the woods as the season gets closer the better. We just put in our final stand for the season this past week. The trails to the tree stands we have are almost complete.
Trail Cameras: I maintain the cameras in a fixed location throughout the off-season that way I’m not pushing deer around and they become more accustomed to me checking these locations. This may or may not be ideal for getting pictures of mature bucks. Some are completely adverse to human scent, others will come at night, and still others will avoid the area all together. It depends on the buck. Ideally a food plot, mineral site, or water source are a good year round location for camera during the off-season. If the location is desirable enough mature bucks should eventually show themselves at these locations. By placing the cameras in the woods year around I am able to keep a constant inventory on the deer present in our area. The pictures of bucks in velvet keep piling in. It’s rather exciting to watch bucks develop their antlers with every passing day, especially this buck MrPerfect.
Out of State Hunting Plans: My goal is do some out of state hunting this year. I’ve begun looking at locations and a place to say should I follow through with this goal. I came across this great website that directs you to all the state land options throughout the US. Using that website and others topographical views have given me a decent idea of where to look for spots when I get some boots on the ground. You certainly want to do your homework on which grounds you will hunt whether public or private when hunting out of state. Without my Lone Wolf Tree Stand none of talk of out of state hunting would even be possible. Find yourself a reliable and portable tree stand if you’re seriously considering hunting out of state. This is complex topic with numerous aspects to consider. The important thing is that you continually spend time planning out the details making sure to pay attention to all the details. I actually called the local DNR on a location to get a better understanding of how good the hunting is in the area that I’m looking at.
Shooting Practice: This is something you can’t skip out on. The more you shoot the better. The more consistent you are shooting and the tighter your groups the better. Even veteran hunters should spend some time honing their skills for the coming season. When practicing do whatever possible to make the situations as close too realistic as possible. That includes shooting from a treestand or a high elevation, shooting with hunting gear on, gloves on, ect.
Learning about the Whitetail: I never stop learning about the whitetail. It’s one of those animals that is heavily researched and there is always something new to learn. Here are a few new insights I’ve come across from this past month:
- Jim Ward of Jim Ward’s Whitetail Academy explains the Trap for mature Buck’s in detail. This is the best video I’ve ever seen explaining this.
- Realtree’s Antler Nation continues to grade hunting in states throughout the whitetails range.
- QDMA offers details about the nose of a whitetail.