Food: We intentionally planted our beans on July 1st and they’re doing pretty good. In general the deer are spending lots of times in the farmers beans and alfalfa these days. I recently mowed our clover and chicory plot. Beyond that we haven’t done alot of food plot activity during the hot month of July. Things have dried out a bit recently after alot of rain in the first part of July. Pretty soon I’ll be doing some spraying for fall food plots. Most experts recommend planting fall food plots in August-September.
Plot Preparation: With fall around the corner, it’s time to think serious about the preparation for fall food plots. First we did a soil test early in the year. At this point we’ve sprayed all of our plots, some multiple times. We’ve also mowed them to knock down all of the dead vegetation. Then we proceed with tilling. After tilling it’s time to plant. When we go to seeding we’re spreading the fertilizer and the seed. After that we roll (cultipaking even better) the plot to ensure for good seed to soil contact. Then it’s time to let Mother Nature do her thing.
Minerals: I’ve refreshed a few mineral sites during the month of July. My preference is to mix the minerals with dirt as best as possible. Deer like to eat minerals mixed in with dirt better then they prefer straight mineral. I have a couple of mineral sites that are getting buck and doe activity in them. I’ve made it a priority to have minerals at each of the properties I hunt. I’m doing my best to stay out of these mineral sites as much as possible, keeping the human activity in the area to a minimum.
Water: Thanks to all of the rain early in the month my water holes are now full of water and receiving good deer activity. Hopefully the recent dry week hasn’t dried them out too much.
Trail Cameras: The cameras I have over minerals are getting lots of activity. I have one camera another over growing beans and another of a favorite water source deer frequent. All of these locations are quite effective this time of year.
Mock Scrapes/Rubs: All of my mock scrapes are basically old deer scrapes that I make sure to freshen up and add scent to. Most of them are getting pretty good deer activity. This is an effective way to get deer to stop where you want them too. All of these locations are just off of or directly on deer trails.
Food Source Scouting: With the arrival of mid to late July came serious food source scouting. I have been scouting the farmers bean and alfalfa fields on almost a nightly basis. Spotting scopes are incredibly valuable to anyone interested in this type of scouting. Look to scout on cloudy nights, cooler nights, and the best if right after a rain not to long before dark.
Stand Scouting and Preparation: Pretty soon we’ll be hanging tree stands. I’ll do my best to hang them in conjunction with rain to wash the scent away after we’re done hanging the stands.
Shooting Practice: I’ve been shooting my bow a bit more as of late. I’ll be continuing to ramp up my shooting practice as much as possible and will challenge myself more and more as we get closer to the season.
Continual Learning: Avid whitetail hunters should always be learning. Summer scouting has become one of my favorite things to do. Here’s a great article from North America Whitetail on this topic. This is an interesting take on one of Bill Winke’s target deer for the year know as Lucky. Bill discusses the challenges of targeting primarily one mature buck.
It’s hard to believe only 2 months until season and for some states it’s even sooner then that.