Pre-Season Efforts for September

Nutrition:

Food: We planted our fall plots not to far into August and they’ve come in great. The plot contained a lot of turnips, a good amount of oats, and a small amount of clover and drawf essex rape. The plots we planted later in August have also come in great as well. We had a little time to spare and planted a plot for some young youth hunters down the road. Their plot also came in great. I was amazing at how well the turnips and radishes come to life.

Plot Preparation: With September here and gone you should have your food plots in. If you live in the Southern part of the whitetail’s range you may still have a tiny bit of time to get food plots in. But my suggestion would be to get them planted sooner then later, if not today.

Minerals: I continue to run minerals throughout the season, but the value of them lessens this time of year. Deer still need the minerals, but since the water content in the forage they’re eating this time of year is not as high as it is in the summer the deer aren’t desiring the minerals quite as much. That being said running minerals throughout the season is not a bad idea.

Water: My water holes have been so dry in the month of August and also through the month of September. Thankfully one of them has held water, but it certainly has been a dry month. The pictures on this particular water hole have been incredible. It has been outperforming scrapes in total number of pics, but a lot of those pictures are does. The does are using the water hole on a daily basis. That’s not to say the bucks aren’t there because I got a few good buck pictures there as well. We really need more rain though. Hopefully the arrival of fall gives us some much needed rain.

Trail Cameras:  The cameras I have over scrapes are getting tons of activity, including fighting/sparring bucks. The water hole continues to produce some great pictures as well. So the trail camera activity has been quite exciting as of late.

Sparring Bucks at a Scrape

Mock Scrapes/Rubs: All of my mock scrapes are pretty much old deer scrapes that I make sure to freshen up and add scent to. Most of them are getting great 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. If the deer are using the scrape well I don’t even touch the scrape in an attempt to keep human scent away from the scrape. Another idea I recently came across is to hang a large rope to act as a licking branch. The rope holds the scent better. I have not done this at this point, but plan to eventually.

Ghost hitting the best scrape on the property.

Food Source Scouting: I’ve continued my scouting over food sources (beans/alfalfa) throughout most of August and on cold front during September. The scouting continued to be much more effective then I expected specifically when the cold fronts hit in September. On the best cold front during the middle of September I saw virtually every one of my main target bucks. It was an incredible night of scouting. A lot of whitetail hunting experts suggest pinning down the acorn crop. The challenge with this can be acorn producing trees can be everywhere if you have a lot of oaks in your area. My suggest is to hunt the acorns, but don’t spend tons of time scouting all over your hunting grounds just to find that perfect white oak. This is best accomplished earlier in the summer when you can first start to see which trees will be producing acorns.

Stand Scouting and Preparation: Unfortunately due to safety reasons a lot of our stands don’t get put out until September. Luckily a lot of the stands were put in just before or in conjunction with rain so a lot of the scent left out from putting them in was dissipated. We were also able to get all of the stands we needed in. There may only be one or two more stands we put in during the season, but that will just depend on if they’re really needed. As always I’ll be mobile with the Lone Wolf hang on stand and sticks as much as possible to try and surprise mature bucks.

Shooting Practice: I’ve done everything possible to ramp up my bow shooting in the recent days. After a few minor adjustments to my bow at the bow shop I’ve gotten my bow dialed in and ready for the season. I’ve also spent a lot of time shooting broadheads to make sure they are flying straight. I recently made a switch to Easton Bowfire 300 arrows and NAP Thunderhead 100 broad heads. The combination of those two are flying great from my Hoyt bow.

Continual Learning: Avid whitetail hunters are always advancing their ideas about how to be a more effective hunter. Here a few ideas that challenged and enhanced the way I think. The Wired to Hunt podcast released a show with Adam Hays in the last few days of August. I finally dissected that podcast and took lots of notes. This is an incredible podcast for understanding how the moon affects whitetail movement and how to effectively kill giant bucks. Another great piece of information offered up on how to pattern bucks early in the year comes from Bill Winke on his Midwest Whitetail blog.

The whitetail bow season is here. October 1st marks the start of season for every part of the whitetails range to be the best of my knowledge. Keep all the tactics you’ve learned this off-season in mind as you head out to the woods. Good luck out there and shoot straight.

Pre-Season Efforts for August

Nutrition:

Food: We planted our fall plots not to far into August and they’ve come in great. The plot contained a lot of turnips, a good amount of oats, and a small amount of clover and drawf essex rape. I planted one small food plot a bit later and the rain hasn’t quite been strong enough to get much germination in some of the seeds. This plot contains clover, forage oats, turnips, and a small amount of chicory.

Fall Turnip and Oats Plot
Fall Turnip and Oats Plot

Plot Preparation: With September here time is running out to get food plots ready. Here are the steps we took to get our plots ready: 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; do your best to plant not long before a storm if possible.

Minerals: I’ve refreshed a couple of mineral sites during this month, but spent a lot more time staying out and letting the cameras take pictures over the minerals. The results have been great. I’ve obtained a number of good pictures over our minerals. I’m a firm believer in allowing mineral sites to sit for a month or even 2-3 months at a time before checking cameras.

Dagger - 9 Point Buck over Minerals
Dagger – 9 Point Buck over Minerals

Water: My water holes have been so dry in the month of August. Thankfully one of them has held a tiny bit of water, but it certainly has been a dry month. The pictures on this area have started to become very good since it is near a corn field and the deer are likely hitting that corn now.

Bachelor Group at Water Hole
Bachelor Group at Water Hole

Trail Cameras:  The cameras I have over minerals are getting lots of activity. The water hole has also started to produce some great pictures as well. Just recently I’ve transitioned one of my cameras back to a scrape. The one that’s been over a scrape for months took some decent pictures as well.

Mock Scrapes/Rubs: All of my mock scrapes are pretty much 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. If the deer are using the scrape well I don’t even touch the scrape in an attempt to keep human scent away from the scrape.

Food Source Scouting: I’ve continued my scouting over food sources (beans/alfalfa) throughout most of August. The scouting continued to be much more effective then I expected it to be. Usually the last two weeks in July are the best, but August proved to offer great scouting opportunities. I not only continued to monitor some of my best bucks during this month, but I also located a few other bucks that I hadn’t seen much or maybe not even at all during July.

Stand Scouting and Preparation: We recently hung two stands that should be great stand locations. I did everything possible to do it in conjunction with rain to wash our scent away. Thankfully it rained the following day. Both of these stand locations are in thick cover and should offer some interesting hunting opportunities. Due to the thickness of the cover around them they should be good all season long.

Shooting Practice: I’ve done everything possible to ramp up my bow shooting in the recent days. After a few minor adjustments to my bow at the bow shop I’ve gotten my bow dialed in and ready for the season. Now the key is to maintain my practice level so that I am ready for the season.

Continual Learning: Avid whitetail hunters are always advancing their ideas about how to be a more effective hunter. Here a few ideas that challenged and enhanced the way I think. First is an article from Wired to Hunt about Sanctuaries. I will continue to use sanctuaries myself, but this is an interesting article challenging those idea. The 2nd article is more of a product review. This a product review of something I can’t wait to get my hands on. Bowhunting.com produced this article.

Most of us are counting down the days. Season may have opened if you’re lucky enough to have an early September start, or it may be starting around the 15th. For most of us the countdown until Oct. 1 begins. To those traveling west to hunt Muley’s or Elk best of luck to you.

 

Pre-Season Efforts for July

Nutrition:

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.

Two bucks in the beans.
Two bucks in the beans.
Buck in the beans.
Buck in the beans.

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.

Pre-Season Efforts for June

Nutrition:

Food: Clover/chicory/corn/beans should now be planted. These plantings types provide whitetails with good summer forage. Browse in the timber is equally as important to the whitetails diet during this time of year. Throughout much of the whitetails range there has been ample rain for food plots. The only reason you may want to wait on putting bean in the ground is to have them green during the first of October, with this in mind wait to plant your beans until late June/early July. This is a tactic we’re trying.

Plot Preparation: 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. We’re still in the process planting right now. 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 been refreshing mineral sites lately. 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. Deer certainly love the minerals this time of year. I’ve made it a priority to have minerals at each of the properties I hunt.

Water: Thanks to all of the rain my water holes are now full of water and receiving good deer activity.

M2E38L125-125R399B307
Bucks at the Water Hole

Trail Cameras: My trail cameras over scrapes are continuing to get some activity. I’ll be leaving a few cameras over scrapes for a long time. The cameras I have over minerals are getting lots of activity. I also have one camera over alfalfa and another over growing beans.

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.

M2E1L0-14R350B300
Buck on a Scrape

Food Source Scouting: I’ve just recently started doing a tiny bit of food source scouting. I’ve seen a little bit of activity in doing this, but until the beans get bigger they’re not going to be offering the type of activity I prefer would scouting over food sources. Come mid to late July food source scouting should heat up.

Stand Scouting and Preparation: I have one more new stand that I really need to trim shooting lanes for and get a nice access trail too. Once that is done I’ll be somewhat happy with where I’m at getting stands ready for the season.

Shooting Practice:  I’ve been slacking in this area. Pretty soon I’ll need to get the bow out and begin fine tuning my shot. A buddy of mine is in the process of getting some of my arrows refletched. Once that is done hopefully I get excited about getting myself in form for the season.

Continual Learning: It’s food plot season so I’ve been teaching myself as much as I have time to regarding food plots and how to go about planting them. I’ve recently come across to food plot seed websites that I am very impressed with: Deer Creek Seed and Hancock Seed Company. These sites offer individual seed sales as well as seed blends. My favorite aspects of these sites is the attention to detail provided regarding nutrition information, planting dates, seeding rates, ect. In addition to that I’ve been enjoying some great habitat articles from Jeff Sturgis as of late. Here are a few that I found to be very insightful: Creating Daytime Buck Travel and Attracting a Buck to your Property

Pre-Season Efforts for May

Nutrition:

Food: Clover/chicory along with any other spring season perennials should be in the ground now that we’re nearing the end of may. We planted our clover/chicory plot last weekend. With some timely rain it should be looking good soon. Farmers have already begun to plant a lot of their corn and it’s starting to show good signs of growth. You’ll want to make sure you get any corn or beans you’ll be planting in the ground sooner then later. If you want green beans for the season opener wait to plant your beans until late June/early July otherwise get those crops in the ground now.

Plot Preparation: First we did a soil test early in the year. Now we’ve sprayed nearly all of our plots. We’ve also cut them to knock down all of the dead vegetation. Then we proceed with tilling. We’re in the process of tilling and planting right now. One of the plots is done and a few more are already tilled and should be planted soon. When we go to seeding we’re spreading the fertilizer and the seed. After that we roll the plot to ensure for good seed to soil contact. Then it’s time to let Mother Nature do her thing.

Minerals: I’ve been getting the minerals going good as of late. 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. Deer certainly love the minerals this time of year. I’ve made it a priority to have minerals at each of the properties I hunt.

Bucks love minerals
Minerals

Water: With the dry summer thus far I’ve had to dig my water holes a bit deeper to keep the water in them. That technique has worked quite well for getting some water to show up in the hole.

Trail Cameras: My trail cameras over scrapes are continuing to get decent activity. I’ll be leaving a few cameras over scrapes for a long time. The cameras I have over minerals are getting a lot of activity as well. Beyond those two areas, green food plots are the other great option for trail cameras or growing soybeans.

Scrapes work year round
Scrapes work year round

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: I’ll be holding off on this type of scouting until the beans are bigger and the bucks have put some serious headgear on. It’s still quite early for that. I am not seeing a ton of buck activity in the alfalfa fields at this point.

Stand Scouting and Preparation: I have one more new stand that I really need to trim shooting lanes for and get a nice access trail too. Once that is done I’ll be somewhat happy with where I’m at for getting stands ready for the season.

Shooting Practice:  I’ve been slacking in this area. Pretty soon I’ll need to get the bow out and begin fine tuning my shot.

Continual Learning: It’s food plot season so I’ve been teaching myself as much as I have time to regarding food plots and how to go about planting them. Whitetail Institute has a good web TV site dedicated to all of their various blends. They also have a planting date recommendation for all of their products as well. It’s based on specific states as opposed to regions, which I found to be quite helpful. The QDMA has compiled a list of good resources to visit regarding different plant species and planting ideas.

Pre-Season Efforts for September

Well September is here to stay for a few weeks. For some out there that means a prime chance to kill an early season buck. For others the dreaded wait until October. Regardless of where you sit in the waiting line it’s that time of year. Get your gear ready, your hunts planned, and get busy doing everything you’ll need to do to kill a buck this season. This is the final article for pre-season preparations. The next update will be chalked full of in season tactics to find and kill bucks. In the meantime read up on these categories and what can be done to prepare for the start of season. Good luck to all. The great outdoors awaits us all. There is no better time of year then the fall.

Trail Cameras: For some hunters their hit list is already made, for others they’re just getting started. Regardless of where you are at in figuring out what bucks you have to hunt placing cameras over the right location can be the difference between making a hit list and simply getting a few pictures of does. Primary pinch points, food plots, scrapes, and other prime locations should get a hit list going in due time. Another method many professional hunters use to get a good inventory of deer is to place corn near food sources to concentrate the deer near a camera. This is a very effective method for getting a good quick inventory of deer in the area. Regardless of the method you use to get pictures of deer now is the time to really get that hit list fine-tuned and finalized. If you have target buck or bucks that you’re really interested in harvesting pin-pointing that bucks core area to the best of your ability should be a primary goal with your cameras. Find out where he is moving during daylight. There are many different strategies for where and how to place cameras, but work hard to be scent free and take extreme caution not to bump the mature buck from the area and ruin your chances of harvesting that deer. The majority of article I read about mature buck harvests involve the use of trail cameras. Whatever you do, put those cameras to work so you can put down a fine buck.Pinnacle_5Bed, Trail, Rub, Scrapes and Food Source Scouting: The main type of scouting I continue to do is over alfalfa fields with a spotting scope. If food plots can be scouted using a spotting scope give it a try as well. The key is typically to be in a car when doing this or on some form of elevation where the deer are highly unlikely to see you. This type of scouting may lead to locating a mature buck feeding in a field just before the season starts. Look for the deer in the fields in the evening or after a rain or nights that are remarkably colder then other nights. If a buck reveals a pattern move in to kill the buck whenever your season allows you to get after him. Waiting for the right moment (light rain, a cooler night, and perfect wind direction) is often the difference between killing the buck and missing him in action once the season starts.

Food – Nutrition: Most hunters have their late season food plots in at this point. Now is the time of year to be aware of acorn, apple, pear, and other mast crops that are producing food for deer. Also most bean fields are transitioning or some are already being harvested, while corn fields will be getting pounded by deer at this time. Alfalfa fields should still be getting good attention this time of year and food plots should start getting some good action as well depending on the variety of food. Key in on the right food sources to locate that early buck that is fueling up for the rut.

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:

  • Wired to Hunt featured a great podcast with Steve Bartylla on many aspects of the what it takes to hold and harvest mature bucks
  • QDMA released a fine article discussing the home ranges of bucks
  • Team 200 continues to deliver fine episodes of hunting mature bucks on their website, for this being their first season together I believe they’ve done an excellent job
  • Realtree’s Antler Nation continues to grade hunting in states throughout the whitetails range.

Mock Scrapes/Rubs: Scrapes are an important part of a whitetails communications with one another. Now is the time to be ramping up on mock scrapes. Get these scrapes going so the deer start using them come the start of your season. Scrape activity will increase as October arrives and the rut edges closer and closer. 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. 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.

Planning Your Hunts for the Season:

Will you be hunting in one location all season. Consider what wind is important to have for each stand site. Pay attention to weather and what days make sense to hunt each stand site. Furthermore develop some sort of rotation that won’t burn out your stand sites. Beyond these factors are moon phases and timing of the rut something you are thinking about, you may want to start. At the least consider saving your best spots for the pre-rut and rut.

If you’re like me and you’ll be hunting in numerous locations consider what days are going to the best to get the job done in the varying locations. Out of state hunts aren’t necessarily that easy at all, so do your best to time those trips accordingly. If you hunt multiple properties in the same state consider which of the properties you’ll save for the pre-rut and rut and which properties will be better for early and late season when the deer are most focused on food. Also don’t neglect moon phases and weather patterns. These can be important variables for increasing your success.

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. I’ve been making sure to get some shooting in. Now that I have many of the whitetail tasks I’ve needed to get done completed I’ve made sure to spend time shooting here in September and will continue to practice until the season starts and will continue to practice throughout the 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.

Out of State Hunting Plans: I’ll be heading out of state to hunt at the end of September; I can’t wait to get my season started with this. My goal will be to harvest the first mature buck I get a chance at. I look forward to using my Lone Wolf tree stand and many of the scouting techniques I’ve learned in an attempt to harvest a mature buck. 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.

Stand Scouting and Preparation: Final preparations for tree stands should be all but complete at this point. If you’re behind the eight ball then aim to do stand preparations just before a rain storm to get your scent eliminated from the area as quickly as possible.

Gear Preparation: Make sure your gear is ready for the season. There are numerous items needed to have a successful hunting season. Check and double check everything you’ll need to make sure that you’re ready for that out of state hunt or even for the hunt at the family farm a few hours away. Maybe your property in your backyard is still in need of a few items to have everything ready for the season. Don’t wait until the last minute to be ready, well it’s almost the last minute, but still get what you need.

Giving Back: Hunting isn’t a sport to be done alone, yes much of hunting trophy whitetails is done individually, but by in large the stories are shared with others. More often then not nearly every serious hunter has someone they often share hunting stories with or even hunt together in various situations. Think of buddies of yours that could use help getting ready for season, don’t be shy to help them out. If you’re way behind then maybe you need to get your tasks done, but if you are on top of things then take a day or so to help a buddy get ready for the season. It goes along way and it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time.

Mineral – Nutrition: Deer will slow down greatly on their mineral consumption as their velvet is shed. Most deer throughout the whitetails range have or will be shedding their velvet any day now. If you’re like me and still desire to offer deer minerals; Realtree offers this type of option for a very affordable supplement. I divide the bags into multiple spots instead of making one massive mineral location.

Water – Nutrition: While deer season is here in most cases or about to begin within weeks it’s probably not wise to do any massive waterhole work, but it may make sense to do a small or minor water whole project depending on your temperatures and the climate you hunt in. The warmer that weather the more likely this type of technique could lead to success during the season. There are a few ways to accomplish getting water holes on your property. 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. It wet areas simply dig a hole in the ground. 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.

 

 

 

 

Pre-Season Efforts for August

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.

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.