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.

Dagger Swinging through the Water Hole

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
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.
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.