This time of year many sportsmen are gearing up for turkey hunting or are cleaning out the bass boat, but there a select few of us who are already preparing for our pursuit of whitetails in the fall. For those of us that dream of droptines and doe’s in estrus, there is no down time. Chasing mature whitetails is truly a year long affliction and to be successful it takes some serious dedication. So although I am excited to do a little bit of turkey hunting and bass fishing, I am certainly not forgetting about my whitetail hunting responsibilities.
So what am I doing do now to improve my chances of sinking an arrow behind the shoulder of a brute buck? Let me count the ways…
- Shed Hunting: With most snow being melted by now, your chances of finding sheds are greatly increased. Collecting sheds is not only fun, but also a great way of taking inventory of the bucks left on your land. Knowing what bucks you are hunting and where they hang out is the foundation that you will build on as the season progresses. Here is a quick shed hunting tip for you, pay special attention to any fence, stream or ditch crossings. Anywhere a buck might have to jump offers a great chance for a shed to drop!
- Scouting: Now is one of the absolute best times to scout, similarly to shed hunting, with the snow melted and undergrowth yet to appear, you can now see many of the secrets the winter kept hidden. Keep an eye out for signs of the previous years rut, as rubs and scrapes can now be easily identified. This is also a great time to scout out those bedding areas that you would typically not want to pressure, get in there now and you won’t need to worry about spooking that big buck.
- Practice Shooting: It can never be stressed enough, you have to get out and practice with your bow or gun. If you work all year to get a shot opportunity on a buck, you just can’t afford to blow it in the final seconds. Nothing will make you sicker than injuring a deer or watching an arrow sail over a deer’s back. Try this exercise next time you practice with your bow. Take 3 arrows and mark a line at 20, 30 and 40 yards (if you feel comfortable out to that range). Now start at 20 and shoot til you hit a bullseye, now step back to 30 with your next arrow and try for a bull. If you miss, go back to 20 until you hit a bull, which will then allow you to step back to 30 again. The point of this is to hit 3 bulls in a row, one at 20, 30 and 40 yards. The key is that this forces you to focus on one shot, with each shot being absolutely crucial. If you screw it up, you have to go back to square one. Shooting at a deer is no different.
So what are YOU doing now to get your buck this next fall??? Lets share some ideas and hopefully we’ll all learn a thing or two that will help us prepare for the upcoming season!