By Mark Kenyon
Every January I promise myself that this year will be better. This will be the year I don’t procrastinate. This will be the year I get everything on my whitetail to-do list done on time. This will be the year I’m fully prepared. Inevitably though, the spring and summer fly by, and before I know it deer season is on my doorstep, and I’ve got loads of work still to do.
This year seems to be no different, as I’m already feeling like I’m behind the eight ball, with hunting season just a few months away. That said, I’ve always found that by listing out the projects and tasks needed to be accomplished, I can more easily wrap my head around how I can get it all done. With that being the case, I thought I’d share today a list of seven such tasks that I’m working on this month, that you might want to consider getting to work on as well.
So take a look through this list, maybe even make a list of your own, and then get at it! That first crisp, cool evening in the treestand will be here before you know it … Make sure you’re ready!
1. Roadside Scouting: One of my favorite things to due in July and August is drive the backroads scouting for velvet whitetails. By scouting from the road you can take inventory of bucks in your general area, get a better idea of whether or not a certain area holds the quality deer you’re looking for, and in some cases even provide intel that can be used during the hunting season. Make sure to bring along a good spotting scope or binoculars to get a visual on distant whitetails. I personally have been using Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binos and scope, and they’ve worked great for this kind of application.
2. Manage Trail Cameras: By now most whitetail addicts have their trail cameras out, but you need to make sure you’re properly managing those camera locations. By this, I mean a few things. First, make sure you’re checking your cameras often enough to replace SD cards before they fill up and keep batteries fresh, but don’t visit these locations too often either, as you can easily spook local bucks with your presence. I like to wait on average about two weeks between checking cameras. You’ll also want to make sure that whatever attractant, mineral, bait, etc that is in front of your camera is not in danger of running out. If you’re not running cameras to take inventory of summertime bucks, I’d highly recommend that you. Here’s a link to a few reasons for why I say that – The Value of Taking Inventory With Trail Cameras
3. Mineral Stations: Speaking of trail cameras, many hunters place minerals in front of their cameras to get photos, but these mineral stations can also play a much larger role. It’s widely believed that providing supplemental minerals can help improve nutrition in whitetails, and it’s an easy and relatively affordable improvement you can make on a property whether you own it or not. Here’s a quick read on the believed benefits of supplemental minerals – Minerals for Whitetails – QDMA.com
4. Clear Access Trails: When it comes to killing mature bucks, there are few things as important as a stealthy entry and exit route. If you haven’t already, make sure your routes in and out of stands are cleared of as much debris and new growth as possible. Now is also a good time to explore new options for access.
5. Finalize Treestand Prep: I like to have all of my treestands hung by mid-late summer, earlier is better, but inevitably I find myself still having stands to hang every July and August. If you’re like me, try to get those taken care of now so that those spots will have a month or two of rest before the season. If you’re interested in more tips about stand placement, check out Episode #8 of The Wired To Hunt Podcast
6. Get Hunting Permission: You can never have too many places to hunt, especially since hunting permission seems to be more and more temporary these days, as more long-time land owners are selling or leasing their land. If you don’t own your own ground, there’s no time like the present to get out, knock on some doors and pick up some new spots. For more info check out our recent video “5 Tips for Getting Hunting Permission on Private Land” or our most recent podcast, Episode #14 – Gaining Hunting Permission On Private Land
7. Prep Fall Food Plots: If you have land that you’re able to manage habitat on, fall food plots are obviously a terrific tool to use to help your local whitetail herd and improve your chances of hunting success. If you’re planning on planting a fall food plot, now is the time to really start focusing on preparing that location. Make sure all other competing vegetation is killed off and be sure to have the appropriate lime, fertilizer and tools to get your plots planted this August or September. Getting that prep done now will save you a lot of headaches come planting time.