By Mark Kenyon

Food plots? Hunting pinch points between timber stands? Setting up down wind of bedding areas? Scouting bucks on late summer food sources? Documenting  buck travel patterns with trail cameras? Are these some of the tactics that you think about when trying to figure out the key to whitetail hunting success?

For many people, this is exactly what’s running through their heads – and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. In my opinion though, the key to whitetail hunting success may in fact be much simpler.

But lets take a step back and discuss preparation. Preparation is truly one of the most important aspects of becoming a successful whitetail hunter. Stand locations. Food plots. Archery practice. Scouting for sign. Acquiring new property. The list goes on and on. If you want to kill mature bucks on a consistent basis, there is a lot you need to do in the “off-season” to make sure you’re ready for the fall. The question is, are we always on top of all this preparation?

Unfortunately, at least in my case, the answer is sometimes no. I admittedly am a procrastinator and sometimes these tasks fall by the way side or get pushed to the very last minute. I’m thinking I’m not the only one with this problem … Can you relate?

That said, how can we combat this issue? I’d like to propose a simple solution, and one that I imagine many hunters already use.

My solution is a To-Do list. Yes, a simple To-Do list could be the key to whitetail success.

If you aren’t already using this tool, I’d highly encourage you to grab a sheet of paper or pull up a Word doc and start listing out all the projects or tasks you need to or would like to complete leading up to the fall hunting season. List out as many of these items as you can, and don’t be afraid to get too detailed – the more the merrier. Trimming shooting lanes. Cleaning your gun. Working on your shooting form. Clearing access paths to your treestand. Fertilizing food plots. There’s a ton to do if you want to consistently kill bucks, and working through this exercise is a very important first step towards making this all become a reality.

Once you have a comprehensive list built out, I’d then recommend you start scheduling and prioritizing the list. First start labeling each item with the month that it needs to be completed. Next, I’d go through and highlight the most important tasks in each month. That way, if you get to that month, and you’re not able to do everything, you’ll at least know where to focus your limited time.

Now that you’ve got a list and a schedule, it’s much easier to tackle all the projects you’d like to get done. Viewed in the entirety of everything you “should do”, a whitetail off-season can seem overwhelming. But when you list all the projects out, and split them into smaller groups of tasks that you can complete during certain time frames – this work load all of a sudden seems a lot more manageable.

Consistently killing mature bucks is an incredibly tough endeavor to pursue, and if you want success, you need to put in a lot of work. In my opinion, the key to getting this work done is first understanding what needs to completed, and then organizing it in a way that helps you make it all happen. For me, that looks like a To-Do list.

So while there are plenty of exciting whitetail hunting strategies, tips and tactics out there that can help you kill big deer – maybe all you need to focus on right now is a simple list.

That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

Do you utilize a hunting to-do list or some other form of organizational process to make sure you’re getting everything done leading up to hunting season? Tell us about it in the comments!