Five Do’s And Don’ts Before Deer Season

These five do’s and don’ts before deer season will put you on the track to success this fall.

Summer can be very busy, but summertime can also be very productive if you set your mind to it. The months of June, July and August are the three months every hunter should be thinking about October, November and December and for some even September. Here are five do’s and don’ts of summer that will help you identify what needs to be accomplished before the season opener.

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Do: Check all your gear

This always comes back to bite me every year, because there’s that one item I didn’t think about replacing or buying a new one before the season opened, and I find myself scrambling for the funds to purchase it after I’ve already purchased deer stands, arrows, broadheads, food plot blend, etc. Whether it’s bug spray, new socks or a scent eliminator be sure to check every item before the season begins. Then, check one more time and you won’t regret it.

Do: Spend time with the family

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t spend all summer at your hunting property. Pick a day or two to get things done and don’t go back until September unless you have to. You are going to be gone all of October and November, and the best thing you can do for your family over the summer is give them the time they deserve, especially if you’re taking a week or two for your rut vacation.

Don’t: Give too much credence to summer scouting

Bucks with velvet act a lot different after they rub their velvet clean off. They shift their core areas, they break out of their bachelor groups and some will hardly move anymore during the daylight hours. The average hunter cannot form too much of a game plan in July or August of where to hunt the hit-list buck because when the velvet comes off that buck’s testosterone level increases, and he essentially becomes a new man. If you’re using trail cameras take note of the pictures your getting but don’t get too excited just yet.

Do: Clean out the freezer

Unless you have four or five deep freezers it’s time to start cooking burgers, grilling steaks and marinating back strap. After you harvest your first deer you’re going to need room in the freezer. This will also be a good excuse not to go out to eat, in turn, saving you money for more important items like arrows and new camouflage before the season.

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Using a water hole can be a deadly setup, especially during the early season when it’s hot and there has been little rain.

Don’t: Get behind on preparation

This is huge. When archery season begins you don’t want to find yourself playing catch up. Shoot your bow, set up your tree stands, check your release, set up your blind and the list goes on and on. I’ve found out over the years that the more prepared I am the more success I have in the deer woods. Waterholes, like the one shown above can be deadly. Make sure to freshen up the water as often as possible so the deer won’t be harmed by bacteria growing in the heat.

The more scouting I do beforehand the better my odds when I’m making a move on that big, mature buck. If I get my food plot planted, fertilized and watered with enough time the better chance I have of drawing deer within shooting range.

Like what you see here? You can read more awesome hunting articles by Nathan Unger at the Bulldawg Outdoors blog. Follow him on Twitter @Bulldawgoutdoor, Instagram @Bulldawgoutdoors and subscribe on YouTube @Bulldawgoutdoors.

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3 Tactics to Late Season Scouting

Late season scouting is essential for getting ready for next season.

These 3 late season scouting tactics will get you ready for next season.

As deer season nears to a close several hunters are packing it in for the winter months. They might try harvesting one or two more does for the freezer or try for that elusive giant that seems to be skirting daylight hours. Whatever the case may be, there are late season scouting tactics that could prove helpful for next year’s season.

Seek Out Bedding

A tactic that could make the entire difference in your deer season next year is locating bedding areas. Because much of the flora has lost its spring density deer are more limited to where they can bed – unless you created several bedding areas by hinge cutting in the off season.  However, knowing where these bedding areas are could be dynamite for the rut, especially doe bedding areas. Additionally, this knowledge of bedding areas will provide a head start for locating buck movement during the late season next year.

Know the Food

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Depending on the crop year depends on where whitetails congregate throughout the season. If orchards are present on your land then that might be the early season food of choice. If you planted clover then deer might prefer that throughout the summer and early fall. There are so many options it really takes knowing what your deer herd prefers. Also identifying what’s naturally growing on your hunting parcel will you give an idea of what deer eat on a day-to-day basis.

This year in southern Virginia we had a large white oak acorn crop. Deer, especially mature bucks, did not need to move as much because the acorns were literally feet from their bed. The hard part was figuring out which bed they were in. The catch 22 was that a neighboring property timbered several acres three years ago, and just this year the secondary succession was perfect for deer bedding. Needless to say it was quite the chess match.

However, if you don’t have a bumper acorn crop where are the deer focusing their feeding movements? Is it a cut corn field? Could it be alfalfa or brassica? It could be any or all of these. What’s pertinent is that you find what the deer are feeding on in your region. Up until this point this season, deer still are not feeding on the brassica which they have enjoyed in the past three years. It might just take another month or so before they shift to this. Unfortunately, it might be a month too late. Know what your deer feed on when, and it could be the difference of harvesting or not harvesting a mature buck this winter.

Find the Travel Routes

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Late season can be tough because many deer become nocturnal and wait in staging areas until it gets dark. Find these staging areas, hang a stand, make sure the wind is in your favor and wait. I’ve witnessed deer hold up right inside a wood line until dark. I’m sure many of you have witnessed this as well. The reason is because deer have been pressured by hunters all year and are more wary of predators.

Simultaneously, you can begin looking at these funnels and pinch points for clues to next year’s season. Observe where these deer are moving and ask yourself, “why are the deer being funneled this way?” Is there a terrain feature? Is it the wind? Are there drainages that are impossible for the deer to cross? Search these out and take advantage of where it forces the deer. Sometimes in the winter it can be easier to identify these funnels, drainages and crossings because the leaves have fallen and line of sight is clearer.

Whatever your goals are for late season hunting, make sure to take every advantage to scout for the next year as well.It could be the difference.

Like what you see here? You can read more awesome hunting articles by Nathan Unger at the Bulldawg Outdoors Facebook page. Follow him on Twitter @Bulldawgoutdoor and on Instagram @Bulldawgoutdoors.

NEXT:3 Keys to Late Season Success

Three Deer Stand Locations That Will Lead to Success

These locations will be dynamite this fall. Be sure to get intel now for these deer stand locations.

By Nathan Unger

Each summer, as hunters, we’re often faced with the conundrum of where to place our deer stands for the coming deer season. Deer stand locations are important because it could be the difference between harvesting that big whitetail you’ve been dreaming about all summer long.

Hunters have to ask themselves a few questions before they set up stands:

Should I place a stand where I’m seeing summer bachelor group bucks?

Male whitetail home ranges can vary drastically once their velvet comes off and their testosterone level increases. Bucks will move from food-to-bedding patterns in the summer to  looking for and chasing does in the fall.

These deer stand locations will account for some of these changes in home ranges, and will ultimately lead to success will a little bit of buck luck.

Find the food

three deer stand locations

The first location that will be good for the entire season is on the edge of a food source that is downwind of a bedding area where it funnels into that food source. This could include a food plot or a crop field.

If your state has an early bow season this could still be highly successful under the correct weather and pressure conditions in the early season as bucks are still easily patterned. Likewise, if the bedding area is a doe bedroom those bucks will be cruising all around during the rut and into December and January.

This is probably my favorite set-up because it’s good all year long.

The key? Early season scouting before dark or with trail cameras to see where the deer are entering the food sources to help narrow down which tree to precisely put a stand in.

Locate funnels

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A diagram of bedding areas, stand locations and food sources.

While some of this terminology may be more familiar in the western states they can still be applied in south where I do most of my hunting.

There have been several times that I have bumped deer because I thought there was no way they would be located on a certain hillside or in a certain ravine, but over the years it seems as if they prefer certain terrain to better smell approaching predators.

Funnels are a specific point where several paths intersect that deer prefer to travel because of terrain features or obstacles.

The key? Make sure your stand is on the downwind side of these funnels and that you’ve done your research on where that buck is traveling from.

A lot of times that mature buck will make a ‘J-hook’ to sniff out the area before entering a certain location. Oftentimes this is specific to bedding, however deer don’t always follow the rules.

These can be successful during the rut primarily as bucks are chasing does and can be careless from time to time especially if the wind is in your favor.

Identify benches

These unique, topographical ledges are exactly what they sound like. Imagine a hillside being the backboard of a bench and the seat being an off-shoot of that hill. These off-shoots are some of mature bucks favorite bedding areas because they can see anything coming from below them and smell anything coming from above them.

Numerous times have I gotten too close to these areas and bumped deer because they caught my scent. Setting up a stand on the downwind side of the entrance to these benches will be great sites to place a stand.

Diagram

The diagram above highlights food sources, “F”, bedding areas are marked with a purple circle,”X” marks stand locations and the purple lines are streams running through the property. The three X’s that are immediately adjacent to the red borders are the funnels specific to this property where the terrain or stream forces deer into this specific location.

The X’s that are not located on a food sources or immediately next to the red border are benches where the deer will sometimes bed or travel in between food sources or bedding areas.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. By no means is this a one-size-fits-all formula, but for the majority it will lead to hunting success this season.

NEXT:New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.