Velvet Is Off, Summer Is Over, Now What?

Now that velvet is off of most whitetails it’s time to start getting serious about hunting mature bucks. Here’s how.

By Nathan Unger

Twitter: @Bulldawgoutdoor
Instagram: @Bulldawgoutdoors

Early season is upon us whitetail enthusiasts, and for the most part bucks have rubbed their velvet clean off revealing hardened antlers that they will carry all fall and winter. However, when bucks shed their velvet it’s almost as if they become a whole different animal to hunt. With that in mind, there is good news and bad news.

wgi_0008.jpg

Bad News: Bucks seemingly become harder to pattern.

Bucks, for the most part, are no longer on their bed-to-food-only pattern. While some may keep this pattern exclusively many are preparing for the seeking and chasing phase of the rut. They’re looking for does and doe bedding.

Good News: Bucks break off from their summer bachelor groups.

This, in theory, creates a higher chance for you, the hunter, to get a shot at one. While bucks are not rutting yet their testosterone levels are steadily increasing. If you’re like me, hunting a smaller land parcel, the bucks may have been venturing through every couple of days or even every other week. Now that they are broken off the likelihood of you seeing one could be more frequent as they hopefully travel more often.

Bad News: You probably shouldn’t check trail cameras every week.

The more you go check your camera the higher probability of leaving something behind for that mature buck to smell. Eventually, that buck will pattern you and stay clear whenever he gets the slightest glimpse or whiff of you in the woods.

Good News: You increase your odds by not checking trail cameras

By not checking your camera as frequently you are enhancing your odds of running into a mature buck. Even better, if you have the means to purchase a cellular camera you won’t have to defile the area at all.

Bad News: Mature bucks prove why they are mature.

Mature bucks will start to travel less frequently during the day. Why? There are several reasons. Here are a few:

  • They start to feel pressure from hunters
  • Food sources are changing.
  • Habitat and bedding are altering.

Good News: It’s time to start hunting that mature buck

This is why we as hunters do what we love. This is why we hunt. The chase. The camaraderie. The venison. The chess match. This is what brings us back each and every year.

So good luck and good hunting!

Whitetail Guru is brought to you by these fine partners:

mangle broadheads
Receive 10% off your purchase when you use promo code “GURU10” at checkout.

 

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.

…But first, if you have not SUBSCRIBED yet to our social media please take a few seconds do so as we are constantly putting out content for our audience.

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.

IMG_8540
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.

Bulldawg Outdoors is brought to you by:

Mangle Broadheads

Receive 10% off your purchase when you use promo code “GURU10” at checkout.

 

New to Mineral Stations? This Will Help.

If you are looking to make mineral stations this summer, here are some ideas to help.

By Nathan Unger

Mineral stations for your whitetail herd is an essential part of deer growth over the summer months. It is vital during the entire year, but especially during the summer as their calcium-rich antlers are beginning to grow, and those velvet nubs are starting to appear.

For several of you, bucks probably already have 6 to 8 inches of velvet antler visible which is why to maximize their growth, mineral stations need to be started now.

What exactly is a mineral station?

I’m glad you asked. For those of you that are not as familiar with mineral stations, it’s an area set up to provide deer with crucial summer nutrients that will commonly contain blends of nutrients, salt, minerals and natural flavors for antler and bone structure growth. It also provides for healthy fawn sizes at birth. Typically an area where deer frequently travel, but is also not too much in the open.

If a buck feels secure when traveling his corridor to the station, he’ll likely frequent it more often. Especially when the deer are on a food-to-bedding routine this time of year.

velvet bucks

Another way to maximize the mineral your deer receives is to place the mineral on clay-like soil so that it doesn’t absorb into the soil quickly, and the deer can consume it easier. Additionally, it won’t soak into the soil as easily when it rains during those summer or late spring showers.

What if I don’t know what kind?

No big deal. Many, if not all, of your retail stores are going to carry several different kinds, and you’ll just have to choose what kind you think works well and which kinds fall into under budget. Most mineral ‘blocks’ last a longtime depending on the amount of deer visiting it daily. Sometimes they can last 3-4 months.

Granular or mineral bags should be placed out once a month depending on how much it rains, the amount of deer, etc.

I personally like a mineral called Monster Maker Mineral and Attractant by Non Typical Outdoors specifically designed by Dr. Tommy Daniel, hunter and animal nutritionist.

mineral stations

His implementation provides for the best and immediate absorption of the minerals within Monster Maker.

According to Dr. Daniel, “It does not make sense to have your deer consume mineral only to have it pass through the animal with very little being utilized.”

When do I need to start?

The sooner the better. The faster the deer can begin to absorb the nutrients into their body the healthier they’ll become and the more they can maximize their off-season growth.

Another great reason to for mineral stations is that you can place a trail camera over the site and begin to survey how many deer are on your property and what bucks are making your acreage part of their home range.

This will give you a great start on where you think you will need to place your deer stands as well as how many does, if any, you may need to harvest this season. Likewise, you can also measure the maturity of your bucks as the summer comes to an end and the ‘velvet rut’ arrives.

These stations are great because you can begin to survey the overall health of your deer herd.

*Be sure to follow state and county guidelines because not all states allow for minerals or attractants during all parts of the year.

Please subscribe to Bulldawg Outdoors or comment below. Also like our page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

NEXTThree Things To Prepare For Next Deer Season