Trail Cameras and Opening Day Prep | WhitetailDNA Journal

By Alex Comstock 

I am going to start unveiling a new series that I call my journal posts. These journal posts are going to chronicle what I am doing at that time of year and the major ups and downs that come with hunting mature bucks. I am going to bring the biggest of ups, but also the lowest of lows. Be prepared, as with the nature of chasing mature bucks, there will most likely be more lows than there will be highs. 

Hopefully you will be able to take something away from these journal posts, and maybe learn a thing or two. I am a reading junkie, and most of the articles out on the web and in magazines are tactics and how to, including what I do here on WhitetailDNA. More often, I would like to see how other people are applying general tactics to their exact hunting efforts, so that's what I'm going to do with these. With that said, here's what I'm working on leading up to opening day of archery season. 

Frantically Preparing for September 2nd: North Dakota's archery season opens September 2nd, and I believe that the first week of season can be the best time to bag a mature buck that is still on a bed to food pattern. Everything I'm doing right now is focused on the first week of season. Per usual, I'm way behind on what I would like to have done, and the next couple of weeks will be critical in determining my success for an early season buck. 

Trail Cameras: Not to complain, but I'm a pretty busy guy. Full time college student, summer classes, two jobs in the summer, and a woman to keep happy. Except, I'm not the only one in the world that's busy. We are all busy. That's where my trail cameras come into play. Right now I have 14 trail cameras out, monitoring my possible hunting areas. I have these cameras out based on scouting, glassing, and prior season's observation. I will let the trail cameras do a majority of my recon during the summer up till about this coming Friday. 

Come Friday and Saturday, I will be out checking all of my cameras. Hopefully, there will be enough shooters on camera to feel good about hanging stands in spots that I will feel confident about come opening day. I've got a couple spots in mind that I have already gotten pictures of shooters, and hopefully when I pull cards this weekend they will be quite visible and hopeful targets to go after. 

Long Distance Scouting: After a weekend of pulling cards, and getting a few stands in place, I will turn my attention to glassing, the week leading up to season. If I can glass a buck hitting a food source more than once during the week leading up to opening day, I will feel good about my odds of having an encounter with him in the same area once in a treestand. 

Multiple Sets: As you can probably tell, I'm preparing for opening day with the hopes of having multiple bucks targeted. I don't like to just have one to go after, because so much can go wrong, he might not show up, or there might not be the right wind to hunt him. If I have three or even four bucks I feel are killable, I like my chances of success. 

Stands/Ground Blinds: Contrary to many people's beliefs, I will most likely be getting the bulk of my stands and blinds set up in the next couple weeks, up to even days before opening day. I know most people like to have them set up ahead of time, but I might not know where I'm sitting September 2nd, until August 30th. When I am in there setting up these stands and blinds, I'm treating it as though I'm hunting and am very careful. I practice a scent free regime and am cautious about every movement and sound I make. It is critical as well to brush in blinds at this time of the year very well, as I don't want deer to even notice them if at all possible. 

With there only being a couple short weeks left before it's time to hit the stand, it's officially crunch time. What I get done between now and September 2nd could ultimately dictate how that first week of season turns out. 

What are you doing to prepare for opening day?