2017 Journal #1: What I'm Doing During The Month of July to Be Ready for Opening Day

By Alex Comstock 

The journal is officially back! And you know what that means right? Deer season is right around the corner. It's pretty crazy how quickly it's approaching, but before you know it, we'll be back in treestands hoping to shoot monster bucks. I wanted to do a quick journal to let you know what I've been up to in the last few weeks to get ready for season, and what I'll be doing over the course of the rest of the month. 

Trail Cameras

This year I changed up my trail camera strategy a bit. In previous seasons, I would get them up in late April/early May over mineral sites and bait stations, and then monitor them by checking the cameras every few weeks to a month during the summer to help me determine where I would hunt early season. This year I decided to wait until the last week of June to start getting my cameras out in the field. I wanted to wait until I could at least tell what a buck was going to look like, or be able to identify him before getting my cameras up. 

Trail cameras play a large role in my summer preparation.

Trail cameras play a large role in my summer preparation.

In conjunction with this is that I don't want my trail cameras to hurt me as I think they have in the past. By waiting until later in the summer to get them up, and now I'll be checking them at most every month, I think I will be pressuring deer much less, which will hopefully lead to more daylight movement come September. Right now I've got nine trail cameras up in areas that I've hunted in previous seasons, and they are mainly out to get me inventory of what bucks are back, and if any new ones show up. I've got a number of bucks that I'll be looking for from last year, and will keep you updated on which ones surface again. 

This buck whom I call "Kobe" evaded me last year. He'll be one of my top targets if I can find him again this season. 

This buck whom I call "Kobe" evaded me last year. He'll be one of my top targets if I can find him again this season. 

Treestand Preparation

What I love most about deer hunting is the continual chess match. Right now I've got mostly all of my stands set up in areas that I know I will be hunting in some capacity this season. Some are in the same tree as last year, but most of them I have shifted in some capacity. Most of my pre-hung stands will be sat during the rut, as I hope to get a pattern on an early season buck, and then figure out where to hunt him. 


Glassing from a distance will hopefully play a bigger role in where I hunt come September 1st this season. I will have more time to do night drives looking for mature bucks, where if I happen to find one, I will then ask permission to hunt that property. I will also spend a fair amount of time sitting over bean fields in areas that I already can hunt to see what I can learn in addition to what my trail cameras tell me. 

Over the past couple of years, I've been able to get eyes on a few mature bucks while doing this, but it hasn't panned out to an early season harvest. I attribute that to mostly not spending enough time behind glass. This summer that will change starting this month. Instead of waiting until August to start glassing, I have already started, and will attempt to get out a few times a week to help my chances of putting down an early season whitetail. 

Why This Month Is Important

My goal each season since I've moved to North Dakota is to harvest an early season buck. To this point, I haven't been able to do it, and I think a part of the reason is that I haven't taken advantage of July. If I can start to figure out a buck in the next couple of weeks, I'll be much more ahead of the game than in the past. Once I start checking SD cards the first week of August, I'll have hopefully already watched a few bucks from a distance, and will be able to combine that information to start making a game plan. 

Deer season will be here before you know it - what are you doing during the month of July? Let us know in the comments section below!