By Alex Comstock
Depending on how you hunt, summer can be a busy time. Hanging stands, scouting, running trail cameras, there can be a lot to do in the few months preceding deer season. Believe it or not, you can still pressure deer this time of the year, especially mature bucks.
Lately, I've becoming more obsessive with not pressuring those mature bucks over the course of the summer in order to have a better chance of harvesting them in the fall. Here's how I've started to reduce my pressure during the summer, and how you can to.
Be Less Invasive When Checking Trail Cameras
Trail cameras are usually at the forefront of most deer hunter's summer regimen. I mean, who doesn't love looking at velvet bucks!? But there are ways to do it in a less invasive way. The first thing I do is place most of my trail cameras on field edges, or in places that are easy to check a camera without having to disturb anything. I don't like to place cameras back in the timber, but if I do, I'll leave them sit all summer before checking them.
It's also important to have the hunting mindset when you are checking trail cameras. Use the wind to your advantage, and only check cameras when you've got the right wind. Another precaution I am now doing is wearing hip waiters every time I go in to check a camera. I originally got this idea from watching Bill Winke, but it makes complete sense. This time of the year, the vegetation is pretty high, and by wearing the waiters you won't be having any of that vegetation rubbing up on your pants and leaving more scent behind. If you can get in as scent free as possible, check the card, and get out without Mr. Big knowing you were there, that's a formula for success.
Don't Get Ahead of Yourself
Easily one of my biggest downfalls. Let me explain. When it comes to deer, and big bucks I usually get ahead of myself. In the past, I would get cameras out early in June, maybe realize I had a few in areas that weren't that good, move them, check them again, and again, and before you know it, I've been in an area every week throughout the month of June and July. This doesn't do you any good. What I've learned is that patience can ultimately help you become successful.
The biggest problem I see is with hunters just checking their trail cameras so much. What good does checking your camera every week or two really do? Let those cameras do the work for you. The more time you spend in the timber over the course of the next couple months, the higher the odds are that you'll mess something up.
Scouting From a Distance
If this is ever an option for you, do it. Last summer was the first time I spent any extensive time scouting from a distance, and I think it can be crucial to success. For me, it means driving the back roads, or sitting along a bean field far off from where it would pressure any deer, and watching them through my binoculars or spotting scope. Glassing from a distance is now a go to for me. I can learn a lot about a buck from watching him feed into an ag field, and don't have to step foot anywhere that would alert him of my presence.
What you don't want to do is mess up your deer season before it even gets here. Everyone has a different situation, but for me, these are three things that seem to help reduce pressure in the summer. It can be hard not to jump right into everything, but it can pay off. The less you pressure a mature buck now, the more likely he is to be visible in daylight in a few months, which only means you should have a better chance at encountering him from the treestand.