By Alex Comstock
Before you know it, the next few months will fly by, and summer will be over seemingly before it even started. With that in mind, there are numerous critical things that need to get done over the coming months, and today I wanted to highlight a few summertime whitetail "chores" that need to get done before season rolls around.
1. Trail Camera Maintenance
Early July is when I start to deploy my summer trail cameras. There's not much more frustrating than throwing a bunch of trail cameras in your backpack to set up in a day and realize you're missing batteries, you can't find SD cards, the date isn't set right, etc. It can be beneficial to you to take the time to go through your trail cameras and make sure they're all up to par. This way, whenever you're ready to put any out, you won't have to monkey with them in any way. It may seem simple, but it's not hard to neglect this, and ultimately find yourself in a time crunch one evening to get a trail camera up, Additionally, what can be quite frustrating is setting a trail camera up, checking it weeks later, and realizing the date is wrong. By going through them beforehand, this can easily be avoided.
2. Re-Clear Shooting Lanes at Existing Stand Sites
If you are the type of bowhunter that has a couple "go to" spots, or you've scouted a spot out where you know you'll have a treestand this fall, I encourage you to get lanes cleared now opposed to during season for a couple of reasons. The last thing I want to do when slipping into a stand that is pre-hung is have to take the time to clip a couple small branches, or even get down out of my stand to cut a small tree. I'll more than happily do it during the summer because you'll have less of an impact on the deer moving through the area, especially mature bucks. Once season arrives though, I'm significantly more shy of cutting anything. I feel as though a mature buck's senses are heightened once he sheds his velvet, and he practically becomes a whole new animal. Cutting a lane might be enough for him to notice something is up, and avoid your stand entirely. It may seem over the top, but I've seen it happen before.
Another reason to check existing stand sites is that there could be new growth that impedes a shooting lane you might have cleared the year prior. Just because you clipped branches or cut trees last year for a stand doesn't mean you shouldn't check it this year. I've had it happen to me, and it can be quite frustrating. Time gets the best of you and you end up not going to check your lanes at a great stand, and then you arrive to hunt and boom, there's a few branches that weren't there last year covering a shot opportunity. Try to avoid this if at all possible.
3. Pre-Season Self Evaluation
This may not necessarily fit into a "summer chore," but it is something I've found a lot of hunters don't really want to do, especially if they haven't been successful as of late, and that's when it should be most important. This is very similar to something I wrote last week in Two Things To Accomplish This Summer For Big Payoffs in The Fall where I talked about self-improvement. The process of self evaluation to me is the actual act of going through and identifying what you need to work on before actually taking the steps to improve. You can't work on self improvement if you don't know what you need to work on. It's important to look in the mirror and identify why you either haven't been successful, or why you have been, and what you need to change this year or keep the same to improve or continue success. For me personally, it's the details. I've known this for multiple years now, but this season is when I truly have to take it to the next step with the minor details, and I know it will increase my chances of success with a mature buck.
Summer is a fascinating time of the year to me as it relates to deer hunting. There's usually so much that needs to get done for opening day, which in all reality isn't very far away, yet at the same time our lives get so busy, and this only seems to become more true in the summer, and it's easy for a lot of deer hunting related things to get thrown on the back burner. No matter how busy you get this summer, try to accomplish these three summertime whitetail chores. They'll only make your life easier once deer season arrives.