By Alex Comstock
As summer starts to get rolling, more and more of you will be doing whitetail related activities in preparation for the 2018 season, as will I. Depending on your hunting style, summer can be a crucial time of the year, and the outcome of your season could hinge on what you accomplish, and what you don't screw up. There are ways you can hurt yourself for fall, and it's important you don't make these following mistakes. The more you can accomplish and the less mistakes you make, will in turn create more optimal hunting for you in a few months.
1. Don't Put Too Much Pressure on Early Season Spots
Odds are you know where you'll be hunting come early season. Early season for some (like myself) is early September, and for some of you, you may hunt a state that doesn't open until October 1st. Either way, the same thought process will still apply. The more you walk around an area this summer, the more pressure you are going to put on a deer. This is why I'm much less hesitant to hang and stand and go to town cutting lanes in a spot I'm figuring to hunt in November for the rut than I am in an area I think I'll be hunting the first week of season. In my early season spots, I like to make as minimal amount of trips in there as possible. I'll probably hang a trail camera in July and then come back and check it and hang a stand in one visit in early August. After that, I'm out until opening day. By checking a camera multiple times, then hanging a a stand and cutting shooting lanes, and checking the camera again, you'll only be educating the deer in the area, and making your life harder come opening day.
2. Waiting Until The Last Possible Moment To Get All Prep Work Done
If you're not careful, this is quite the easy mistake to make. There's a lot that needs to be done in the summer before you even enter the deer woods. I know for me, there's a solid couple days of work to just go through all of my equipment, organizing it, figuring out what I need for the upcoming season, what I need to replace, and the list could just go on. And then there's the actual prep work of hanging stands, clearing lanes, hanging trail cameras, etc. and that's not even including scouting (which we'll touch on next). The worst thing you can do is wait until the last possible minute to start getting all of this done. This summer, try and get ahead of the game. In the next week or so, I'll try and pick one or two evening that I dedicate to all the stuff I need to do at home. This way, when I start hanging cameras, stands, or clearing lanes and trails, I'll know what I have, what I need, and be ready to get work done.
3. Not Scouting Enough
To me, scouting is a year round event. Not just in the winter. Not just in the spring. Not just in the summer or fall. See where I'm going with this? Scouting goals can change throughout the year, but the rule of thumb is you always should be scouting more than you hunt. In the summer, I'm scouting for different things than I am in the spring. In the spring, I was scouting for areas I'll be hunting in the rut. Locating travel corridors, buck bedding areas, and places I think I'll be finding myself come late October or November.
When it comes to summer scouting, I'm looking to locate food sources. Whether that be in the form of ag, hard mast, or anything else, knowing where the food is will help direct where I hunt the first few weeks of the season. During the summer, I'm also spending a lot of time digitally scouting, and locating a slew of properties to ask permission to hunt. I'm always trying to grow my hunting land portfolio if you will, and right now I'm pretty bare in my home state of Minnesota. The next few weeks will consist of me picking multiple properties on a map using OnX Maps and then going out and trying to get permission on those. If I succeed, I'll then do a walk about on the property, and try to establish food, bedding, potential trail camera/stand sites, and try to get an idea if it will be a early season, rut, or late season property, or even a combination. Put simply, not scouting very much this summer will not help you be successful this fall.
Like I said at the very beginning of this blog post, summer can be a very important time of the year. Don't waste any valuable time you do have, and make the most out of the days you are able to prep for fall and get out in the field. September or October will be here before you know it, and the more prepared you are, the better off you'll be.