By Alex Comstock
It's hard to believe August is already here. For me, I'll be in a treestand in about three weeks, which is absolutely absurd to me how fast opening day is nearing. With deer season seemingly approaching faster and faster everyday no matter where you're located in the country, the last thing we as hunters want to do is mess up our season before it gets here. These four things in this blog post could set you on the wrong path for your 2018 season, and you'll want to surely avoid them.
1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
The last thing you want to do is go into a season with expectations that are simply unrealistic. Having expectations like this can easily derail your season. If right now, you decide you are only going to harvest a four year old buck over 150", but you hunt extremely high pressured public land where it's rare to see a 3 1/2 year old 130" buck, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Not that you can't shoot for the moon, but if you end up passing on good bucks that would make you happy, and end up becoming frustrated with your season, because you aren't living up to your expectations, your season could become a disappointment. I encourage you to take a look at the expectations you are setting for the upcoming year, and ask yourself if they are realistic. By setting expectations for a season that are astronomical, you run the risk of creating a season in which won't make you happy.
2. Too Much Summertime Pressure
Being that right now is early August, you probably still have things that need to be accomplished in the deer woods before season rolls in, I know I sure do. But the more time you spend in the field, the higher of a risk you run of pressuring whitetails when they don't need to be pressured. A quick example I'll use is trail cameras. I don't know how many times I've gone over it, but you DON'T need to check your trail cameras every few days in the summer. You're doing more harm than good by doing that. Every time you go in to check a camera, you're are leaving scent behind, and educating deer, and you don't need to know what deer are doing every few days. Stay out as much as possible. Heck, this year I'll only be checking trail cameras in the summer a few times. I want to be putting as little pressure on deer this time of year as possible.
3. Forgetting About Your Bow
I see a lot of people that are fanatical when it comes to their archery equipment, and I see others who pick up their bow days before season to start shooting. I know this is something I have to get better with, and that's not forgetting about your bow. Shoot as much as you can in the summer to become as comfortable and proficient with your archery equipment as possible. It's easy when life gets busy and you spend every moment you can prepping for deer season, getting trail cameras out, hanging stands, scouting, etc. to not make time to shoot your bow. But the last thing you want is to work your tail off to hopefully put yourself in position to harvest a mature buck, and have it fall through because of an errant shot. Granted, there will always be things that happen that are out of your control. But there are also things you can control, and through a lot of practice, you can better prepare yourself for the moment of truth when you are at full draw on a live deer this fall.
4. Writing a Spot Completely Off
Mature bucks often have different home ranges from the summer to the fall. During the summer months while in velvet, they spend time in bachelor groups with other bucks, and then once they shed their velvet, they'll break up and some will re-locate to their fall home range. If you've located what you think would be a good hunting spot come fall, and run a trail camera and scout during the summer, but don't see current big buck sign or get any on trail camera, that doesn't mean it can't still be good come October or November. Writing a spot off right now because of that could leave you with a big-time missed opportunity. Keep spots like this in the back of your mind, and come fall, return with a scouting trip, maybe hunt it a time or two, and get trail cameras up then. You never want to write a spot completely off just based on a lack of summertime sign.
Deer season is going to be here before you know it. In order to have as successful as a season as possible, avoiding these four things will surely help. Remember that every little thing that you can stack in your favor will help push the odds in your favor, and these four things will only negate that.