I can almost smell the end of summer and I’m getting excited. The pool parties and fireworks have been great but my soul needs to be back in the woods. While I’ve been doing my summer scouting it’s just merely an appetizer and certainly can’t satisfy my desire to gear up for the fall. I had one of my hunting buddies text me last week and tell me that he wished he could just skip August and get right into September. Since we can’t time travel yet, here is my list of late summer tasks to pass the time productively until fall.
- Start shooting! I think sometimes our skill with the rifle finds itself in second place behind scouting and land management. But in reality, it doesn’t matter how great your stand and food plot skills are if you can’t place the bullet when it matters! Put rounds through the barrel like a basketball player shooting jump shots in the off-season, repetition and practice will take over when the adrenaline hits. Not only for our sake, but for the deer as well, none of us want to place a bad shot on an animal, and now is the time to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Keep scouting. Deer’s nutritional needs start to change as we get into the late summer, they start to move into to soy bean fields and focus on protein instead of carb loading like they have been doing earlier in the summer. As your buck’s patterns change so do your scouting habits need to. Now is when they will establish their entry and exit points into those protein sources that should hold true into the early season before the rut starts. Put in the work now instead of just dreaming about deer, go watch them!
- Scout the does as well as the bucks. So now you know where they will be when they are stocking up on protein, but what about when the rut hits? That’s why you need to pattern the does as well. If you know how the does move, you will know where the bucks are heading when love is in the air. Bucks patterns change throughout the year and just like the great Wayne Gretzky says “skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
- Track your data. Your spouse, friends, and coworkers might think you have lost your mind when you start keeping an excel spread sheet with deer patterns and moon phases on it, but the information is invaluable and I’d rather do that then balance my checkbook right?
These four things will help you quench your thirst for deer season and probably pay huge dividends when season starts.
Have fun, stay passionate, and take care of the herd.