Deer hunters wait, impatiently, for that magic week in early November called, “The Rut.” Endless hours, preparation and practice culminate in the hopes of getting a least one chance at a trophy buck. Smart deer hunters begin the preparation portion of this process in the heat of summer.
Today we are going to look at three of the most important things deer hunters can do to improve their odds when the temps cool, and the leaves once again begin to turn. Since we already covered food plots in a previous article, stand preparation, trail cameras and mineral supplements are today’s topics.
First let’s take a look at our stands and stand placement. Most of you are probably like me. I have portable stands that can be put up at a moment’s notice to stay on top of deer movement at that time. That is a great way to be prepared.
I will also bet, like me, that you have two or three stands that are in perfect spots and never get moved. It is these stands I want to talk about for a minute.
Checking the safety of your stand should be done prior to each season—not the day before. Use summer months to do stand checks and maintenance. That way, if you discover a problem, you will have plenty of time to correct it. Making two or three trips to your stand in July is significantly better than the middle of September. You should also consider clearing your shooting lanes while you are there checking your stands. If a limb or bush is in your way in July, it will still be there in October. Do your brush trimming in the summer, then get out and stay out until it is time to draw blood.
Since you are already at your stand site, go ahead and hang any trail cameras that you intend to use this year. Trail cameras are about the best way to keep track of deer population, the health of your herd, and buck-to-doe ratios.
The evolution of the trail camera is staggering. My first trail cams took average photos some of the time and were not totally reliable devices. The newest generation not only take perfect photos, but tack-sharp video, as well. They work day or night, and some can send the information directly to your smart phone instantaneously. It just depends on how much you are willing to spend.
Some locations where I recommend trail camera placement are creek and ditch crossings; natural funnels; ponds and other water sources; food plots and mineral sites. The more cameras you can afford makes the data they provide more accurate.
I just mentioned mineral sites. Mineral supplements are a must for most areas of the country. I cannot think of a single location in the U.S. that naturally gives deer 100-percent of their nutritional needs.
Lately I have been working closely with Dalton Wood, of Rack Daddy Minerals. This gentleman is not only a first- rate deer hunter, but he has developed a mineral program for deer that is both well-researched and highly effective. Rack Daddy Minerals is rapidly becoming what I would consider a gold standard in deer mineral supplements. Wood’s granular minerals are mixed in perfect proportions to give the deer exactly what they need, when they need it.
I know a lot of deer hunters who have very lacking mineral programs. That is, they fail to understand the key to a healthy herd is year-round mineral supplementation. Summertime is a prime time to help your herd grow and stay healthy. During the summer, bucks are in prime antler growth. Adding minerals to their diet enhances their antler growth. Does and fawns are also in great need of summer minerals. The female deer are still nursing and the fawns are in rapid growth mode.
Dalton Wood has recently partnered with the Agriculture Department of the University of Missouri. Not only has Mizzou helped Wood in keeping his mixture perfectly blended, but they are now allowing him to offer his mineral supplements in pellet form. This is much easier for some customers to handle than the granular type.
I know we all like to spend time during the summer fishing, camping, grilling and vacationing with family. But I suggest you carve out a weekend to get to your deer hunting location and do some prep work. Good luck this fall.