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3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

By: Heath Wood

 

With a massive acorn crop, two of my treestand setups that I had hung in late August were now in locations where deer movement was minimal. After looking at the weekend forecast, I knew I needed to be hunting in hopes of catching a mature buck up on his feet. Yet, deer movement was more profound in the timber. Unfortunately, I did not have a stand near the area I wanted to hunt.

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

When trying to make a game plan of where to hunt during the first evening of the weekend, I decided to hunt in a ground blind set up in the timber.  A spot in which two steep ridges came together to form a bottleneck shape that was a natural travel route for deer. I predicted the deer would travel out of a river bottom, feeding on the thousands of acorns falling from the trees. I was confident I had chosen a good location.

I settled into my blind around 2:45 p.m. due to the fear of pushing deer out of the area. After 40 minutes, I found myself caught off guard by a mature doe standing at twenty yards. When I first saw the doe, she had already locked her eyes on me in the blind. After a few seconds of an intense stare-down, she blew and headed back into the river bottom. For the next two and a half hours, five different does, all at different times, came into the area, blew, then bolted out of sight.

Numerous times throughout the evening, I used my Hunters Specialties Windicator to determine the wind direction. Each time, the wind hit me in the face. I had no idea the cause of this sudden downturn in events. Only later did I realize I had committed three of the most common mistakes bowhunters make when hunting from a ground blind.

 

Too Much Movement

 

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds 3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds 3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

When most of the deer that evening came into close range, they were already on high alert because of the unusual movement that they had encountered. Four out of five of the deer that night had seen me long before I spotted them, thus the reason for them being on high alert.

When hunting deer at their eye level, it is essential to keep movement to a minimum and be cautious of every movement while inside the blind. Many hunters think that they can get by with excessive movement because they are inside of a blind even though the hunter can move more than if in the wide open, they must still be aware of head and body movement when scanning for deer. The slightest unusual movement will result in deer leaving the area.

To help minimize movement, the hunter should wear black clothing on the upper body, hands, and head. By wearing black, the hunter blends with the interior of the blind, keeping them more concealed. Another option to stay concealed is using a blind such as the Infinity 2-Person blind from Muddy Outdoors. The Infinity blind is made with an innovative shadow mesh window curtain technology that allows the hunter to see out of the blind, yet wildlife cannot see in. This creates a 360-degree view and eliminates blind spots while keeping the hunter concealed.

 

Wrong Location

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

I am a true believer in bowhunting from ground blinds. Yet, after my hunt, I wondered why all the deer had spotted me and sensed something was wrong when they got into close range of my blind.

After reassessing my hunt later that night, I realized my blind was in the wrong location. When the deer came out of the river bottom, they first saw my blind eye level with the area they were traveling. If my blind had been down the ridge, forty to fifty yards farther, the deer would have had time to feel safe because the blind not causing an instant red flag.

When sitting up a ground blind, it is vital to brush in around it to help conceal the location. Sitting the blind in a more open area, where deer feel comfortable, is also essential.

A blind should not be used in tight situations like where I was hunting. Instead, I returned to that specific location and hung a hang-on treestand more suitable for the terrain.

 

Use A Blind Chair

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

When humans are not comfortable, it is natural to want to move and twist our bodies—sitting inside a ground blind when hunting can wreak havoc on a hunter’s body if they are not sitting in the proper chair. When sitting in an uncomfortable seat, back and leg pain are common. Add constant movement from trying to get into a more comfortable position to the mix, and it does not make for a relaxed hunt. I sat on a small tripod-style seat for four hours on my hunt. It is obvious now that in doing so, I made an excessive amount of unwanted movement that cost me a harvest.

Using a more comfortable chair that is designed to hunt inside of a blind is a must when bowhunting. A blind chair such as the Muddy Swivel-Ease XT Ground Seat is ideal for the hunter to sit comfortably for an extended period. Padded armrests, a large seating area, and 360-degree silent mobility provide the hunter with less movement and the ability to hunt quietly until that monster buck comes into close range.

 

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Scent Control 101

Scent Control 101

By: Heath Wood

 

As a young teenager, my obsession with hunting grew with each passing day. Like many other small-town boys and girls, I spent the late summer watching hunting videos in hopes of learning more about harvesting a mature buck.

While trying to obtain more knowledge, I found a favorite video series by Hunters Specialties. In the late nineties and early two-thousands, scent elimination was something that many hunters were eager to understand. In the Hunters Specialties videos, they often spoke of the scent-a-way, scent elimination system. From the early 2000s to the present day, when buying a Scent-A-Way product, the package or bottle lists the scent control system in three steps. By following the three-step system, hunters have a more extensive advantage of remaining scent free when chasing mature bucks.

Fast forward to 2008, my childhood dream came to fruition. From 2008 until 2016, I served on the pro staff for Hunters Specialties, where I hunted, promoted, and tested their many products. During that time, I became more familiar with the Scent-A-Way products and learned how each product worked. Today, after working with several hunting companies in the industry, I believe in the same scent elimination system I discovered many years ago.

After hunting for twenty-five years and acquiring knowledge as I grow older, I have attained a few tips and tricks that can be added along with the original scent control system.  By combining these tactics, hunters can fool a deer and fight against their number one defense, their nose.

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I must admit that most of the things learned in the battle between human odor and deer have been gained only after a deer has smelled me or a foreign odor that they know isn’t right. This typically results in deer spooking and leaving the area. After the fact, I knew I needed to stay faithful to the scent control system combined with some of my tricks. Fewer deer smell me, and I have been fortunate enough to harvest several deer.

 

Step 1 – Clothing

 

The three steps in the scent control system are clothes, body, and field. The first step is washing all hunting clothing in a scent-eliminating detergent, then drying clothes and storing them in a scent-free bag or container.

One significant setback for hunting clothes is the everyday laundry that is done in the same washing machine and dryer. Most household detergents used on everyday street clothes are perfumed or have a strong smell. Day after day of high fragrance detergents being used, the inside of the washing machine and dryer will most likely have a strong fragrance that sticks to hunting clothes.

First and foremost, I begin my hunting laundry regimen by spraying the inside of the washing machine with Scent-A-Way spray. By eliminating odors before doing laundry, the scent-controlling detergents can fight odors on the clothes instead of all the fragrances inside the machine. The same goes for the dryer; before putting clean, scent-free clothes in the dryer, I first use a small ozone generator placed inside the dryer for five to six minutes. The ozone destroys all odors that are left behind.

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Step 2 – Body

 

In my opinion, this is the most vital step in remaining scent-free while deer hunting. The odor that causes deer to spook most often is human odor. Foreign odors such as gas, food, smoke, and many others can alarm deer, yet the smell of human odor to a deer is an instant red flag of danger. The best way to eliminate human odor is by cleaning the body with scent-fighting soaps and shampoos such as Scent-A-Way body soap and shampoo.

It is vital to pay attention to detail when showering as well. Use Scent-A-Way soap and shampoo on every part of the body. Proper use helps fight human odors from developing later while hunting.

After using scent-eliminating soaps, the mistake many hunters make is they dry off with a towel that smells like fabric softener, flowers, or other perfume-smelling detergents commonly used in the household. The solution goes back to step one. Always wash one or two towels along with hunting garments. When drying off, use a scent-free towel that is not instantly putting foreign odors back on the body.

 

Step 3 – Field

 

In the field can refer to two things. One indicates always taking the time to dress in the field. To avoid recouping odors, hunters should wear street clothes until they arrive at their hunting destination. Many odors can cling to the hunter and clothing from simple tasks such as stopping at a gas station, restaurant, or other places where odors are prevalent. Doing so will defeat all prior efforts to remain scent-free. Dress in the field and spray all hunting garments and gear with Scent-A-Way spray, such as the Muddy safety harness and other accessories.

Over the years, I have learned it is just as vital to undress in the field as it is to dress. After hunting, many wear camo around the camp, around the house, or while riding in a vehicle; they then proceed to throw the clothes back in their bag until the next hunt, allowing human odor entry into the bag that is meant to keep these very odors out.

The second in-the-field reference explains how to keep odors eliminated while in the field. During the hunt, human odors can reemerge. Sweat is the most common event that grows human odors while hunting.

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To remain scent-free throughout the hunt, it is vital to wear a moisture-absorbing base layer made with microbial products that can help prevent odors from reoccurring. Plus, they dry quickly, keeping the hunter dry and warm. I also prefer wearing carbon-based and silver-based clothing that can help absorb and destroy odors. Also, make sure to spray down periodically with Scent-A-Way spray throughout the hunt to remain scent-free.

Once clothes are scent-free, the next step is to dress in the field, not at home. Many odors can cling to the hunter and clothing from simple tasks such as stopping at a gas station, restaurant, or other places where odors are prevalent. Doing so will defeat all prior efforts to remain scent-free.

 

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Keep Scrape Cameras Going For Late Season Success

Keep Scrape Cameras Going For Late Season Success

By: Heath Wood

Don’t Touch That Camera

During October and November, many hunters use game cameras to monitor scrapes. The scrapes may be natural initially made from a nearby buck or a mock scrape. Either way, both make for great scouting tools when used in conjunction with a game camera.

The end of October is the period when scrapes began seeing increased activity from bucks and does. As November begins, so does the scrape activity until bucks begin desperately seeking does to breed. When bucks begin the seeking phase of the rut, it is as if the scrape activity gets turned off like that of a light switch. When scrape activity decreases, hunters often elect to take their cameras and move on to another area. However, if hunters leave cameras going on scrapes throughout the rut, bucks will return afterward, making a great scouting tool again for the late season.

Eight Bucks and One Kill

Keep Scrape Cameras Going For Late Season Success

For the past two years, I have monitored scrapes with Muddy cellular cameras. I have recently been using the Muddy Manifest camera to know when and who is visiting scrapes. On October 20th of 2021, I accidentally fell into the perfect game camera setup on a natural scrape. I had placed my Muddy Manifest on the edge of a CRP field, facing towards a barbed wire fence where deer often entered the field. On November 2nd, 2021, I got a text on my phone saying I had a new photo available that had been taken on that camera setup. When I opened my command app to see what the picture would reveal, I was surprised to see a buck making a scrape; he was leaving his scent on the overhead licking branch in the left corner of the picture frame. That day, eight different bucks visited the same scrape, along with multiple does. The Manifest camera captured great photos for the next three days, showing bucks and does using the scrape. As predicted, a week or two later, the deer stopped using the scrape, and I began seeing more rut activity on other places of the farm.

One of the last pictures that I received from the Manifest camera was of a mature eight-pointer who was nose-down, trailing a doe in the photo. On November 18th, 2021, I was in a Hawk Down & Out Blind when after encountering several different deer that morning, I caught the movement of a buck coming out of the timber at one hundred and eighty yards. After a glance through the binoculars, I knew this was potentially a shooter buck. I placed my 6.5 Creedmoor rifle into position, resting on the frame of the blind window. After finding the buck in my scope, I quickly made confirmation that the buck was the same buck that I had witnessed on camera a couple of weeks prior while chasing a doe. When the mature ten-pointer walked into a clear opening at one hundred and fifty yards, I grunted with my natural voice to get the buck to stop. I squeezed the trigger when the buck stopped, making a great shot on one of my targeted bucks.

The Second Rut

Although I was out of buck tags for my home state of Missouri, I left the Manifest camera in position over the same scrape from weeks prior. My curiosity wanted to see when deer would begin revisiting the scrape and if any other mature bucks would visit. Like clockwork, the day after Thanksgiving, does begin coming to the scrape, soon followed by two or three different bucks. I am anxious to see how long the scrape will be active during the second round of scrape usage.

Some may ask why does and bucks begin using the same scrapes for the second time. The first to the second week of December bucks and does go into what is referred to as the second rut. The second rut is when younger does who didn’t go into estrus during the November rut or does that didn’t get bred will come into heat. It is essential to note that the second rut that occurs later in the season is not as action-packed as the November rut. However, the second rut can be a great time to score on a mature buck if one still has an unfilled tag. When does do not get bred, they begin leaving their scent when they go into estrus again. At the same time, bucks often revisit scrapes to check in on those does who did not get bred. If one keeps their game cameras running in-between time, they will know the exact moment when the chase commences the second time. When scrape activity begins to spark interest again, it is vital to be in the stand hunting. Remember, only a few does did not get bred the first time. The action won’t last long, be in the stand and ready, and you could fill that buck tag before it expires for the year.

Keep Scrape Cameras Going For Late Season Success

Tips And Tricks For Bowhunting In A Ground Blind

Tips And Tricks for Bowhunting in A Ground Blind

By: Heath Wood

One of the biggest challenges bowhunters face is getting close enough to an animal to shoot accurately. This challenge thrills a bowhunter and drives them to put in hard work each season.

When a hunter is trying to get an animal into a comfortable shooting range, they must devote the time and effort to get a result that ends in their favor. The required efforts include scouting, hanging tree stands, and putting up permanent box blinds. However, many of today’s hunters are hunting from a portable ground blind. When these efforts result in a mature buck on the ground, the hunter feels a rush of excitement that comes from getting an intelligent and respected animal into archery range.

Portable ground blinds have an array of advantages when used to get archery close to deer. Hunters can better stay concealed, resulting in a more versatile hunter that can move wherever the deer movement is the most predictable. Other advantages include having more room to draw a bow, staying out of mother nature’s elements, and the list goes on. The point of the matter is, more bowhunters are using ground blinds than ever before. Below are a few tips and tricks when using a blind on your next archery hunt.

Have The Proper Bow & Setup

One of the common excuses for not using a ground blind is not having enough room to draw a bow correctly and make the shot. Two tips will result in having the proper setup to shoot a bow correctly while in a ground blind. One is making the right choice on the ground blind itself. It is vital to choose a ground blind that has plenty of room horizontally and vertically. The hunter needs to have space to fit a chair, all their gear, and enough room to draw their bow to full draw without hitting or rubbing against the blind. If there is not adequate room, one can spook deer by hitting the blind while trying to draw or, even worse, having interference that may cause a poor shot that could wound an animal or make the hunter miss entirely.

The Muddy Prevue 3 is an excellent choice of ground blind for the bowhunter. The Prevue 3 is rated as a three-person ground blind with a 73” by 73” shooting width, 58” x 58” footprint, and a standing height of 66”. The large area of the Muddy Prevue 3 makes it ideal for the bowhunter to have more than enough room to draw and shoot without any deflections. Another great feature of the Muddy Prevue 3 blind is the two full-width panoramic windows of one-way see-through mesh. The sizeable see-through mesh window allows the hunter a wider field of view of their surroundings, allowing them to know the exact time to draw on a deer when approaching.

The second part of a proper setup is to have the right bow and accessories. Even with a larger area inside, shooting a bow from a blind narrows room for movement. It is vital to use a bow with a smaller axle to axle measurement or a crossbow to ensure there is more than enough room to shoot. I use the Bear Archery Whitetail Legend bow for hunting inside of ground blinds. The Whitetail Legend has excellent maneuverability by featuring a 32” axle-to-axle measurement. With the smaller height bow, I can move around in the blind to get into position for the shot without bumping the blind. Another must-have when hunting inside a blind is a well-illuminated sight, such as the Apex Gear MAGNITUDE series. The MAGNITUDE five-pin sight features the PRO-BRITE pin design that increases brightness without crowding the sight picture. A shooter’s ring design has better peep sight alignment and glow-in-the-dark visibility, perfect for shooting inside of a dark blind.

Tips And Tricks For Bowhunting In A Ground Blind

Placement Of Ground Blind

A ground blind has long been used for sitting in open areas where visibility is more significant. However, when setting up for bow hunting deer, one must be more specific to where the blind is set up. As a rule of thumb, most bowhunters have an accurate shooting range of forty yards or less. Many of today’s bowhunters can shoot accurately at father distances, yet it is forty yards or less on average. To guarantee the blind is in the correct position, use a range finder and place the blind near objects or areas where deer will be. When setting up a ground blind for bowhunting, I find natural areas such as travel, water, and food sources. When I find natural areas, I try to narrow down where deer will travel within forty yards or less when passing by. To narrow down the area, I try to locate where deer enter the food source or what point of a water source deer come to most often. I look for other points of natural interest barriers, such as a log or a fence that narrows down a deer’s travel route.

Another great way to narrow deer within the shooting range of a blind is by using an attractant to draw deer to a specific spot. For example, using deer decoys to help lure deer within range. When setting up a decoy, I use my Halo XL450 rangefinder to range exactly twenty yards from my blind, then place the decoy into position. By having a decoy at twenty yards, I know when a deer gets nearby the decoy, it is well within comfortable shooting range. Another attractant a hunter can use is a deer scent on a wick or in a mock scrape. On many occasions, I have used scents such as Buck Bombs 2 Hot Does liquid that comes with a scent wick to hang on a tree limb or brush nearby the hunting area. Another attractant to draw deer within a specific range is Doe in Estrus, used with a Scent Hammock over a mock scrape. Either scent choice gives a specific location for a deer to come.

The challenge that invokes the drive for bowhunters to put so much work into a blind and bow set up and take the proper steps to ensure they are within bow range is time and effort well spent when it creates the perfect scenario to close the deal on a trophy buck.

5 Reasons To Use A Ground Blind When Deer Hunting

5 Reasons To Use A Ground Blind When Deer Hunting

By: Heath Wood

For deer hunters, ground blinds have become more prevalent in the last twenty years than any other product on the market. They are easy to put up and take down; they keep you, the hunter, hidden better than ever before, and let’s admit it, you can hunt more comfortably when there is room to move without being busted by a nearby deer.

Even though the popularity of ground blinds has increased over the years, there are still some who haven’t experienced for themselves how practical a ground blind can be. When used in certain situations, a ground blind can be the answer to keeping you out in the field long enough for that big trophy buck to show himself finally.

If you’re not entirely sold on the idea of using a blind, below are five reasons to use a ground blind that will make you a better deer hunter.

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  1. Youth Hunting 

As hunters, we must pass on the tradition of hunting to the next generation. If one has ever hunted with kids, they know that the time leading up to the harvest is critical when making a good impression on a first-time hunter. Children can get bored quickly; they want to move, they often can get cold, which cuts the hunt short. To make a more enjoyable experience for a first-time hunter, a ground blind can be the answer.

Using a blind such as the Muddy Prevue 3 blind is a great way to hunt with kids or first-time hunters. The Prevue 3 is a three-person blind, measuring 58” X 58” with a 66” standing height. The large area of the Prevue 3 allows youth to take a chair with them to sit comfortably and allow them to move their legs and body throughout the hunt without being seen by wildlife. Being comfortable is essential when wanting to spend more time outdoors hunting.

On colder days when staying warm is a factor, I have had kids bring along a blanket and even a small heater to help stay warm. If they are comfortable, they have more fun.

I also suggest bringing along a good pair of binoculars for youth to use while hunting. Using a set of optics keeps them involved in the hunt, gives them something to do, and makes the entire experience more enjoyable. The Prevue 3 blind features one-way see-through mesh, allowing them to see more of the action from the inside without being seen by wildlife looking in from the outside.

5 Reasons To Use A Ground Blind When Deer Hunting

 

  1. Rainy Days

There is a famous saying; “you can’t kill them from the couch.” Hunters do not like sitting in a stand getting soaked on rainy days. Some hunters even elect to stay inside and wait on more ideal conditions before hunting. The more serious hunters refuse to allow anything to keep them from their pursuit of a trophy whitetail. Especially during the rut when you never know when the big buck will appear, even in the pouring down rain.

Many hunters will keep a ground blind in place to ensure no missed opportunity, saving it for a rainy day. When a blind is in place near an open area such as a food plot or crop field, hunters can sit inside a dry ground blind, watching these open areas for deer movement.

Staying dry keeps the hunter warmer, more comfortable, and like hunting with a child, keeps the hunting time going longer.

  1. No Place For A Tree Stand

One of the best tips for finding the top stand location or blind set up is not looking for a place or a tree that looks good but finding a place where deer travel. I am guilty of finding an area with a large number of deer signs, then starting to find a good tree for my stand. The problem is that sometimes that best-looking tree may pull me from the specific area where deer travel. When there is no tree in the exact spot to be a good treestand set, I elect to use a ground blind instead.

When using a ground blind, hunters can place it where the deer sign is prominent. Better blind placement will provide more shot opportunities when deer travel through the area, especially when bowhunting. Unavailable trees for hanging a stand can also occur when hunting near a crop field; white-tailed deer often feed and travel along the edges of the crops. To ensure that you are in the right place to provide a shot opportunity, you must be set up near the edge where there are no trees. A ground blind tucked up next to standing crops allows excellent concealment to get close to the deer.

Another great location to use a ground blind is when hunting an area that has been logged or features a lot of brushy areas. I have hunted areas that have been logged and found that deer movement is still good, yet there are often no trees big enough to hang a treestand. When no trees are available, I find where deer are traveling, then set up my ground blind instead.

Muddy ground blinds

  1. Cold Weather

It is common for temperatures to start falling below freezing in the mornings and evenings during the late season. Late-season hunters usually sit on food sources to catch deer storing up on food to stay warm and prepare for the winter ahead. Long sits in broad open areas such as crop fields, or food plots can become challenging to sit for an extended time.

To catch mature bucks up on their feet during the late season, one may have to sit until the very last light of the day. To sit all day and stay warm, a ground blind can make the hunt more enjoyable. Inside a blind, the hunter can keep out of the bone-chilling wind, plus one can use a small heater or dress heavily in insulated late-season gear. When sitting in colder temperatures while in a ground blind, I take my Yeti tumbler with hot coffee to help keep my body warm. If in a treestand, I could not get by with the movement, compared to sitting inside a concealed blind.

 

  1. Scent Control 

Scent control is on the top of my priority list each time that I deer hunt. I am a true believer in using a complete scent elimination regimen. My system consists of using Scent-A-Way laundry detergent on my hunting garments, spraying down my clothes, boots, and gear with Scent-A-Way odorless spray, as well as spraying down the exterior of my Muddy Blind with Scent-A-Way. To further my scent control practices, when hunting in an area where many deer will be at one time, such as a food plot, I like sitting in a ground blind to help control my human odors.

Sitting inside an enclosed area such as a ground blind helps mask the human odor from drifting in the breeze throughout the area you are hunting. Even though I still pay attention to wind direction and the use of scent elimination products, being inside of a confined ground blind is one more step to gain an advantage against one of the best noses in the wild.

When sitting in a ground blind overlooking a food source with several deer, I determine which way the wind is blowing and then close the downwind side of the blind to help deflect human scent away from nearby deer. In doing this, I can draw deer within bow range without them ever knowing I’m in the area.

The ground blind can often mislead hunters into thinking it is only to be used for the lazy hunter who wants to sit in a chair and wait on deer to appear. Today’s ground blinds are lighter weight than ever before. They are easy to carry and set up, and as explained with the above tips, hunters have discovered that they can be used as an effective tool in a deer hunter’s arsenal to become a more successful hunter.

5 Reasons To Use A Ground Blind When Deer Hunting

Summertime To-Do List For Hunting Season

Getting Ready For Fall

It’s hot!  With heat indexes soaring near triple digits in much of the country, that last thing on your mind might be the fall deer hunting seasons.  Preparing for them shouldn’t be, however.  Regardless of the heat and humidity, if you expect to have success this fall, then you’d better get busy checking off the boxes on this summertime to-do list.

Trail cameras are a big part of your summertime to-do list:

As each day finds the buck’s antlers adding more inches, setting up and placing trail cameras is important if you want to know what kinds of bucks you have running around.  They will also let you know where they are – and are not – frequenting.

If you want to make your cameras a larger player in your summertime to-do list, be sure to place them strategically.  Water sources are always good places to set up a camera or two.  Beyond that, of course, look for well-used trails and set one up wherever you find one, especially if you find an area where more than one trail converge.  This will increase the number of pics you get, as this is an indicator that deer are coming from all areas your hunting property to this spot, or that it is a focal point in different travel routes for deer for some reason.

If you are lucky enough to find a licking branch, this is an absolute must for a camera.  And if you’re ahead on your summertime to-do list and already have all of your cameras set, pull one from somewhere else to place here.

If there has to be one thing to avoid on your summertime to-do list of setting out trail cameras, it would be to avoid putting them out in windy or weedy places.  If you do, every time the wind blows the weeds in front of your camera, or a leaf in front of it, it will snap a photo of nothing, and those get boring really fast.

One more no-no about trail cameras when thinking about your summertime to-do list is to try to avoid putting them in areas that will cause you to be too invasive in order to check them.  You don’t want to spook deer or allow them to pattern you before the season starts.

Scouting is a big part of any summertime to-do list:

Scouting doesn’t start as the season draws near; it should be a continuous process through the year.  Scouting in the summer is as good as any.  It allows you to identify travel routes and feeding areas that the deer are using when there is no hunting pressure, which can be invaluable for early season sits.

It also enables you to see how many, and what types of bucks, are hanging around.  Often, they are in bachelor groups this time of year, making getting an eye on them easier.

There is no need to go deep all the time on your summer scouting trips.  A lot of the time, you can spot bachelor groups of bucks and does feeding in crop fields from the road.  Or consider parking and walking a short distance to a fencerow, hill or other easy to get to spot where you can glass the area without tromping through the woods.

You’ll be surprised what a little scouting can do to improve your summertime to-do list, that even trail cameras can’t do for you.  Putting boots on the ground allows you to see well-worn trails, old rubs, and scrapes, identify water sources you may not have known were there and observe deer in areas where your cameras aren’t.  It also helps you pinpoint bedding areas, fence crossings and the like.

Treestand preparation and placement should be a part of your summertime to-do list:

A lot of people put it off until closer to the opener, but when going through your summertime to-do list, putting your treestands up and preparing them now should be on your list.

There are valid points to wanting to wait until closer to season to hang stands.  Deer patterns can change between summer and fall, requiring you to move a stand or two after putting them up, but overall, where you place your stands now will still be the right decision come fall.  For those always occurring instances where you notice deer using an area during the season where you don’t have one hung, keep an extra or two in the garage for just this reason, but you don’t want to wait until season approaches to hang them all.

If you have properly done your scouting and studied your trail cameras, you should already know where you need to hang them.

Sure, it may require torturous hikes through standing crop fields to hang them now versus later, but the extra work now will not only make you more prepared come fall, but it will also allow you to leave the area less disturbed as the season approaches.

 

Hanging stands, and all of the trimming, etc. that goes along with it takes a ton of time; time that really isn’t available as hunting season approaches when there are other things to do and get ready.  Doing it now may be hot and sweaty work, but will be so worth it come fall.

Besides just hanging a stand and trimming shooting lanes, think a bit deeper.  Add clearing brush, weed-eating or weed-killing entry and exit trails to your summertime to-do list also.  Obviously, this isn’t necessary for stands on field edges and the like, but for those hung in the timber, think about getting rid of as much of the debris as you can along the trail in order to make those calm morning entries as quiet as possible.

Food plots should be on your summertime to-do list:

That’s right, depending on what you intend to plant, summertime is the time to plant food plots if you intend to have any.

A wide variety of crops can be planted this time of year, so along with all of the other things, there are to do, planting food plots are another item on a summertime to-do list.

Plants such as beets, oats, tubers, alfalfa, and greens like brassicas are all best when planted in the summer heat.  They are heat and drought-resistant and come up in time to coincide with when you plan to be hunting over them.

Safety, the most important thing on your summertime to-do list:

With all of the important things to get done on the summertime to-do list, none are more important than safety.  Remember that.  Whether scouting, tending plots or hanging stands, practice safety first.  Never ascend a tree without the proper safety gear, such as a Muddy lineman’s belt, and never check or sit in stands without a Muddy safety harness.  Once stands are in place, secure a Safe-Line to the tree so that on your first hunt of the year, you will be tied in the moment your feet leave the ground.

Conclusion:

There really is no off-season when it comes to serious deer hunting.  In fact, if you do it right, there is a lot more work to be done now than once it’s time to be out hunting, so don’t let summer slip by without taking some time to create and knock out a summertime to-do list for a successful fall.