Dr. John Woods 07.29.20
It’s August already and in just two quick months it could be archery season for deer where you live. The clock is spinning fast and it’s time to start getting your hunting property and camp ready for deer hunting. Here are some critical job tasks that must be accomplished before you can start getting into a stand for hunting. Get busy.
Task One. Before you know what deer hunting harvest goals to set for this year, start by going over what happened last season. Assuming you keep some kind of harvest log (shame on you if you don’t) review it now. How many bucks and does were taken? What should be taken this year? If you have doubts, have a state deer biologist visit the numbers and help you decide what should be harvested this season to help balance your herd.
Task Two. Decide which food plots to plant this year. You may want to consider rotating some of them to avoid deer patterning the hunters. Do soil tests. Get those plots mowed to sit for a couple weeks, then plow or disk thoroughly to turn under the dead grass and weeds. Buy your selected seed and fertilizer now to avoid rushes. Plant at the optimal time watching for ideal temperatures and rain forecasts.
Task Three. Back on the tractor and bush hog to trim up all the land access trails, back trails, and hunting area access points. Shape up the camp area, too. As you go, look for overhanging limbs, sticker bushes and vines that need to be removed along the way. A swat in the face by a thorn bush in the face while riding an ATV later in the season will remind you of that task.
Task Four. Go to every hunting stand on the property for an eyeball inspection. Get all the vines off the stands and clean up around the bottoms. Check out each stand for stability, correct installation, especially new stands, and replace old ratchet straps that secure stands to the tree. Tighten bolts, lubricate squeaky noises where parts rub together and paint as needed after removing any rust. Check shooting lanes and trim out branches that block vital views from tree stand seats.
Task Five. Get the hunting camp ready for occupation. Perform repairs and inspections whether you use tents, campers, or have a cabin. Test electricity and plumbing to be in working order. Cut firewood or order some in. Bring in clean sheets, towels, and kitchen linen. Resupply with paper products, trash can liners, dish soap, and other supplies.
Oh, while you’re at it, be sure to ready all hunting gear, guns, bows, arrows, and other tools used for hunting. Get the ATV/UTVs and hunting vehicles serviced, especially tires. Doing these jobs now will set you up for a great hunting season.