The muscles in my back tighten and I can taste the deer skin shooting glove in the corner of my mouth. If there was ever a time I wanted to slip a broad head through a whitetail’s rib cage it was in this moment. I stopped the deer at 17 yards and sent the razor tipped shaft on its way.
Most of us tire early during the long summer months. Turkey season has been over for weeks. The deer opener still months away. For most of us, we try to stay busy with work and catch up on the honey-do’s. However, it seems like we all reach that point where the mind wonders to the fall and our heart aches for those first chilly dawns. Here are a few tips to stay sharp and be prepared once the season finally begins, which thank goodness will be here before we know it.
Building Mineral Sites.
Where legal, building mineral sites for deer will not only help the health of your herd but also boost antler growth. The first step in accomplishing this is to pick the correct mineral. There are a lot of minerals on the market these days that are merely expensive salt blocks. Protein, minerals, and nutrients are essential for your herd. With this in mind, carefully choose a mineral supplement. Also, choose your mineral site carefully. Find a site that can be easily accessed for checking your trail cameras. This will give you surveillance on your bucks during the summer months as well as contribute to more antler growth.
Shoot/Tune your bow.
As bowhunters, the easiest way for us to perfect our craft is to be proficient with our weapon. The early summer months are a wonderful time to go to your local archery shop and have your bow tuned. It’s also a great time to purchase a new bow or replace your current bow’s string and cables. Don’t wait until September and be surprised when your local shop is backed up for weeks on bow work.
Muscle memory and being confident in your equipment starts during the summer. To make shooting sessions fun, try having friends over to grill burgers and shoot bows. Also, remember to change it up. Practice like you hunt. Try shooting with gloves on and from an elevated stand even in the summer. Purchase a broadhead target and practice with broadheads instead of field tips. This is also a fantastic time to judge yardage and work on your longer distances. This fall, during the moment of truth when you’re at full-draw on the buck of a lifetime you might just be thankful you did.
Hanging stands months before season to let deer adjust and calm down is just a good idea. Yes it’s hot. Yes there’s snakes and mosquitos. However, you will increase your chances at shooting a mature buck if you choose to hang your stands during the summer. This leaves months or weeks to let the deer adjust and not be pressured. Regardless of how careful you are, hanging stands just before the opener will place unnecessary pressure on your property. Invest in a lifeline to keep you safe while placing stands and always get a friend to help if possible. Make sure you have a good saw and also cut all of your shooting lanes at this time. This is a breeze if you have a partner to help. There has been many a big buck’s life saved by an inconvenient limb that the hunter was too lazy to cut before season.
If you leave stands out year-round, check your straps and hardware to make sure they’re safe to hunt from. I usually replace my straps every year or every other year for sure just to be safe.
Get in Shape.
Even if you are only walking in a couple hundred yards to your deer stand it will still benefit you to be in better shape. I’m not saying you have to be Cam Hanes to shoot a whitetail, but you should definitely try to be a better version of yourself. Anything to make your body stronger and healthier will benefit you come fall. From walking in to your stand, climbing the tree, dragging out and field dressing your deer. It all will help you control your breathing and be more efficient. There are several things you can work on during the summer to get healthier without feeling like you’re on a “diet”. Try to push-mow your lawn instead of ride. Go for walks in your neighborhood or hikes in the woods if possible. Spend 15 minutes each morning stretching. Cut out the fast food or greasy foods and focus on vegetables and eating the last bit of venison left in your freezer. Most of us feel like we are in decent shape, but even a slight change in eating or small strength gains in your body will feel a lot better when you’re chasing game this fall.
Plan your Vacation.
I don’t mean to Disney World.
If you are a guy who is fortunate enough to spend vacation time during the hunting season now is the time to plan it. By now there are plenty of articles online with the fall’s rut predictions. Research your area and look at your personal historical data for your property. Consider moon phase. Consider surrounding pressure and holidays. Choose wisely and pray that if needed, you also may have a couple extra sick days left by November..
There you have it, with a few of these tips may the long summer months fly by for all us hunters. It’s all about fine tuning our craft and there’s no better time than the summer months. Good luck and shoot straight!