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Summer Prep for Fall Bucks

Summer is hunting’s “pre-season” so treat it like any sport and prepare mentally, physically, and mechanically.  Long summer days allow you to spend time in preparation so that when that long-awaited hunt begins, you are confident of success.  Begin physically with your foundation by strengthening your legs and core.  Jogging is great, yet a brisk walk builds stamina and endurance.  Even standing burns calories and exercises the foundation of movement.  If you have the choice to work standing or sitting, choose the former.


Embrace Technology

When it comes to “old school” I’m of the Flintstone generation, yet I use my Fitbit watch to monitor my movements every day.  My goal is to walk about three miles and I can usually put in two miles around the house by constantly being active.  When I shop I always park at the far end of the parking lot for extra walking, I prefer doing multiple trips instead of multi-tasking, and I climb stairs as often as possible.  I”m always on the lookout for small pockets of deer cover near my home and use the mapping app on my phone to identify property owners to ask permission.


Set up Mineral Sites

Deer need minerals just like people and you can benefit deer and other wildlife as well as improve hunting.  I have a cellular camera at one site and have had black bears, raccoons, a porcupine, and deer visit it routinely.  Unlike a bait site, you rarely have to visit the spot to replenish the minerals because they dissolve into the ground, making the site attractive for months.  Check your state’s regulations, but most treat minerals and bait differently.

Gear UP-

Thinking about a new crossbow for the coming season?  Now is the perfect time to visit an archery shop and check out the latest offerings.  Most shops have their new gear arriving and have the time to answer questions and give you a test run.  Shops become so busy in late summer that you may have to stand in line to make a purchase.  Also, don’t exclude a used bow from your prospects.  Even if you choose to re-string and cable, you can save hundreds off the price of a new bow and get years of service.


Increase Your Range

Don Wilson is an opening-day mechanic, having taken three velvet bucks on the last three opening days of the Maryland season.  He shoots a CAM-X crossbow which is out of production and standard arrows.  The key to his 50-ish yard shooting is a solid tripod rest.  Both the Final Rest and Death Grip tripod rests are great investments and will double as a shooting table.  If you are thinking of extending your shooting range, a solid rest is your best bet.

Practice Realistically

Using a tripod will improve accuracy tremendously at a longer range, but is that how you will be hunting?  If you mostly hunt from a tree stand and shoot at modest distances, then practice from a deck or at least standing in the back of a pickup for that downward angle.  I like to hunt deer like turkeys where I’m fully camouflaged with my back firmly against a tree.  Practice shooting quickly, to maximize opportunity.  Whatever your style, realistic practice will make you a more effective hunter.




Buy One or More Cellular Cameras


As I’m typing this, a camera on a tree 15 miles away is beeping my phone with pictures of a young buck by a mineral site.  These mobile cameras will pay for themselves in gas savings and allow your stand site to be undisturbed since you don’t have to retrieve media cards.  I use Vosker cameras which are designed for security, yet their built-in solar panel makes one set of batteries last an entire year.  It’s worry-free.  I get as many as 50 pictures in a single day with little battery use.

Sharpen Your Deer Knowledge-

I’m also a field editor for Whitetails Unlimited, a deer hunting and conservation group that publishes a quarterly magazine that’s packed with relevant information to make you a better hunter and deer steward.  They cover turkey and Western hunting in season so there’s something for everyone.  Whitetails Unlimited is the number one organization in whitetail deer conservation and hosts banquets to raise funds throughout the country.   Summer is a great time for leisurely reading about hunting tactics and watching videos.  Deer hunting may end at sundown, yet preparation and education can be 24/7.



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