People are always asking me what we can do during the off season to get ready for deer season. This is the time of the year that some of you will go out and buy a new gun or bow. It’s also the time of year I like to practice shooting. It’s good to practice shooting throughout the year but don’t wait until just before season and expect to shoot just like the year before. Besides, it’s easier to shoot before it gets cold! Remember, repetition will make you a better shooter. Once it gets closer to season make sure to practice in what you are going to wear while hunting. Practice, practice, practice.
Putting lots of trail cameras out is something I like to do. It will help give you an idea of what you have for deer long before season starts. I generally like to set my cameras up on a Vita-Rack Lick Site. How much ground you have will determine how many lick sites to have. But the nice thing about Vita-Rack Lick Site is the fact that I will get photos of all the deer in the immediate area. This is a big help in determining where to hang stands. You can also put cameras up on good deer trails and food sources.
Another thing you might want to do is go through old photos and categorize them. It’s fun to compare old photos with new ones. There are a lot of good cameras out there, but I have had good luck with Bresser, Bushnell, and Moultrie. Just remember, even while putting out and checking cameras, it is best to be scent free with Scent-A-Way Max.
How about taking care of food plots? A lot of food plots can be taken care of during the off season. As far as food plots are concerned, I like to hunt over clover during the early season and something with turnips in it during the late season. Don't rule out corn and beans during the late season. Clovers can be frost-seeded towards the end of winter or planted in early spring while turnips can be planted during the summer months, depending on where you live.
One other thing I like to do this time of year is go out and trim shooting lanes, as well as do some scouting. Think about the last season and where all the deer were coming from. It's a good time to identify new tree stand locations. Make sure all straps on your tree stand are in good shape and that the stands are in good working “safe” order.
It’s always safer to have someone help when hanging stands. I like to climb up in a stand and pick out what needs to be trimmed from the stand location. You can change a deer’s travel route by trimming certain areas, making it easier for deer to travel in and around an area where they haven’t been able to before.
These are just a few things that you can be doing during the off season to get a jump on the upcoming deer season. Please remember, as you start to hang stands always keep safety in mind. Do Not try to climb a tree stand without wearing a safety restraint of some kind.