Get deer healthy and improve your hunting season

Submitted By Heath Wood Feb .22.2016

As the summer months roll on and the temperatures heat up, it's hard for hunters to think about deer hunting. However, this is actually an ideal time for hunters to get ready for fall. Summer is the perfect time to start thinking about deer health. A lot of hunters start in the spring by planting food plots, putting minerals out, etc. and this type of prep is mostly directed toward bucks, in hopes of increasing antler size. The idea of doe and fawn health needs are usually pushed to the wayside and we, as hunters, need to be thinking about them just as much. The whole deer herd being healthy will make for better hunting in general when season approaches.

The first step to accomplishing a healthier deer herd is to see what you have to work with. This is a perfect time for game cameras to come into play. I like to run cameras in multiple locations to take an inventory of how many deer I have, including does and fawns, not just bucks. I start my camera set-up in mid June, because by this time, all of the new fawns are up on their feet and moving around with the does. June is also the month when bucks start growing their antlers. As the bucks grow into the summer, I try to keep an inventory of them also. Keeping an inventory of how many deer you have year after year will help you know if your herd is improving, as well as help you be a better hunter when fall season finally rolls around. If a hunter has scouted using trail cameras and knows that they have 8 to 10 different bucks on their land they are more likely to be more patient if they are in search of a trophy buck.

The second step is all about location. Placement of a trail camera is one of the most important things a hunter can do, followed by what the hunter puts in front of the camera. During the summer months, deer need minerals to help antler growth. So, how is this helping does and fawns? When putting my cameras out in mid summer I make several different Vita-Rack 26 lick sites. Deer instinctively seek out the nutrition they need. When they find it they will revisit the same area often. I like to put these lick sites near trails and/or water sources. So, my camera set-up is going to be over my Vita-Rack Lick Site. Lick Site is a superior formula of premium quality vitamins and minerals essential to balanced nutrition. This innovative mixture improves a doe's milk, which makes healthier fawns and provides deer with a better immune system. A healthy immune system, plus a powerful blend of B vitamins, allow deer to thrive all year long.

Deer will visit the sites often, making it ideal for getting several pictures from your game cameras. Another favorite set-up for my cameras is a location where I have been using Vita-Rack Gorge. When using Gorge I just pour in a small pile on the bare ground. When using Liquid Gorge I like to pour it on an old log or stump. Pour it on something it will stick to. Deer will lick on the stump, or actually chew on the pieces of wood that are soaked with the irresistible taste of the apple or acorn flavored Vita-Rack Gorge. Gorge improves body weight and antler growth in deer and is perfect for getting multiple pictures, especially bucks! Besides all the minerals I like to have a few food plots growing as well. Vita-Rack Velvet Clover is an excellent choice for a summer food plot. It's a combination of several types of sweet tasting clovers that keep deer coming back. Having both food plots and minerals out at the same time give deer a perfect balance of all the nutrition they need to thrive.

The third step is scouting. Now that the hunter has food plots and mineral sites out they need to start breaking their game camera pictures down and start scouting. This is when you have the most activity of deer. I began in late July or early August by walking around looking for signs to start hanging my stands. I try to start patterning deer, by looking back on my game cam pictures. I try to determine which way the deer are coming from and where they are headed. I then get out early in the mornings or evenings and try to watch as many deer as I can. After I figure out the travel routes that deer are using the most I begin hanging treestands during mid August. After stands are up I try to stay away until I'm ready to crawl up in a treestand during archery season.

So, with a little extra effort to get your deer herd the healthiest that it can be you are improving your chances of seeing lots of deer and bigger bucks when it's time to start hunting.