By Jason Herbert

The list continues with the second part of hunting season preparations:

Tree-stand-hang

The author heading into the summer woods to hang a treestand before the season starts.

Water Holes

Like every other living thing on the planet, game animals need water. If your property is lucky enough to have a natural water source, maybe mow around it or create trails to it for the animals to use. If not… make one. My dad takes livestock tanks and digs them into the ground. He then fills the tanks with water, and leaves a large stick in them so rodents who accidentally fall in will have a way to crawl back out. Occasionally these tanks need to be refilled, but over the last few years, we’ve had enough rain to keep them holding water. Other way sot make a water hole are to have one excavated, dig out a few ever present mud puddles, or dam small creeks. Whatever the means, the end result is the same- game animals need to drink. When managing property for hunting the goal is to keep the animals on the property for as long as possible, so water sources are a must. Once again, check local game laws before taking on a project like this.

Trails

Like the movie “Field of Dreams”, if you build it… they will come. Deer LOVE man made trails. I like to get out with my brush mower, or weed trimmer and make trails everywhere possible, connecting food and water, water and bedding, food and bedding, etc… Always make several because the deer will like certain ones, allowing you to travel the others. Also, if a natural deer trail doesn’t work well for your hunting setup- change it! We drop trees or use cheap snow fencing to alter deer moment. The animals will use these man made funnels like crazy! Just make sure your access and exits are well thought out because if you’re constantly coming eye to eye with deer using your trails, they’ll soon become nocturnal.

Trail-Funnel

A log pile cut to funnel to do a different trail in the woods.

Trail Cameras and Scouting

The trail camera has quickly become one of the greatest tools we hunters have access to over the last several years. I use them in high traffic areas, like food plots and mineral sites to constantly get an inventory of the local animals. Others use them as an indicator of when deer are moving, etc… Whatever the reason, trail cameras are a lot of fun. I like to hang them high, and aim them down to avoid the dis-honest eyes of other hunters and trespassers, as well. Plus… the chances of spooking a deer with the camera when it is well above their heads is much less.

If time allows, big IF for me in the summer, I might go out some hot night with my binoculars and scout bean fields. I know a lot of guys who make this priority number one in the summer months, but with all of my kids and sports, I just can’t. I get only so much personal time, and choose to spend it hunting. That being said, summer is a perfect time to scout bachelor groups of bucks.

Shoot

Arguably the most important thing a preseason hunter can do… shoot! I like to shoot my guns and bows for fun, but it is also good practice. Make sure scopes and sights are still on, and that the weapons are functioning properly.

There is so much good information available online about shooting drills for archers and gun hunters alike. I at the very minimum make sure my guns are still on, and shooting properly. I like to shoot my bow often, and at least once a night the month leading up to our season opener. When the moment of truth arrives, I don’t want shooting the weapon to be something new I want to have the muscle memory developed so it’s natural. I will say this… shoot with hunting clothes on, and simulate as many realistic scenarios as possible.

Wash Clothes

Working with scent free clothing giant ScentBlocker has taught me several things, including the need to do laundry! I always wash all of my gear in scent free detergent before each season, and store them properly after. Remember to treat scent free clothes the way they deserve, and don’t contaminate the with gas fumes, cigarette smoke, etc… I was all my clothes, line dry them on a nice day, run them through the dryer to activate them, and then store in an airtight, waterproof bag until I hunt. I drive to my location, undress in the field, and then re-dress in my hunting clothes. Yes… for those wondering, I have stood in my underwear in zero degrees getting dressed for a scent free hunt. So much more information about scent free hunting is available right here at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com, but know this at least… wash all of your gear in scent free detergent before the season starts! And… store them properly.

Scent-Shield

Jason’s airtight, waterproof storage bags for his scent free gear.

Get Permission

Also very important, get landowner permission to hunt! I always work for my permission- bailing hay, cutting wood, doing chores, etc… That way, if push comes to shove, it’s harder to get rid of me because I’m helpful vs. another guy who does nothing to earn it. That being said, I still lose hunting property access. It’s always my goal to get access to new properties each year. To be honest, this should really be done well before the season… but it’s never too late to start. Be friendly, be prepared to hear the word “NO”, and don’t burn any bridges. One of my biggest properties took me a few years to gain access to.

Most townships now have online data with landowner names and addresses. If you go about contacting people this way, be sure to tell them how you learned their information. Many older farmers do not appreciate the violation of their privacy that the government is providing. Everyone has their own strategy when it comes to gaining access to hunting land I like to network, and let everyone in the world know I’m a hunter willing and able to work for the chance to hunt. Also, knocking on doors still works, but like I said be prepared to hear the word “NO” often. If you do get access, be very clear on who the access is for. Don’t bring friends unannounced. I even have properties that my wife and kids aren’t allowed to go on. I simply hunt those when the kids are sleeping in, or when nobody wants to tag along.

Tackle Chore List

When all else fails, and there is absolutely NOTHING hunting related to do… I try to grease the wheel a bit and tackle a few of the things on my wife’s “honey do” list. I have learned the hard way… and been reminded in the middle of the November rut about chores I promised to do in August. Year of marriage have taught me to not only tackle these chores, but become pro-active and ASK what I can do to help. These types of chores extend outside of my home, from anything my wife wants done, to things my kids wished for- like a painted bedroom, all the way out to friends and relatives who needed me to drop a tree or haul something with my truck. I will say this for any friends and realitives reading, a hunter like me who burns wood needs a truck to get by. But… just because I own a truck doesn’t mean I like to help people move on the weekends during the fall.

Get Busy

In conclusion… if you’re still reading this and soaking up all of our valuable knowledge and advice, as soon as you are done- get outside and get busy! There’s so much to do ahead of the season that time is of the essence. If time is at a premium, at least make sure your gear and treestands are safe. If more time is allowed, have fun with property management, do a bit of scouting, or catch up on chores. Remember… hunting is supposed to be fun, and the more we have done ahead of time, the more we can relax and enjoy it.