With less than two months until the start of deer season, a lot of Michiganders are now busy preparing to take part of a long-standing, time-honored tradition. Getting out in the woods, waiting for that buck to show up, taking that shot, and getting some fresh organic deer meet — all these are exciting ways to bond with family and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Summertime, when the forage is lush and food is plenty, is a time to gain weight for the bucks. For Michigan’s serious deer-hunters, however, this is a very busy time. It is the time to start getting ready by reviewing the hunting regulations, securing hunting licenses and hunter education certifications (for first-time hunters), and visiting the popular hunting stores for gear preparations and other essentials.
Here’s a list of important summer tasks to prepare you well before the opening day of the deer hunting season:
1. Sight in Your Rifle or Bow
The long summer days are perfect for getting your weapons ready. If your rifle or bow was right on target last season, it doesn’t automatically mean it is ready for this year. Starting early gives you a less crowded range to throw some lead, a chance to check if there are any changes in the scope position, perhaps while on storage, and an opportunity to practice the right combination to increase your odds of reward and bring in that big whitetail buck.
2. Scout the Property
Visit landowners and talk to farmers. Get organized and invaluable intel by exploring and inspecting the property early. Talk to those who would have a better understanding of what’s going on in your hunting area. With approximately 600,000 hunters in Michigan, getting out early and spending plenty of time in the woods will definitely help you increase your chances of a successful hunt.
3. Set Up Trail Cameras
Generally, many people would use their cameras to better understand the travel and feeding patterns of the deer. As hunters, however, you should be to identify beyond antler features and get a more in-depth understanding of individual deer qualities and behaviors in order to use this information to your advantage. Aside from deer movements, your trail cameras should also monitor food plots and water sources. Locate funnels and pinch points, which bucks will most likely use as travel shortcuts and straight to your ambush position.
More importantly, remember to limit your camera checks, as human activities and scents alert deer quickly.
4. Get in Shape
While deer-hunting isn’t as demanding as rough-country hunts, it is still important to plan and condition yourself for the hunting season. We all want to be in good physical condition to handle the strain of dragging a big buck out of deep drainage. Spend time walking and working out and if you are into bow-hunting, make sure you are capable of holding and drawing your bow.
As with anything else, the more time spent in planning and preparation, the better the odds of getting that foot in the door. However, while a bit of organized work now can definitely be a huge advantage, remember that summertime shouldn’t be all about these whitetail chores. Enjoy the sun, hit the beach, turn up the music, and enjoy an umbrella drink.