Josh Boyd, story and photos:
You get out what you put in. Everyone has heard this expression at one point in time or another. This wisdom can be imparted upon many endeavors in life, and deer hunting is no exception. As the spring dwindles away and the dog days of summer grow near, the fall time activity of deer hunting is often far from the forefront of the minds of those who enjoy the outdoors. However, the input of a little sweat equity during the time of year when few give deer hunting a moment's thought, can easily translate into a fall full of success that few will experience the likes of.
High upon the list for many dedicated deer hunters during the spring and summer months, is the cultivation of food plots. The planting of spring and summer food plots allow a hunter to diversify food offerings upon their property, thus adding an additional layer of appeal to that tract of land for the deer they hunt. Food plots can be as basic in nature or as elaborate as desired. Plots can be established using as little as standard hand tools such as rakes and manual seed broadcasters, or can be planted on a scale of grand proportion using production grade agriculture equipment.
Another popular item of summer deer season preparation is the initiation of supplemental mineral sites. During the spring and summer of the year, deer seek out minerals to replenish those lost during the antler growth and fawning seasons. By employing mineral sites on your property, you are able to provide these minerals that deer naturally seek, in a concentrated form, at a location of your choosing. In accomplishing this, a hunter is compounding the attractiveness of the property they hunt, all while giving the local deer population the beneficial mineral content they seek.
In conjunction with the implementation of food plots and supplementation with high quality minerals, another high impact strategy for preparing for the upcoming deer season is scouting via the use of trail cameras. Trail camera usage during the summer months can be of substantial merit because this allows a hunter to take a broad inventory of the deer frequenting their property, as well as to monitor the antler growth of the bucks within an area. Of added benefit is the fact that trail camera usage is the perfect tool for surveiling any newly planted food plots, or recently established mineral sites. Therefore, a hunter is afforded the opportunity to assess the total sum of the interactions between the deer on a given property and the habitat enhancement projects that the hunter has conducted.
This summer as the sweltering heat radiates across the hard wood ridges and windswept hay fields of South Central Kentucky, resist the urge to spend your Saturdays seeking refuge in the air conditioning. Instead put forth the work that most won't, even in the face of the mounting heat, and make your own luck leading into this fall. As you set perched comfortably within your tree stand this season with a cool autumn breeze blowing across your face, the stifling summer sun will be little more than a distant memory. All that will remain, while you set amongst the oaks waiting on your quarry, will be the overwhelming sense of satisfaction in a job well done.