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This is going to be a good year for some exciting whitetail hunting this fall. I am seeing a ton of healthy
deer and the bucks are already showing some excellent growth in their antler development. Another item
that I am really happy about, no full moon during the peak of the rut this year in Ohio, boy it really messed
with us last fall. The reason I brought that up is, a lot of us have to plan way ahead as to when we are taking
off from our busy schedules to hunt the rut. Gives us a chance to plan around things we have no control over.
Over the years ( here in OH ), the best days seem to fall between the 3rd and 15th of November, with full
moon during those days last year, it tends to create more nocturnal activity, which left us out in the cold, as
nobody hunts after dark.
This next 2 months are a good time to observe the bucks, during this time they are, for the most part, in
their home territory right now. Why is this important you might ask? If you locate a good buck now, this area
is where it will be 10 months out of the year, unless hunting pressure or food sources alter his patterns and
then it won’t be by much. During the rut you are hunting the does and are going to see some of your bucks,
plus those that you only see once as they will cover a tremendous amount of area during that time. Since the
rut is usually about a quarter of the time we bowhunters are allowed to pursue the whitetail each fall, early
scouting gives us the right areas to be on top of the type of buck we have chosen to go after. Example, the
first 3 weeks of Ohio’s season ( opens the last Saturday in September each year ) then gun season and the
balance of the bow season would roughly fall into this category.
Of course I like to see all the bucks I can during the summer months, but time can be a problem. One
way to overcome the time dilemma, is to check areas that have soft soil, creek/river banks, corn/soybean
fields are couple examples, and check all the tracks you can locate. It is a rare doe that field dresses over
140 lbs ( I know you have shot at least 5 that were close to 200 lbs, lol ) but statistics don’t lie. On the other
hand, a mature OH buck that is 31/2 years or older will commonly dress out at 180 to 240lbs or more. Well
guess who is going to leave tracks that get us all excited. Once you locate tracks of interest, then
concentrate your time in those areas, thus giving you a better chance of laying eyes on those bucks, seeing
in person what you might be after. It also helps to know what a 220 lb deer track looks like and don’t be
fooled by extremely soft soil as it will magnify the track size.
While engaging in these summer activities, it is not near as important to be super secretive around the
deer, as it will be, once we get close to the opening day of season. Reason being, you have farmers, hikers,
fishermen etc coming and going all the time and unless deer fell directly threatened, they will as a general
rule, ignore you.
Also this is good time, if you know where you want to place some stands this fall, to clear fallen trees,
new growth or anything that would impede your shooting lanes or getting to and from your stands quietly.
Getting this activity out of the way early does not leave any kind of negative impression on the deer you
plan to hunt later this fall.
If you are placing a new stand based on your knowledge gained in the past, be careful on selecting your
exact location. with all the foliage on the trees, you might feel it is the perfect spot, then once the leaves fall,
you are completely exposed as you have nothing to breakup your outline. I tend to look for tree trunks or
other permanent items that will keep me as inconspicuous as possible, the only other alternative is try and
relocate your stand during season, not the best course of action to have to take. You have to trim shooting
lanes again and any other appropriate actions, which may allow the deer you are after to figure out what is
Yes, you will fight with hordes of mosquitoes, deer flies, dagger like thorns, heat, etc while engaging in
these summer activities, but the first sight of that trophy buck easing it’s way toward you as you are
invisible in your stand, makes it all worth while. The other thing that I seem to benefit from each year as I go
through these months, is the increased knowledge I pickup and there are a few morsels gleaned that give me
a slight edge over the year before. It always seems like season is a long way off, then the next thing you
know, it is just around the corner.
Wishing you the best as always,
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