Deer seasons across the nation have now begun drawing to a close, leaving many hunters longing to extend their time afield. Luckily, this is quite easily accomplished, for most avid deer hunters. These individuals realize that a successful deer season begins the moment that the previous season draws to a close. For the successful among us, deer hunting is a 365-day per-year endeavor.
In fact, one can get a significant jump-start on next season’s efforts, by tackling a handful of post-season chores over the next couple of months. Each of these tasks carries a certain degree of significance, within a well-rounded hunting/management strategy. Therefore, one can directly influence their chance at success during the fall ahead, by allocating their time wisely.
The following are 5 post-season chores not to overlook when attempting to make the most out of your efforts afield, over the weeks and months ahead.
Feed Year Round
While many hunters have provided grain and minerals to their local deer herd on a free-choice basis for the bulk of season, far fewer continue such efforts once season has ended. However, for most intents and purposes, abruptly ending a feeding regimen can prove detrimental. This is especially true in the weeks and months following the season’s close when deer are in great need of sustenance.
Providing grain and minerals on a free-choice basis during the winter months also serves to keep deer patterned to a specific area. Without ample food, deer will travel extensively to find that which meets their needs. By providing supplemental feed on a year-round basis, one maximizes their chance of attracting and holding deer on a given parcel of land.
Move Stands Now
While many hunters choose to hang their stands in the weeks leading up to season, one can expedite such efforts over the next several months, preventing a host of unnecessary hardship. In fact, there is likely no better time to move existing stands, than during the remainder of winter, when trees are barren of excessive foliage, and visibility is at its greatest. This provides greater insight into the way in which a stand set will look during the greatest portion of season.
It is also wise to hang any treestands that are to be moved over the next several weeks, due to the reduced impact that such efforts have on deer movement. Any intrusions made during the post-season will be long forgotten by the local deer herd, as opening day approaches. However, this is not always the case when stands are relocated at the last minute.
Scout Deeper Than Before
Most hunters tend to hunt the perimeter edges of a property, in a bid to reduce pressure upon deer within the area. While this strategy proves potent when attempting to maximize daytime deer sightings, it also leaves a little to be desired in terms of scouting. Generally, one is reluctant to penetrate into interior bedding areas for the purpose of scouting or running trail cameras.
On the contrary, one can venture into these more remote parts of their property during the post-season, as any pressure imparted will be long forgotten by the start of the following season. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the manner in which deer utilize the interior of your property, thereby providing you with a bigger picture of deer movement as a whole.
The post-season is also an excellent period of time to seek out permission to hunt additional parcels of property. During this time of the year, landowners have yet to be bombarded by a sea of hunters, all vying for access in the weeks leading up to season. This, in turn, creates a much more favorable set of circumstances to contend with. With any luck, you will find yourself with a little additional ground to cover during the upcoming season.
Seeking permission for land access now, also allows for plenty of time to scout any property for which permission is granted. The same could not be said when permission is granted only weeks before season begins, as little time remains to pinpoint deer bedding areas, food sources, and travel routes in between. This greatly diminishes one’s odds of success.
One can also use the post-season as a key time to take part in some additional archery practice. Many archery clubs and ranges host winter indoor league shoots, which provide an excellent means of practice, as well as a little healthy competition. Competing in league shoots of this nature also prevents you from becoming complacent, and storing your bow away for weeks or months at a time.
Additionally, the post-season period is an ideal time during which to make desired modifications to your bow’s setup. This stems from the fact that one is provided with plenty of time to become accustomed to any such modifications, thereby bolstering a hunter’s confidence in the process. As a result, you are better equipped to make your shot count, when the moment of truth arises. After all, practice makes perfect, with archery being no exception.
The Time Is Now
Procrastination is the mortal enemy of all deer hunters. Putting hunting-related chores off until the last minute is a sure way to prevent yourself from punching your tag, as much in the way of detail is cast to the wayside when completing any task in a rush. Nonetheless, many hunters fall victim to this same trap, one season after the next, without fail.
Break the cycle over the next several months, by getting a jump start on the season ahead. By completing a handful of simple tasks now, you will be equipping yourself to make the most out of your time spent afield this fall. This will surely be appreciated, as you are dragging your trophy out of the woods, with a punched tag and an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.