Schools outs, Canada Day just passed, and a summer of beaches, boat rides, and BBQs are what most people have on their mind. Unless you are a bowhunter and all you can think about is that opening day is less than two months away and you still have tons of preparation to do. Now is that exciting time when we can see how are bucks antlers are growing and deer are starting to enter feeding areas early enough in the evening that we can see what our hunting areas are holding. This is the time of year when we really need to start putting in those scouting hours to not only take inventory of the animals but start putting together a game plan for fall.
By now you should have an area that you plan to hunt or at least a part of the province where you are hopping to hunt, if not now is the time to find one. Nothing stresses me out more than scrambling a week or two before season trying to get my plan together. Now that you have your spot ready to go you need to decide when you plan to hunt to this spot. If you plan on hunting this place opening day or week you need to go with a low impact approach, this mean doing most of your scouting at distance with good optics like those made by Vortex Optics. When you start to hunt in early September most of the deer you’re watching will be behaving similarly to how they are in July and August. You should still take time to move in and place trail cameras to catch those nocturnal bucks but I would limit the amount of time you spend in the bush. If you are like me and you wait until late October or early November to start your deer hunting, then this time of year is really about taking inventory of what is in the area to hunt. I am focusing on placing trail cameras and watching fields to find “target” deer for when I am spending my time in the woods. I also take careful note of what kind of crops neighboring farms are planting, a change in food source can happen in October and I want to have a plan on how to deal with that. At this time of year I don’t mind being a little invasive with my scouting because once September rolls around I will be backing off my pressure.
Like all aspects of hunting having the right tools makes the job that much easier and rewarding. Having a really high end trail camera is great but having 5 mid range trail cameras, in my experience, is much better. What you have to sacrifice in picture quality and flash range you will make up in having more “eyes” looking out for you in the woods and more locations to see what’s in your part of the woods. Take a look at the offerings from Spypoint, they build many quality cameras in various price points that will get the job done. I feel the opposite way about optics, buy the best you can afford. If you can afford good binoculars and a spotting scope buy both but if not then buy really good binoculars, you will have many other uses for them. You don’t want to miss something when you are watching a field late in the evening and buck steps out in the last minutes of light. Take a look here at some the binocular and spotting scope options we offer. One of the most commonly used pieces of scouting equipment now is the computer, not only is it a great place to organize and store trail camera photos it’s also great of starring at Google Earth studying your hunting spot. I have spent many long evenings looking at Google Earth trying to figure out what the animals in my area are doing. Not only do I focus on my hunting spot but also I examine the surrounding areas to see if I can gain any clues on where the deer might prefer to be.
So now is the time for after dinner cruises down the dirt roads, time for mosquito swatting marathons in the middle of a July day, and time for long hours starring at maps on a computer screen. It’s time to get out there an put in the work because before you know it, it will be opening day.