Once we got the foodplots in, we took down more than 40 treestands and goundblinds all across our sacred hunting grounds.
Springtime isn’t just about house cleaning, turkey and bear hunting and planting crops, and in my case, greasing up the rock-n-roll machinery for a new year’s full throttle rockout, it is also about maintenance and getting a jumpstart on September even before summer rolls around.
We have found over the last fifty plus years of hardcore hunting, that quality control is always way easier, effective, and much safer than damage control. Even if we didn’t guide hundreds of hunters each season and just managed all our hunting for ourselves, there are some very simple, pragmatic basics that will vastly increase the ease and quality of our upcoming hunts with just a little bit of forethought and adequate elbow grease.
We like to take down all our treestands each spring so we can examine the chains and straps and ratchets to be sure everything is in tip top safe, quiet working order. We have all seen how chains grow into trees and straps deteriorate over time, making for some very dangerous, life threatening conditions that there is simply no excuse for.
Plus, I have to tell you; even the slightest change of location for that old stand will greatly benefit our ambush effectiveness come fall. I have found that by moving even a few short yards, critters are far less likely to nail us, and I crave every minute advantage I can squeeze out of my stand location.
A little lube goes a long way on hinges and nuts and bolts. Also by disconnecting a stand from the tree, the chance of squeaks and game alerting little noises can be eliminated. Do it.
We wipe down our Double Bull Blinds to eliminate any corrosive mildew or mold, then make sure they are bone dry before storing them in a dry, protected area.
Sometimes a little heavy duty needle and thread work will suture up some rips and tears, fortifying our pop-up blinds for a more cozy hide-away.
Where legal, now is the time to put out those mineral licks and supplemental nutritional attractants that will keep the critters coming all summer long.
Primos Swamp Donkey blocks, Red Spot mineral bags and apple and corn flavored salt blocks have worked wonders for our MI and TX properties. My buddies around the country have shared the same glowing reports as well.
Raking small clearings and finding such natural clearings in the woods or along edges are great places to broadcast WildGame Innovations Throw and Grow seed, or a homemade concoction of rye, wheat, oats, clovers and alfalfa blends to enhance game areas during the off season. It is always amazing to watch my little pockets of emerald green deer heaven spots take shape as time goes by.
As much as I crave my hunting time, I must admit that I get nearly the same kick out of doing all these different activities in my hunting areas in between seasons. I always find sheds, the occasional mushroom, leaks, wild asparagus, wild berries and wild scallions while doing this fun outdoor work, making for a great day afield everytime. And the kids and grandkids love every minute of it too.
Don’t wait till the end of summer to scramble, do it as far in advance as possible so it can all be accomplished with no rushing around.
And remember too, that groundblinds and treestands should be set back up a good month or so before opening day so that the critters get acclimated to these foreign objects way in advance. It is also beneficial to do so well in advance so we don’t intrude on our hunting areas any more than necessary too close to opening day.
And don’t forget those scent stations. I discovered long ago that mock scrapes have a very positive effect when kept going all year long. And I have also found that it doesn’t matter what kind of deer scent I use. Doe, buck, estrus, doe in heat, dominant buck, fresh, old, natural or synthetic, by keeping a scent station stinky all year, it seems like every deer in the area just has to stop by for a sniff, a rub and a pee. The consistent familiar scent seems to calm them down and give them confidence that all is well.
The exploding phenomena of trail cameras has been an eye opener to all hunters, and if you got em, use em. I’m not a nut about them, but I do set them up here and there occasionally to see what is going on and it is always fascinating to view the critters that frequent my favorite hunting spots when I’m not there.
Stretch that spirit we all so crave as long as possible. Scouting and familiarizing ourselves with our sacred hunting grounds has always been a big part of the hunting lifestyle for everyone I know, so get out of it all we can to maximize the joys we derive from our wild time. The only thing better than wild time is more wild time.