L ive every day like it’s your last and one day you will be right!”
My Mother used to tell me that all the time, and when I was a young teenager, I just shook my head. Now that I have become (cough) distinguished, I realize just how wise my Mother was.
Although she is gone to a better place now, her words of wisdom still ring in my ears louder than any stage I have ever been on. So please, take it from me. You never know how many more times you will be able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, a nice long look at a deer under your stand or the sound of a big tom turkey gobbling off in the distance.
With a new hunting season fast approaching, I spend any free time that I may have going through my gear and getting things all prepared for another successful year in the field. That does not necessarily mean that I will bring home game and fill my freezer, but I sure do plan on having fun trying. And for me, that is a successful year.
Dove season begins next month followed by duck and goose. I will admit to all those bird hunters out there that when I go bird hunting, the doves that fly above sunflowers and the ducks and geese that head for open water are safe around me.
My friends love to take me bird hunting with them. Not only because of the constant humor that I provide, but also because of the number of shells I carry with me. Believe me, I have enough for many other hunters.
I confess that I am not the best shot when it comes to flying birds. I just cannot stop aiming directly at the bird rather than ahead of it. Oh, I know that I am “supposed” to aim ahead of the bird while swinging my gun as I shoot, but when the moment of truth comes, for some reason I never pay attention to what I am “supposed” to do. Consequently, there are no wild birds in my freezer except for one or two turkeys. I am more of a hog huntin’, varmint killin’, turkey and deer huntin’ kinda guy.
I will leave the dove stories to those who know more about it. Instead, I will concentrate on something I know about—preparation for hunting the four- legged critters out there.
August, for me, is the month to start scouting for deer. Not everyone likes to get out in the blazing sun and take a hot walk through a scorching field looking for deer sign. Me either!
I do spend some precious scouting time in an air-conditioned room with my laptop. It is a great way to check out possible new areas to hunt. If you are not doing well on your lease, and you want to try your luck elsewhere, your computer is a good place to start.
A look at a topographical map of a prospective deer lease will give you a great idea as to whether or not it can hold a nice whitetail. Whitetails, like any other mammal out there, need food, water, and shelter to survive. So, if you have located an area that has a food source nearby, a lake or stream on the property and a thick area used for a sanctuary for the deer to feel safe in, then you have located your own little “honey hole” for deer.
Take a closer look and see if you can find a bottleneck on the property. A place where the woods gets narrow and then opens up again is an outstanding place to find deer movement. The big boys prefer to stay hidden in the woodlot and rarely show themselves in the open fields once hunting season begins.
With luck, you have now secured a new hunting area for this season, and now it is time to really scout the area. I like to start from the comfort of my car in the early mornings and just before sunset.
I will drive to the spot and check the area to find out whether I can see any deer in the food plot. Are there any big bucks? Are there enough does in the area? Do the deer enter and exit the food plot in the same spot every morning and every evening? These questions and many more will be soon answered while you sip your coffee in your air-conditioned vehicle.
If you plan to hunt out of a tree stand, then time is a-wastin’.
It is important to pick your ambush spot and place your tree stands up so that the deer will get used to seeing them. Remember, you are hunting in their living room and any sudden changes could alarm the deer of your presence. It is also very important to remember to clear only the branches or brush absolutely necessary for a clean humane shot.
Although it is dove season right now, whitetail season is right around the corner, and time will fly by. Before you know it, it will be time to venture out in the woods with your bow in hand and start a new year in the wild.
I really do love this time of year. Unfortunately, my job will keep me busy during most of this hunting season. Still, I will do my best to get out there and enjoy the outdoors as much as I possibly can.
Have fun and hunt safe out there.
Email Lou Marullo at [email protected]