8 Things Serious Deer Hunters Do During Summer

8 Things Serious Deer Hunters Do During Summer

Posted 2017-06-07T07:00:00Z  by  Bob McNitt

Are You Spending the Summer Months Wisely?

(Bill Konway photo)

From summer scouting tips to bow games, rimfire practice to club joining, this collection of hunting tips can make this your best season yet.

1. Do Some Research

Although every hunter should consider any big game he or she takes as a highly worthy trophy, wouldn't it be nice if there were a solid reference that told you where the best trophy animals are currently found? Well, there is, and they're called "record books." Just about every state has a record of the top trophy animals taken there, as well as where, when and by whom.

Here in my home state of New York, there's the NYS Big Buck Club, which lists the top bucks and black bears taken in the state over the past 65 years, along with the locations, dates and methods they were taken. A much wider scope can be found in the Boone & Crockett records, founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt, which lists a variety of big game trophy species along with the pertinent data to aid you in selecting the most current area(s) that will give you the best odds of encountering a trophy-class animal.

2. Beat the Bugs

We're heading into the peak of biting insect season, and those tiny insects represent more than just an itchy nuisance. Given that mosquitoes can inflict West Nile Virus and ticks can produce Lyme Disease, avoiding being bitten could be a lifesaver, or at least prevent serious sickness. With all the excellent repellents available, there's no reason to take risks while we're outdoors now. For example, Sawyer offers an effective tick repellent that is sprayed on clothing. For those who don't want to use a repellent containing DEET, there's BugBand, which has proven to be as effective without the possible side effects. For gadget-minded hunters, look into the new ThermaCell. It's a fuel-operated machine that you wear on your belt. It will keep bugs at bay on those hot summer days when your working your favorite trout stream or scouting for whitetails.

3. Hitting the Greens

Summer and early fall are the seasons when deer begin bulking up for the rigors of the rut and winter's lean times. It's also the prime time to observe them feeding in lush meadows and fields. Since a deer's home range is normally a mile or less in area, scouting the best food areas at dusk and dawn will produce an idea of deer densities in the area, which can then translate to the best areas to hunt once the season arrives. Binoculars or a spotting scope can reveal antler characteristics on the bucks, which will hint at where the best trophy prospects are. And if you or your hunting group have done your homework on food plots, this will be the time you'll reap the benefits, as deer are drawn to the superior foods available there.

4. Join an Organization

Do you belong to a sportsmen's club or organization, local, state or national? If not, you're endangering the future of our hunting and outdoor heritage. Why? Because bills and laws are the product of a large portion of the public's (especially voters) requests to their lawmakers. The old saying that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is especially applicable to what laws are passed, modified or swiftly enacted. By belonging to an organization, you become part of a larger lobbying group that is more apt to gain the ear of elected officials.

But that's just the beginning. You also need to make your individual voice heard by regularly writing or contacting your lawmakers and voicing your support or opposition to bills awaiting action. If you do or say nothing that garners the politicians' attention, then you're playing into the hands of the anti's and others whose goal is to end all hunting.

5. Play Bowhunting Games

With spring turkey season still fresh in our minds, the next major game challenge is still a few months away. So it's time to relax, maybe do some serious fishing, work on that major home project, or if you're into it, play some golf or tennis. But for bowhunters, summer is not the time to let dust accumulate on the bow, especially if you haven't shot since last archery season. Like any seasonal athletic endeavor, the participant who stays sharp during the off-season will perform at his/her highest potential once the season arrives.

Many areas of the country have year-round archery leagues, clubs or shops that have target ranges open to the public. And many bowhunters set up target areas on their property, but usually disassemble them once the season ends and don't set them up again until a few weeks before the next hunting season opens. The excuses not to practice can range from: "It's too hot," "I don't have time," to "I can get in shape in just a couple weeks." Roger Clemens didn't become one of the greatest pitchers by never picking up a baseball during the off-season, and neither do the best bowhunters fail to stay sharp during the hunting off-season.

Summer practice doesn't have to be a drag. Make it fun and competitive by "inventing" some competitive shooting games that can be done right at home. Whether it's a family member or friend, joining up with someone else that bowhunts will increase the enjoyment and your concentration. One of my favorites is a shooting game comparable to the basketball game HORSE. The first shooter chooses the range, elevation (maybe from a ladder or one-story roof) and body position of a shot, then the next shooter must try and duplicate it with the same accuracy. If he fails, he gets a letter. If he beats the lead-off shooter, he gets to go first, and the lead-off gets a letter. Try it. It's fun and you'll discover how well you can shoot that "cold arrow" rather than a rapid bunch, one after the other. It'll help make you a better archer come hunting season and that buck steps into range.

6. Test Drive a New Bow

If you're thinking of buying a new bow for the fall season, now is the time to start shopping. But before you buy, consider the features and good points of your old bow and why you chose it in the first place, and then review those new models that are similar. Once you've whittled the choices down, you should test-shoot each, either at a bow shop that carries them or ask to try one that belongs to a friend or acquaintance in your club, league or area. Bows, styles and setups are like good hunting boots -- one size and style won't fit all people or satisfy everyone's needs.

7. Keep Your Heads On

How's the foam arrow/broadhead holder and shaft grippers on your bow quiver? Sharp broadheads shoved into the foam inside the guard cup tend to cut or otherwise imprint the foam over time and grippers get smooth with use. These factors can cause the quivered arrows to slip, thus exposing the blades. This can be dangerous and can also cost you a buck if one lets loose and rattles against the bow as you're drawing back for a shot. If your foam broadhead holder insert on your quiver has seen better days, replace it, And rough up the shaft grippers and then apply a non-slip compound such as Sure Grip, If the arrows are still prone to slipping loose, get a new quiver.

8. Rev Up the Rimfire

Some of you are gun hunters. Think of a .22 rimfire rifle and what probably comes to mind is squirrel hunting or the first rifle a youth is apt to be oriented to firearms safety and hunting with. Most of us progressed to centerfire rifles and shotguns by the time we reached young adulthood, and the petite .22 only gets dusted off for occasional squirrel hunting or pest control. In so doing, we're missing out on a golden opportunity of becoming better marksman, regardless of the caliber used. The .22 rimfire is the perfect rifle caliber to keep our shooting skills sharp. Sure, it's limited to maybe 75 yards and has no recoil, but all the factors necessary in accurately shooting a bigger caliber are present when shooting a .22 rifle. And best of all, the ammo is so economical you'll shoot more and more often.

Editor's Note: This was originally published in 2003.

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