Summer is the perfect time to find that trophy buck! You can’t wait for deer season to get here to start scouting. The most successful hunters scout all year long, but especially during those hot summer months leading up to opening day. If you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t know where to hunt!
I know what you’re thinking, “Deer hunting is supposed to be fun.” Right? And, yes deer hunting is fun, but you get out of it what you put into it! Successful deer hunting takes work. Yes, you can go out there and just wing it, hoping that monster buck will come your way. But, how has that been working out for you? Do you have that buck of a lifetime hanging on your wall? I mean, it is possible; some people do get lucky. But in reality, it’s not likely!
So, what do you need to do to improve your chances of getting that big buck? Here are my top tips for summer scouting:
- Put out food plots. Try to plant a wide variety of greens and grains and plant at different times in order to keep food sources plentiful throughout the season. If you don’t have a place to create a food plot, consider investing in a feeder.
- Create a mineral lick. Here’s what I like to use: combine 1 part rock salt, 2 parts trace mineral salt, and 1 part di-calcium phosphate. This is a recipe that was passed on to me from someone else and I have found it to be very successful! Do not mix ingredients until ready to use. You want to dig a loose hole in the ground and then mix the minerals with the soil. I also like to place minerals on an old stump or log. In order to help the deer find the minerals quicker, I will sometimes dump corn or apples over the mineral lick site. Keep in mind, hunting over mineral licks or baited areas is illegal in some states!! Check the laws and regulations for baiting in the area you live in!!
- Now that you have located or created food sources, it is time to get your trail cameras out. (You can read more about my summer trail camera tips at https://doeandarrowhunting.com/summer-trail-camera-tips/. Be careful not to check your cameras too often, as deer do not move as much during the hot summer months. I check mine every 2 weeks.
- Trail cameras are great, but they can’t catch everything. You need to get out there. Grab your binoculars and spend some time just watching the deer activity. I don’t know about you, but I never get tired of watching deer.
- Don’t just look, get out and walk around. This is the only way you’re going to find all the signs you need to be looking for. Look for bedding areas, scrapes, rubs, and heavily traveled trails. These signs will help give you a good idea where to hang your stands.
- If you don’t have your stands out, put them up now. You don’t want to spook the deer once season has begun. If you’ve done your homework, you know where to hang them. So get out there and get it done.
Yes, there is work involved in scouting. But, hey some of it is actually fun. Who doesn’t love to watch young fawns running and bucking around in the summer months? And, even better is watching the bucks grow their antlers, shed their velvet, and turn into that buck of a lifetime! So, do your homework and put some time and effort into it. Who knows? It just may be the best hunting investment you’ll ever make!