Sunday marked the day we sprang forward into daylight savings time. In the same fashion, we need to “SPRING” forward into our 2019 whitetail hunting season. Here is a list of five projects to move us into the fast lane for 2019 success.
Shed Hunting is more than just a fun activity. Yeah, it is a good time but the insights gained during a shed hunting expedition go a long way to improving your odds come hunting season.
The time frame in which we shed hunt is perfect for surveying the whitetail landscape. Beds, rubs, trails, and scrapes are all highly visible before the spring green up. Taking note of these will allow us to better understand how a buck is using the property in the fall. Shed hunting puts us right in the middle of a buck’s territory and offers details that are otherwise difficult to see.
Tree Stand Improvement
If you are like me, there always seems to be an opportunity to tweak your tree stand setups. I have two stands that have no cover once the leaves drop and thus became unusable in mid-November. This is something I plan to fix early in 2019.
Right now the trees mimic the landscape during the whitetail rut in November. It is easy to see which stands are good and those stands that either need moved or back cover added.
Kneel down to a deer’s height and look at prospective trees to see how much concealment it provides. Sometimes the perfect scenario isn’t provided by Mother Nature. In these instances, we have to adapt and add the cover needed to our setups. Grapevines and other branches can be built up to provide concealment to the hunter in an otherwise imperfect tree.
Now is the time to begin preparation of spring food plots. Nutrition is the number one key to whitetail health and our food plots are a great way to supplement a whitetail’s natural browse.
Frost seeding is an easy way to get a food plot started with little to no equipment needed. During March is a perfect time to implement frost seeding as the freeze and thaw effect is in full swing. Simply broadcast the seed onto the ground and let Mother Nature do the rest. The freezing and thawing of the ground will pull the seeds into the soil and allow them to germinate once the ground temperature rises. What could be simpler?
More traditional food plots can be tilled under at this time to prepare for spring planting. Tilling gets a bad rap because it dries out the soil. The cooler temperatures and spring weather do not allow the soil to dry out at this time of year. Fire up the tiller and get your ground worked now.
Entry and exit routes are key components of a winning whitetail strategy. The ability to move undetected is paramount to success when hunting whitetail deer. The late winter and early spring are a great time to blaze those trails.
Taking the time now to create your access is a good activity this time of year. Maybe it is taking a chain saw and creating access through a ditch or drainage. to allo you to slip in and out of the stand without alerting deer. Adding additional access for wind direction is another. Use the lack of foliage and clear deer sign to plan out how you will access your stand locations.
Now is also a good time to talk to those who farm the locations as well. Access is created and removed via crop rotations. A soybean field will offer little cover, but a standing cornfield creates access opportunity all on its own. Knowing what a farmer plans to grow in a particular field will help you during the early season with access routes.
Do not hang 100% of your access on that corn, it will be harvested at some point during the season. Look and plan for alternative avenues once the crops are off the fields.
Crop rotations, mast crops, predators, and hunting pressure all impact a given hunting property each season. If you are hunting smaller parcels, there is no guarantee that a mature buck will be present year to year. That is why seeking additional hunting opportunities is so important.
Begin now seeking out new locations to hunt. Do not wait until right before the season to decide you need another location. Being proactive, you can beat others to the property if the landowners
Scouting new properties during March and April will have little to no impact on the deer. Even if you bump a mature buck, he will have plenty of time to forget about the intrusion. Creating that same pressure in September changes things. Avoid the intrusion and seek new property now to increase your odds come fall.
The season may be months away but there is plenty to do to be prepared for the upcoming season. Follow these projects and you will be setting yourself up for success in 2019.