Early Summer Whitetails…What Shouldn’t I be doing?
For many of you die hard whitetail hunters there is an itch that you feel right now. An itch that, you so very much, would like to scratch. Turkey season is over, you have already drowned several dozen nightcrawlers, the green fields are growing, and the bucks are also! You are itching to get out onto your farms and get to work on the upcoming hunting season. There are some do-s and don’ts that you should follow before scratching too hard this time of year.
DO: Glass your hunting areas from a distance. Mid-June through early July is a great time to catch a glimpse of some mature bucks using your hunting property. Keep your distance though. Just use your spotting scope or binoculars and scout from the road or a low impact parking spot. I prefer to stay within the confines of a pickup truck. If a truck or UTV won’t get to the spot you want to go then you probably don’t need to be in there. These low pressure recon trips will help you to identify trail camera locations in the near future.
DON’T: Set your trail cameras up yet. I see people all over the internet talking about setting up and checking their trail cameras already. Why? You can barely tell what that buck is or will be yet. All you are doing right now is educating the bucks as to where your camera set ups are located. You are also pushing deer around your farm on your visits and making them re-think their decision to spend their summer vacation on your property. There is plenty of time in the upcoming months to get some great pictures so don’t blow it now. I would wait until mid-July before getting serious about your cameras. By then your bucks will be in advanced stages of development and ready to show you who they are!
SHOULD HAVE: Already planted new food plots or mowed existing clover plots. If you haven’t there is still a small window to do both. If you are planting a food plot at this stage in the summer I would stick to beans. They like the heat and will produce a good food source yet this summer. If you haven’t mowed your clover yet I would do so as soon as it is dry enough for your equipment. In most of the Midwest we have had large amounts of rain. This moisture has produced massive growth in green fields. Until the rain shuts off it will continue to be safe to mow. This extra moisture has also encouraged grass and weed growth in your plots as well. You may want to consider a herbicide treatment for your plots to get this unwanted vegetation subdued.
The key to this time of year is to just let the deer get comfortable. They are on your farm for a reason right now and will likely spend the rest of the summer there. If you put too much pressure on a mature buck right now, he will likely relocate somewhere else. If that happens you also run the risk of him staying in his new home come hunting season. So, grab some more worms and something cold to drink; the summer has just started for you and the deer. RELAX!
Corey J. Wilkinson
Last Updated: June 15th, 2023