AUBURN, Ala.- It is almost that time of year again, the one that hunters have been waiting for — hunting season. With cooler weather creeping in, it is time to prepare your land. Shooting your bow and sighting in your gun can get you ready and excited for the season. But, there is more to do. Here are just a few preparations to help you have an unforgettable hunting season.
Preparing the Food Plot
August to October is the best time to plant cool season food plots. Providing deer with a supplemental food source during the winter can be beneficial to herd health and improve your hunting experience. When deciding where to plant your food plots, be creative and strategic. Hunters should take into account bedding areas and travel corridors when looking for a location to plant.
Jordan Graves, a wildlife biologist with Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says one to two acre, irregular shaped food plots scattered around the property are the best kind of food plots for deer. Square food plots are not ideal but can still work. When it comes down to what to plant, there are a large variety of options for cool season plots. Deciding factors include soil type and topography, as well as your budget and available equipment.
When deciding where to put up your hunting stand, ask yourself one question — what do I want to achieve? It is wise to place stands near food sources located around the bedding areas because deer are weary about exposing themselves. Travel corridors such as creeks, rivers and hardwood bottoms are key stand sights as well. In these areas, you can intercept the deer between their food and bedding. Deer are cautious of scent, which is why you need to base your stand location away from the prevailing wind. You may even choose to place a stand in a dense forest. That is, if you want to catch a weary old buck slipping through to his favorite white oak patch.
Be sure to use trail cameras to see what deer you have on your property, and pattern their movements. When looking for the perfect spot for a camera, look for clues like scrapes and rubs on trees from whitetail bucks. Food plots are also a good area for cameras. This will help you see what deer are using your supplemental food source, and how often they are coming to it. If you have several cameras around your property, you can observe the patterns of the deer. Cameras also help you identify individual bucks on your property based on their antler characteristics.
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