Whitetail Weekly, The Final Push

Last week my wife sent me an electronic calendar that she had created showing all the things we have scheduled for August, September and October.  Apparently my personal life is trying to compete with my hunting life because despite all the final prep work I want to get done on the property the calendar showed no open weekends in August or September and not even a good chance for a day trip until the middle of September.  Looks like I may have to get creative in order to get my tasks done and get through the final push of the off season.

The mid/late July through late August time frame is generally a very busy time for us as we make the push towards hunting season.  By the time we hit September we would ideally like to have all of our property work, fall plantings and stand inspections completed so that we can minimize our intrusion heading into the season.  While we have gotten much of our work done so far this year the hectic personal schedule that lies ahead means we likely won’t meet our “done by September” goals this year.

Mowing this trail in will help funnel deer to our food plot.

We hit the ground running back in late July when I took a day trip to the property to check the trail cameras and mow in one of our regular paths.   Then the following weekend (the last weekend in July) I mowed and tilled our largest food plot to prep it for planting.  The day after I tilled the plot I planted and fertilized half of it with a mix of purple top turnips, clover, wheat and rye.  That same day I also managed to plant one of our small kill plots that we had been working on all summer as well.  It was planted with a seed blend similar to our big plot in the hopes of it becoming a perennial clover plot for us starting next year.

We only had 3 area’s to plant this fall (the two halves of the large plot and the one small kill plot) and on the morning of August 4th we were able to get the remaining half of our larger plot planted to wrap up our fall plot work.  This half of the plot was planted with a blend of peas, brassicas, clover and wheat and was also fertilized at the time of planting.
We are always excited about getting our plots put in but the excitement level was a bit higher than normal this year.  This is really the first year we’ve planted our entire large plot and we are anxious not only to see how it does but also to see how the deer respond to having this good food source available.  Last year we only had about half of the plot planted and the deer really hit it hard, hopefully this year the deer activity will be even better.

This half of our larger plot was planted first, followed one week later by the other half of the plot.

Another point of excitement for us was having our Fenceline Plot (the small kill plot I planted) back up and running again.  We basically threw in the towel on this plot last year after a few years of it being a lousy stand of alfalfa.

Last year we started spraying the plot late summer to start the process of killing off the weeds that had taken it over.  We followed those sprayings up with a few more this summer and are hoping that the clover planted this fall (along with what we frost seed in the spring) will take off next spring and turn this back into a good plot for us.

This plot should be a hot spot now with the former pasture it sits next to recently becoming farm field.  The addition of the large agricultural field should set this plot up to be a pretty good staging area as deer work towards the larger field and we are hoping to have some good hunts over this plot this fall.

While it is very exciting to have our planting done there are still quite a few things left on the “to-do” list and with every passing day it is becoming harder and harder to get them all done in time.  It is nothing new to have a few unfinished tasks when the season rolls around but usually those unfinished tasks are projects that fall into the “it would be nice if we were able to do this” list as opposed to mandatory pre-season projects.

This year there are still a few mandatory tasks left on the list and to make matters worse they happen to be tasks that create a decent of amount of intrusion.  They are definitely not the ideal tasks to be pushing back towards September but that is exactly what’s happening now.

Carving walking path's through area's like this is never fun but it's a necessary task every summer for us.

We need to carve out another one of our main walking paths which cuts through some pretty thick grasses and cover.  The deer actually use the path quite a bit once we carve it in and judging by the trail camera pictures and the stand sightings it certainly doesn’t seem to bother them once it’s there but making environment changes of this caliber close to the season always makes me a bit nervous.

Another project we have left on the list is the annual stand inspection.  This is something we do every year before season and if you don’t do this you should add it to your list.  Checking every one of our stand locations before we hunt them is an absolute must in my book.  I like to check them for any signs of wear and tear on both the stand itself as well as the straps holding the stand in place.  I also re-set every strap as well just to make sure that nothing has shifted or anything over the winter.  Doing this also prevents the tree from growing around your strap and putting any unnecessary stress or strain on your straps.

I also take this time to check the condition of the bow hoist rope and any other hooks or hangers that may have been left in the tree over the winter and also to trim any small branches that may have grown into a shooting lane over the summer.  It is way better to do all of this stuff now than it is to try and do it as you are climbing into the stand for the first hunt of the year.  Getting this work done ahead of time could save your hunt, or even your life, at the moment of truth.

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down and fall is right around the corner but it’s not hard to believe that I have once again put myself behind the 8-ball in terms of getting my tasks accomplished on time.

I think if you went back to the past few Augusts and looked at past entries you’d find one or two with this same theme.  You’d think I would learn from my mistakes year after year but heck, what fun would that be right?
Take care, and thanks for reading.

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