Sometimes great expectations can lead to great disappointments and over the years I've learned the hard way that going into a hunting season with great expectations can quickly put you in the wrong frame of mind. This year I'm learning that going into the summer off season with lofty expectations can also quickly lead you down a path towards disappointment.

The past few seasons we have been lucky enough to get the cameras on good bucks early in the spring and summer and have managed to stay on them all summer long. Going into this summer there was an expectation that the same thing would happen again this year and it was almost a feeling of "when" as opposed to "if" in terms of finding that first good buck of the year. Unfortunately the reality is that we don't hunt on a deer farm and finding (and staying on good bucks) is as much luck as it is skill. The last few years we've been lucky and our skill in knowing our area has allowed us to stay on top of some good bucks, this year it looks as though the odds are evening out a bit on us.

We've got a few things working against us this year in terms of getting our cam's in the right place. The biggest thing working against is the transformation of about 40 acres of pasture into a farm field. We know that this change is actually a blessing but currently it is a bit of a hurdle for us. This transition will benefit us greatly in the long run but right now it is changing the deer patterns on our property and we are still trying to figure the new patterns out.

In addition to that change our Plateau Plot did not come up very well this year and hasn't been the draw that it usually is. In years past it has been our main picture location this time of year but this year it has been quite a bit slower than normal. While it is hurting our picture count we aren't worried about it long term as we know the new field is providing plenty of food right now and soon we will have the plot replanted and ready to go for fall which is obviously its main purpose.


When you combine the new food source, our lackluster food plot and the fact that we have yet to put out all our cameras it is no surprise that our results so far aren't what we were hoping for but you can also see that our biggest challenges aren't really challenges at all. It's hard to be too worried about the addition of more food or a bad spring planting in a fall food plot. If these "challenges" are the biggest hardships we have this season than I would say we are in for a pretty good year.

While it's pretty easy to let this slow start to the summer get me down it's just as easy to look past the lack of bucks and find plenty of other stuff to be excited about:

- Our plot screen (and divider) has been planted and the recent bevy of rains has me thinking it should be off to a good start.

- In addition to the pasture being turned to farm field we are also fencing off 30 acres of woods along the river, these changes will provide us with some great new stand locations free of interference from the cows.

- The apple trees on our property appear to be loaded up with apples this year and that should bring some good action to stands that were pretty slow last year.

- In the next month we will be replanting the Plateau Plot as well as one of our small kill plots and this fall should be a lot of fun with these food sources in good shape.


I like having high expectations because it keeps us working towards our goal but I sometimes need to remind myself that there needs to be a bit of a give and take when measuring our success against those high expectations. When expectations are high it may take more than one or two tries (or in this case more than one or two trail camera checks) to begin to realize our goals. I sometimes forget that while we may not have reached our end goal in those first few tries, we're still making strides towards our goals and those accomplishments should be enjoyed as well.

We'll be checking our camera's again this weekend and my whole outlook can change in a flash if the right few pictures show up on the screen. I guess that's the blessing and the curse of this time of year, so much can change before the season begins.

Take care, and thanks for reading.