One of the saddest times of the year is the moment you realize that late January is upon us and deer season will be ending. A state of depression is the best way to explain it, as you will be longing to get back into the tree stand with your bow come September. It doesn’t have to be all negative, and there are many things you can do to keep yourself occupied during the off-season. While it may not be as good as deer hunting, at least you can stay proactive and prepare for the next season.
Using your time wisely between the end of deer season and the beginning of deer season will help you to be a more successful hunter. The time span between the season is almost eight months in most states, and during that time you can be prepping your land and getting ready for the next season. In every sport, success is made during the preseason and the off-season, deer season is no different. Taking the time to prepare in the off-season will hopefully lead to big bucks in November.
First and foremost, one of the best ways to spend the off-season is shed hunting. Going out there right after the season ends and collecting those monster racks is a fun and exciting way to track the progress of the deer on your lease or in the area. It is relatively easy to do, and it allows you to go around and see what bucks may have survived the season.
Also, it’s a great way to work with your dog as well. Many retrievers and hounds can be used for shed hunting during the off-season. Not only does this allow you to get better with your dog, but it gives man’s best friend a good off-season workout as well. Either way, it puts you back outside, and it’s a fun practice to watch young bucks grow. Keeping the sheds is a unique way to follow a deer’s growth, from a young buck to time you harvest them, and they are mounted on your wall.
Maybe last seasons property lacked the mature bucks that you were looking for. Either way with this season being over you can start looking for new leases. The first things a hunter must do is consider the leases he or she may have, and if they A. Want to keep the lease, or B. Get a new one. If you like the lease you have, then you should start looking at ways to better your hunting property, so you are making a deer friendly habitat that will produce large bucks.
The other hunters who are looking for a new lease can use many different social media and internet platforms to find a lease. Some of the best ways to find a lease are through Facebook. Joining local hunting groups or state-wide hunting groups on Facebook will allow you to connect with other hunters or landowners that are looking to lease new property. Facebook allows the hunting community to connect with one another, and it is an excellent tool to use when trying to find new hunting property.
Often landowners or clubs will put ads out on craigslist as well. One of the easiest ways though is to go up to a farmer or landowner and ask. The land may not be hunted, and some landowners are willing to allow hunters to hunt their property. It doesn’t hurt to ask, as you may find yourself a new big buck producing property.
Managing Your Property
The best thing any hunter can do for themselves is to start prepping your property for the season. One of the most critical things you can do is starting to plant food plots in the early spring. A food plot is a great way to attract more deer to your property. So, getting out and planting a small green plot is going to increase the number of deer. Starting out a good food plot that should consist of soybeans or lablab.
These are some of the best crops to plant in your food plot, but you want to be sure to plant enough to survive up until hunting season or find a way to cordon off your food plots, so the deer don’t destroy it before the season even starts. It is also a good time to put out some mineral rocks. They can help deer herds grow, but you should check to see if it is legal in your state before putting a mineral rock or supplement out.
Another thing you might want to consider is trying your hand at predator hunting. Predators can be a major nuisance to any hunter, and in many states, they can be hunted year long. Often times predators will target fawns and yearlings as easy prey which can have damaging effects on your property. It also allows you to get back into the woods and do a little hunting in the downtime.
The spring offers beautiful weather and the perfect time to get out and do regular yearly maintenance on your tree stands and blinds. Safety is key when hunting and making sure that your tree stands are in tip-top shape before the season starts can save you major headaches later. You don’t want to be heading out to your stand on opening day to find that it is in shambles. Instead, you should take the time in the spring to do regular maintenance on your stand. Also, it’s a good time to cut shooting lanes, removing the branches now will save time come fall.
You don’t have to let January be the end of your deer season. There are many things that you can do while you patiently wait for deer season to come back in. If you take the right steps, they will most likely help you to have an even better deer season then last years. All the preparation and time you take in the spring and summer will pay off come November.