Dog Days Prep WorkJuly 16th, 2012 by MUCC Staff.
Well it’s officially here, that hot, sticky time of year when it can be downright oppressive to be outside let alone working. But, if you constantly have whitetails and hunting on the brain, it’s the time of the year to start doing your homework (and I don’t mean from your air conditioned house). Now that leaves are completely on the trees and most of the vegetation that you’ll find in late September/early October is there, it’s time to start cleaning out your treestands.
Many hunters in Michigan choose to wait till a week or so before the season to start prep work on their early season setups. Bucks have recently shed their velvet and their hormones are already starting to kick into gear for the upcoming rut. This is not the time to be spooking them and giving them an excuse to leave your property. So, the solution is to get it done right now. Bribe your hunting buddy to hit the woods with you and work together to get lanes cleared out now.
When I head out to prune treestands, I take along a couple things. First and foremost is a climbing harness and safety line. While hanging out to clip that one last limb in the way, I want to be securely fastened to the tree. Second, I never go without an extendable tree pruner. They make it simple to clip and saw branches so you don’t have to climb a tree the size of your forearm and risk life and limb (pun intended). I’ll usually bring along a small set of clippers for small branches that I can reach from the ground or even small brush. I also throw in my range finder so that I can make sure everything within range is taken care of. I might bring along a backpack sprayer as well.
After setting a treestand, I’ll have a friend move around on the ground where I expect deer to be moving. I’ll make sure those areas offer good shooting lanes. Then I’ll have him move to areas that deer might possibly be. I may not trim these areas depending on how much cover I expect to remain after the leaves fall. I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb during the rut. If there’s a trail that skirts just beyond shooting range, I often look for a way to divert the path of the deer to move them closer to me. Sometimes that means moving some sticks and downed trees to block a trail to direct them nearer to the treestand. Sometimes it’s as simple as spraying a narrow path through weeds so that eventually there’s an obvious path of least resistance for the deer to see.
Although it can be a pain to work in the heat to set stands and clear lanes, you’ll be thankful in the fall when you climb into a stand that hasn’t been tampered with in several months. Be sure to recheck your straps and safety devices before climbing into a stand. You want to make sure a squirrel hasn’t decided to snack on your treestand strap.
A little work now may just result in a better hunting experience later.