Getting ready for deer season

By DAN GEDDINGS
Posted 8/11/19

I had just set the first post when Jim came driving up with his tractor loaded on the trailer and headed for home. He had been plowing some small food plot areas for another club member.

It was getting uncomfortably hot, but Jim got out and …

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Getting ready for deer season

Clayton Geddings checks out a deer stand before the season starts.
Clayton Geddings checks out a deer stand before the season starts.
DAN GEDDINGS / SPECIAL TO THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

I had just set the first post when Jim came driving up with his tractor loaded on the trailer and headed for home. He had been plowing some small food plot areas for another club member.

It was getting uncomfortably hot, but Jim got out and pitched in to help with the post at the new gate. We back filled each post with some dry, ready-mix concrete, then loose dirt. I checked the post with a level, and Jim packed the dirt around the post with an old shovel handle. We set the four new posts, then called it quits.

Like lots of other hunters and hunting clubs, we start getting ready for the upcoming deer season in the late summer. The existing gate had been damaged during an early spring logging operation, and a temporary chain had been rigged across the road. Now we were fixing a more permanent closure on the access road to this tract of land.

There are lots of things to do on a hunting property. Maintaining a road network is very important. Most individual hunters and hunting clubs will wait until August to bush hog access roads that grow tall with weeds throughout the summer months. This late in the summer the weeds won't have time to come back, and the grasses will not get too high before cool weather starts.

Roads and trails that have been mowed will allow hunters good visibility of the ground while traveling to and from stand sites on foot. Snakes are active in this part of the world until cold weather comes, and nobody wants to step on a snake.

Bush hogging also knocks back the brush and small volunteer tree saplings that would encroach on the roadsides with overhanging branches, making travel difficult. And, it makes the property look better and appear more well kept.

New hunting stands are set up now, and existing stands need to be maintained. One of my new stands needs a shooting lane trimmed. I will use a limb saw to cut some of the branches back that block my view. I'll climb into the stand and determine which limbs need to be cut. You can't tell from the ground which ones need trimming. Sitting in the stand, I can get a better perspective. It also helps if you have someone on the ground to do the cutting while you supervise.

Corn is another consideration. I haven't put any corn out yet but will soon. Corn piles are doe magnets and will attract deer better than anything else. Bucks will seldom come to a corn pile in daylight hours but will check the general area, especially during the rut.

Winter food plots can be sprayed now with an herbicide if overgrown with weeds, dog fennel and grass. Everything needs to be dead and brown and needs to be cut back so it can be top-seeded with a throw and grow type winter seed mix or planted the traditional way with tillage. It depends on the location and the size of the plot.

Most work days never run more than a half day and with afternoon rain showers threatening will usually get called to a halt early. It gives hunters time to wind down and have a little fellowship after the work is done. Work days are a good time for club members to get together as a group and get to know each other better.

All the work can't get done in a day, especially when it's so hot outside. We'll try again another day. We like getting ready.

Reach Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com.