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STRAIGHT ARROW: Prepare now for the 2014 deer season

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Straight Arrow

By Gene Culver

With deer season just closing last week, you would expect some downtime from thinking about deer and deer hunting, but for Eric and me, we just start the New Year preparing for the 2014 season.

The first thing we have to get done will be to go over all the roads and clear several trees that have been blown down during some of the storms we have had this winter.

Next we will start checking all our lock-on treestands. We go through and loosen the chains on the stands and climbing sticks to make sure they are not growing into the tree and to allow the tree to grow without breaking the chalks. We will also take some stands down that have not been used or productive and move them to spots that we feel will be more effective.

Eric and I both have kept notes of anything that we needed to do at each stand as we hunted them, from making a seat more comfortable to trimming a few limbs to give us a better shooting lane, or adding a bow holder.

Winter is also the best time of year to get into the woods and look for deer signs. Deer trails, scrapes, rubs and beds are easier to see with the leaves off of the trees and under brush, and it is easier to see the lines of travel over a farther distance, which can help in picking a better treestand site.

It’s always exciting when you start finding rubs on trees that are 15 or more inches around and when you can see several of these big rubs in a line, you know a really good buck was using this area. This is the type of area we will keep an eye on. When we decide to put up a stand in one of these new spots, we also clear our shooting lanes at the same time. This way, we won’t have to disturb anything around the stand as season approaches.

This year we also want to get a bulldozer in to do a little more clearing to connect two small food plots together, which will give us about a three-acre food plot. We are also going to put an elevated box blind on this field for my granddaughters, Hannah and Lilly, to hunt from as they want to. We also would like to do some timber management on this property to create about a 15-acre thicket on the up-wind side of this field.

This is also a good time to take soil samples and add lime, if needed, so it has time to work into the soil. The soil samples will also let you know how much fertilizer to add later on.

We also have to decide what to put in our food plots, and in March we will put out Trophy Rocks and another mineral mix that we prepare ourselves. We put one mineral lick out for every 50 acres. We will also refresh these mineral licks again in June or July to ensure that the bucks have the minerals to grow antlers and to help the does stay healthy while they are raising their fawns.

Now is the best time to prepare for the 2014 season.

 

Local archer and outdoorsman Gene Culver operates the Bent Arrow Archery Shop (www.bentarrowarchery.com) with his wife, Bonnie. Contact them at 549-8119 with questions.