Tree Stands, Trail Cams, Early Season Plans

Well, the title says it all. The last two weekends have been filled with¬†setting up hang on tree stands and checking trail cameras. A couple of those trail camera checks have allowed me to figure out who the top bucks are on each property and how I might be able to hunt for them during the first few days of the season. After the opener of bow season, which is October 1, I will be backing off both hunting properties until the last week of October. It’s either early season success or hope for good fortune during the rut.


Lee is a four and a half year old buck I first got photos of during the summer of 2015. He went from a nice heavy racked 8 point to a great looking 10 point with a split/kicker off his right G2. He shows up about once a week on trail cameras which has allowed me to track his growth over the summer. He’s the biggest buck I have on cameras this year and is my #1 target. The problem is, last year right around mid September, he disappeared from the property I hunt and didn’t show back up until mid December. Hopefully I can catch him early otherwise I’ll have to hope for a rut crazed encounter sometime in November.

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The Set Up For Lee

A few weeks ago I placed a camera on a run located on top of a ridge that I thought Lee was using when I’d get photos of him at a mineral site. I almost couldn’t believe it when I viewed the photos last week of him using that run on corresponding days to the mineral site sightings. He uses it with a north wind which makes perfect sense. Up on that ridge with a north wind, he travels just along the downwind edge of a bedding area and crosses through a decent pinch point (steep valley on one side, open field on the other). If there is a northwest wind during the first week of bow season, that is where I’ll be. Ideally I could sneak in from the neighbors property but I have yet to ask for permission. I need to get on that!


Plan “B”

Plan “B” means I’ll be hunting on the other property I have permission to hunt. There are a few decent bucks around but only one of them has really caught my eye this summer. He’s a solid 3.5 year old 8 point and would be comparable to the buck I shot last year. I’d be ecstatic to have an encounter with this buck, especially during the early season.


I haven’t moved cameras off mineral sites on this property yet but intend on doing so next weekend. The plan for now is a bit simpler but involves the history of last years pictures. In 2015, three shooter bucks all walked in front of this one tree stand in daylight during the first week of October. In front of this tree stand, there are several stumps with thick, woody stemmed shoots coming out of each stump and deer aggressively browse on those stumps during the early season. I’ve also tried to sweeten the spot up with a small “kill” plot consisting of brassicas, oats, and rye. I’ll let my cameras do the work for me this year but I’ll check them just prior to opening day. Last year I thought this spot was going to be a great rut spot. Turns out it sucked during the rut and I should have been hunting there opening day.

Besides moving cameras next weekend, all the work is done on this property. This weekend my wife and I plan on moving the last two stands on the other property where we will hunt for Lee. Once that is complete, both properties will be all set and will be allowed to rest until opening weekend. The only intrusion these properties will have is a trail camera check right before or while it is raining on a mid September day.

Feels good having the whitetail chores almost completely done so early this year. Good thing too as there’s only three weeks until I go on a Montana elk hunt for 10 days! It’s been a great summer but I am ready for fall and what I hope to be the most epic hunting season of my life to date! Pumped. Jacked. Stoked.

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