Maintaining a monthly checklist of deer chores can significantly enhance your preparedness and success in the hunting season. By breaking down tasks into manageable steps and consistently chipping away at them, you can stay ahead of the game. Whether you're hunting on public or private land, this methodical approach will put you on the path to a fruitful fall season.

The Importance of Consistent Scouting
One of the key strategies is to regularly scout both public and private lands. This involves looking for signs of deer activity, such as old rubs, scrapes, and other historical markers. On public land, focus on fall hotspots like habitat funnels, inside corners of swamps, and areas around wetlands. By identifying these areas and understanding the reasons why deer should be there, you can increase your chances of success. Importantly, take small, consistent steps rather than attempting to do everything in one go. This approach provides fresh perspectives each time you scout, helping you to stay on top of deer movements.
Learning from Failures
An essential part of preparation is learning from both your own and others' failures. Engaging with experienced hunters and understanding their successes and mistakes can offer valuable insights. This learning process can help you avoid common pitfalls and refine your strategies.
Avoiding Over-reliance on Summer Cell Cameras
A common mistake is placing too much reliance on summer cell camera data. While REVEAL cameras provide powerful insights and can indicate the presence of deer, their habitats change significantly from summer to fall. Mature bucks, in particular, will often be found in entirely different areas as the seasons change. During summer, bucks seek cool, open hardwood areas, whereas in fall, they prefer thick cover that can protect their hardened antlers. Therefore, summer cell cam photos can be misleading when planning your fall hunts. Instead, focus on historical signs and habitat features that will attract deer in the fall.
Misguided Summertime Buck Bedding Scouting
Scouting for buck beds during the summer can also be misleading. The habitat deer use in summer is different from what they use in fall. For instance, in areas like the Shawnee National Forest, focusing on where bucks are bedding in summer won’t necessarily help you in the fall. Exceptions exist, such as small hardwood patches in agricultural areas, but these are rare. Generally, summer bedding areas do not correlate with fall bedding areas.
Choosing the Right Summer Soil Builders
When it comes to preparing food plots, be cautious of summer soil builder mixes that contain a large variety of seeds. These mixes often do not perform as advertised because not all seeds will grow effectively in every area of the plot. Instead, opt for a mix with fewer, but more effective, components like buckwheat, tilled radish, and medium red clover. These provide fine organic matter that can be easily tilled under to improve soil quality for fall planting. Avoid mixes with high organic matter plants like sorghum, which take years to break down and can deplete soil nutrients.
By adhering to a monthly checklist, consistently scouting, learning from failures, using cell cameras wisely, and choosing the right soil builders, you can enhance your hunting success. Stay focused on productive tasks and avoid common pitfalls to ensure you’re well-prepared for the hunting season.
Article Credit: Information sourced from Jeff Sturgis of Whitetail Habitat Solutions