By Joel Herrling | PUBLISHED July 1st, 2022
With the turkey decoys put away and the last out of little league games completed, summer is here. July not only brings Independence Day but hot weather and copious amounts of bugs while out in the woods preparing for the upcoming whitetail season. Despite not wanting to rush summer, I am eagerly looking forward to the fall while reminiscing about past hunting experiences. Recalling the joys of successful harvests or learning from mistakes that were made, there is an overabundance of information that I wish I knew as an aspiring hunter. Very few members of my family hunted so my brother and I were left unassisted as we set out.
The chores of prepping blinds, hanging stand sets and sighting in weapons can be a daunting undertaking but if you're fortunate to have some good friends or family to help, the tasks can be entertaining. Don’t try to do it all yourself, a second set of hands makes some jobs much easier. Hunters just starting out can gather lots of information if they tag along with an experienced outdoors person. Learning the how’s and why’s of hanging stands in certain locations can increase your odds of filling the freezer in the fall or tagging that shooter buck. Grab a buddy, make it a competition and go shoot some arrows for your summer practice sessions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, most seasoned hunters are willing to share almost all their knowledge, possibly omitting some minor details or secret honey holes. Maybe the only spot you can hunt is public land, finding someone to assist you in reading maps or possibly knowing the area can be beneficial to improving your knowledge. There is valuable information that can be gained by listening to various podcasts as well. Organizations such as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers offer hunting mentorships, which can be helpful. Try new techniques because even if they don’t work, you will have learned something.
Hunting is about learning and that’s part of the growing process.
Starting afoot on your hunting journey, remember that you don’t need to have the most expensive gear to be successful. Think of how many deer have been harvested with non-camouflage clothing, look no further than Dan Infalt. Success can be achieved without any prior trail camera photos or while only using a single shot shotgun. Heck, I shot my first deer with an old Remington 870 12 gauge. The same can be said if you want to start self-filming your hunts, you can get some great footage from just your smart phone and a simple tree arm.
If you're fortunate to have your own acreage to hunt, those food plots should have been already planted and get those trail cameras out in July to survey what the deer herd is like. One note to remember is that summer patterns can change for whitetails so don’t get discouraged or too excited based on this intel. Take the kids to the local ice cream stand and then drive around the neighborhood to do some glassing for velvet bucks. Bean fields and cool summer nights remind me of the joys of Christmas morning. Speaking of family time, make it a priority to get those to do items crossed off the list that you ignored in the fall and spring. Light up the bonfire, campfire s’mores and deer stories make everlasting memories.
Just remember that being prepared for the opportunity will increase the odds of your success in the whitetail woods this fall.