How we’re preparing for hunting season heading into the summer

As the calendar turns over to summer and the sun starts beating down on us it’s easy to focus your energy on projects on the property to improve your time outdoors. With improving your hunting opportunities on your mind, there are a million things to do on your property to get it ready for hunting season.

Tree Stand Maintenance is a must for a safe hunt this year

Make sure all fittings are tight. All nuts and bolts need to be sealed tight. Especially with ladder-style stands, make sure they’re still level and secure to the tree. In areas prone to hurricanes and/or tornadoes, those high winds can twist your stands in trees. With our Hang Around stands this is not the case, but you still need to inspect the bubble level and all webbing. It is important to make corrections before using the stands. With the One Trip Process toolsthis is easy and safe.

Bubble Level on Heaven's Trail Tree Stand

What to look for?

RUST. When you see rust, you just don’t know how much degradation has taken place. Dispose of that stand before risking an injury. Most problems occur with webbing that has deteriorated, and there are no visible clues. There’s no telling how many people replace the straps. Our general rule of thumb is to replace your webbing every other year.

If your tree stands are in storage, make sure to look for signs that critters have been chewing on the webbing.

Prepping our Property for Food Plots

We're using the RTP Genesis No-Till drill for planting. As food plot rookies, we did a ton of research. You’ll eventually find all sorts of regenerative and sustainable agriculture articles once you start your research. Those articles will tend to reference things like soil health and erosion control benefits.  It’s an approach that is interesting to us and should allow us to feed our wildlife every day, all year long.

RTP Genesis No-Till Drill

That led us to Green Cover Seeds. We planted their Summer Release blend  in April and will plant their Fall Release in September. The people at Green Cover even helped us pick out some shade tolerant grasses for our new roads and orchard area. They’re great to email with and ask for help. And it may sound odd, but even paying their bills is easy with online bank transfer payments.  So here’s a seed company that’s willing to answer newbie food plot questions and is easy to pay. Which saves us both time and money!

Once we decided on a food plot strategy and the items required for that no-till strategy, it was time to get a suitable tractor for our needs. We ordered a new John Deere tractor last year but we still don't have it. John Deere can't even tell us if it's in production yet or not. Same story for a second Gator we ordered too. James River Equipment, our local John Deere dealer, has been fantastic and got us a loaner tractor to plant our summer plots.

So is it frustrating that we don’t have “our” tractor yet? You bet. But it’s a great real world example of why you choose to work with a reputable company. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. We had been through other side-by-side brands for several decades. While they may be more off-road capable than a Gator, getting them serviced and waiting on parts drove us crazy. Besides, now that we have our own place, we can maintain the roads. And nobody has an air conditioner like John Deere!

John Deere tractor on Heaven's Trail Property

We’ll begin sharing our food plot successes and failures, and how these food plots play a role in our tree stand placement strategies. Many of our brand followers are private landowners too. So the idea is to share the work and lifestyle behind preparing for a successful deer season. Much like a college football team has spring camp, then a summer camp to prepare for Fall games.

What type of food plot did you plant this year?

We chose a blend from Green Cover because we want our deer herd to have nutrition every single day of the year. If we planted just soybeans, or some other monoculture, we’d be limited. So a blend has many advantages. No-Till drilling has many advantages too!

At 1.6 mph, you can expect to plant about 8-10 acres in a day. Depends on how long you're in the tractor!

There are vast array tree stands and other hunting options on the market today (ground blinds, elevated box blinds, etc.). Just as varying are the heights of ladder stands and recommended tree stand height. So the question is, how high does your tree stands actually need to be?

Oftentimes 20 feet is the benchmark. This will get you up high enough for the optimal shot angle, and to be out of direct line of sight for any deer in the area.

Staying vigilant for nuisance animals

As our food plots start to take off we need to protect them from other critters that want an easy snack. In the Carolinas that means wild hogs. We’ve seen a few on the property and are putting together a plan for how to deal with them. Here are a few tips for identifying hogs on your property.

Wild pigs on Heaven's Trail property

Visually inspect your food plots.

There are several easy ways to identify hogs on your property. First look for areas where they are rooting and trampling soil looking for food. When you have identified a potential rooting area keep an eye out for their scat and tracks. Hogs also like to mud themselves in wallows often next to power poles. The Mississippi Division of Wildlife has an excellent article on recognizing wild hogs.

Talk to neighbors.

Reaching out to neighbors can be a great way to scout large areas for feral hogs. There is a good chance that if there are hogs on their property there are probably hogs on your property. Working together with your neighbors can also deter hogs from staying in your area.

Talk to delivery truck drivers.

Delivery drivers are on the roads in your area early morning and late at night when animals are most likely to be on the move. It’s worth a quick Q & A session to find out what they are seeing and where near your property. They might even help you identify deer movement patterns.

We all know hunting season will be here soon. Hopefully this inspires you to start thinking about the woods again. What’s the old saying, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity?”

Get after it!

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