With July around the corner, there are some great opportunities to find your next buck. Continuing my year around approach series of articles, here are 5 tips for July that will help you consistently kill big whitetail bucks:
- Summer Glassing!
There’s no better time than July to start locating your next buck. July means antler development is well under way and bucks will be closer to their peak so you’ll be able to tell what they’ll be come fall. Low testosterone levels means they’re tolerable of other bucks and more tolerable of human presence. Bucks are often in bachelor groups now and this month they’ll be more visible than probably any other month of the year. Drive around your hunting areas and glass. Setup on specific fields with a spotting scope and good binoculars (we like Vortex Optics by the way). Soybeans are usually the best places to find them right now, but depending on the age of an alfalfa field, those can be good too.
- Trail Cameras
If you practiced with your equipment in June, now’s the time to start placing a few cameras to take inventory. Set them up over mineral or key trails. Keep them away from places you might hunt. I like to really hide mine, not just for security reasons, but because if the buck can’t see it, it won’t affect him nearly as much. Set them up and check them during a rain. Hang them high on a tree so any observable flash isn’t as obvious to the deer.
- Keep Practicing
You’ve been exercising, getting your back and other muscles stronger. Keep flinging arrows! Add variety to your practice by shooting different species of targets. Try ultra long range shots. As hunting season approaches, I’ll get more realistic with my practice scenarios but July’s a good time to just get reps. Make them quality, but keep it fun!
- Keep Your Eyes & Ears Open
Just because things are green and I don’t scout the woods much at all this time of year, doesn’t mean I’m not still looking for my next hotspot. I had a business conversation the other day with a guy and it quickly led to talk of hunting big bucks. Next thing I knew, I had some leads on a few hotspots to check into. I won’t go dive into the woods there right now, but I did march home and start looking them over on Google Earth Pro (it’s free now so download it if you don’t have it already!). Bottom line, a big buck hunter always has his “ears on” and listens for opportunities to find his next buck, regardless of the time of year.
- Film Your Scouting!
But not just because it’s cool or you want to sell your stinking footage…it’s a tool! Documenting the bucks you glass on film creates a record you can log and refer back to. Trust me, if you do it enough, days and sightings will run together after a while. You should be making verbal notes into your camera as you film things. Take note of the weather, where a buck came out, where he exited, what other bucks he’s with, what the status of the crops is, how you accessed this, what you saw, spooked, etc etc etc. Study the antler and body characteristics of each buck closely so that you can easily recognize him later. If you see a buck you like and are able to go study his track he made, this can prove invaluable later on.
- Bonus Tip: Food Plots
If you’re into food plotting, July’s a good month to plant certain things. Frigid Forage make a plot screen and Big & Beasty and both are good to plant in July!
Mistakes to Avoid in July
Don’t make the mistake most guys make of thinking that the bucks you see this month are going to be there come fall. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that has a thousand acres locked up and the deer are undisturbed and they’ll stay right there. That’s not my reality and it’s probably not yours. These deer will be completely different when their food sources and hormones change in a couple months. So resist the temptation to go hang your stand where that 160 just walked out in the beans. There’ll be a time and a place for that. Stay tuned for my tips in later months for more on the transition that will take place.
Good luck glassing your next buck! I’d love to hear comments below what you do in July to work towards that next buck!