I walked west under the canopy of the forest trees on a hot day in mid-August to check a camera near a stand I had set earlier this summer.
It had been about a month since I last visited this location, so I had high hopes for what might be on that memory card. Instead of a lot of deer, I encountered an entirely different world the closer I got to my stand.
A storm with huge winds had come through the area a couple of weeks earlier. I knew trees had been blown over in some of the surrounding towns, but I figured I would be in the clear down on the bottom of these ridges. I was wrong.
Trees big and small had been uprooted. Many had fallen over the trails that I had set my stand over, which meant I had work to do. Three hours later with chainsaw in hand, I started cutting.
The work to prepare for deer season can be hot and buggy, but it’s important to get out one last time to check on things before the season opens up. That’s less than two weeks away now for bow hunters, so the time is ticking.
I went to all my stands and found that three of them needed some clearing after that storm. I walked the trails and fired up the Stihl every time a branch was in the way.
Once it was done, the deer had a clear path past me again if they follow the script. They already seldom do that, so the last thing I wanted was for some fallen timber to shift their patterns away from me.
It’s been part of a busy offseason for me as I prepare for the season. Permit Area 213 moving to a management zone where hunters can now take two deer has opened up new doors. I’ll be doing some deer hunting around here for the first time since I moved to Alexandria in 2007.
That’s meant asking landowners for permission to hunt. I was fortunate enough to gain access to some new land, so this last month has featured a lot of map studies and walking to try to learn the land the best I can before September.
I actually love the preparation part of hunting almost as much as the hunt itself.
I’ve started recording the weather for each day this past month. Temperatures and wind directions — I want to use this information with my game cameras to see when any nice bucks I get on camera are moving past my stands.
I’m most interested in seeing if there are any patterns on what winds they are moving with when they come past. We’ll see if it actually helps me this fall. If nothing else, it helps pass the days until opener.
That day felt far away when I was cutting trees in near 90 degrees in August. Last Friday, I stepped outside to temperatures in the mid-50s at 7 a.m. Every hunter loves the feeling of those first brisk mornings that signal the coming of fall.
It’s almost here. Only 10 days left to get out, check on stands and fine-tune some things before we’re in a tree on Sept. 17.