In two short months, archery season for deer will be kicking off. So what are you likely to find me doing out on the deer lease about now?
Nothing, that's what. It's too blasted hot for me to even consider hanging out on our club with the ticks and deer flies in this heat. You'll find me at the house under air conditioning sipping on a tall glass of iced tea watching the Outdoor Channel.
This is probably why my deer hunting exploits are nothing to brag about. I'm sort of like a football player who doesn't want to get out there and undergo conditioning in the heat of August, expecting to be ready by game day. He's not ready; I'm not ready. However, that is all due to change when – and if – we get rid of this horrid heat and drought.
Emile LeBlanc is DMAP coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. We visited with LeBlanc last week and the conversation turned to deer hunting and what hunters should be doing right now to prepare for the upcoming season.
"Right off the bat, I'd suggest that you get out on the lease and start looking around but just be sure you do it early in the mornings or very late in the afternoons. It's just too hot to be out in the thickets in the middle of the day," LeBlanc said.
"I'd start out by making the rounds of your stand locations. If you have box stands, you'll want to start checking them out for needed repairs or replacement. Of course, you'll want to be sure to have a can of wasp spray with you because likely, you'll find a nest or two in your stands.
"You need to have a feeling where the deer are this time of year in the heat of summer. They're not going to be in the thick cut-overs; the temperature in those thickets is likely to be several degrees warmer. If you want to find where deer are hanging out, look around the bigger woods where mature trees provide shade and temperatures a few degrees cooler."
What about supplemental feeding in the middle of summer? Is it advisable to feed or plant food plots this time of year?
"I'd suggest waiting until later to begin your supplemental feeding. For one thing, even with the heat and drought, there is some browse that deer can utilize. My suggestion is to expend your efforts toward habitat management fertilizing natural vegetation such as green briar and honeysuckle. You'll get more return for your efforts if you'll start out with this," said LeBlanc.
Is this a good time to begin trimming shooting lanes around your stands during summer when the deer won't be disturbed?
"It's too early. Cut them now and get a little rain and you're going to have to trim them again before hunting season. I usually wait until a few weeks before season opens to do my trimming. They won't grow back and any deer you disturb will have plenty of time to settle down before season opens," he added.
LeBlanc said that heat and drought put a good bit of stress on deer and this is a good time to be on the lookout for dead or sick deer.
"Under these conditions, diseases such as blue tongue take place. Check around your water sources and if some of your deer are infected, you're more likely to find them in these areas. If you see a dead or obviously sick deer, contact your area LDWF office and report what you find. They'll come out, take samples in an attempt to determine the extent of the outbreak."
LeBlanc's suggestions are for the serious hunter. As for me, hand me the remote, pass the iced tea and turn down the thermostat.....I'll see you in October.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.