This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
>>DANIEL: It’s midsummer and deer season is gonna be here before we know it. It’s the perfect time to be in the woods preparing for fall.
>>DANIEL: This morning we’re at one of our favorite hunting locations. And I want to take a second just to kind of break down the features of why this is such a great hunting location, especially during the pre-rut.
>>DANIEL: I’m standing on the edge of an interior road with a creek about 30 yards to the east. Now that creek is running north to south, and right behind me there’s a strip of timber that runs on the downhill side of several food plots.
>>DANIEL: There’s also another narrow strip of timber running between the two food plots up the hill. This connects to a large timber. So, you’ve got these narrow strips of timber on the edge of these food plots and they make for great travel corridors.
>>DANIEL: The location of the creek in relation to these travel corridors, well, it makes it perfect for hunting. Especially on those really cold days with a west or northwest wind. Cool air is going to sink to the lowest point. So cool air is going to be coming down off the mountain. It’s going to go into the creek and suck to the south.
>>DANIEL: So, let’s put it all together. It’s the pre-rut and bucks are on their feet more hours out of the day looking for those first receptive does. They’re not on that food/cover, food/cover pattern, as they were during the early season. They’re moving. So being in a travel corridor, in between these food plots, well, that’s a bottleneck and you know deer are going to go around those food plots, stand in that hardwood timber, scent checking the mountain up above. With thermals coming down the hill and going down the creek, it makes it a perfect location for a Summit treestand.
>>DANIEL: This is a fairly new hunting location at The Proving Grounds. I came in here during the pre-rut, found some great sign, heavy trails and hung a stand. Just a few days later, Grant was in that tree and had a great hunt.
>>GRANT: [Whispering] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
>>DANIEL: It’s obviously a proven location to tag venison. So, this morning we’re going to start preparing it for hunting season.
>>DANIEL: The first thing we’re going to do is re-establish our trail – our entry path up to the Summit.
>>DANIEL: Now we created this trail several seasons ago and the larger trees have been removed so it’s easy to walk. Well, vegetation has grown up and there’s also leaf litter from last fall. Of course, there’s probably some branches hanging over the path.
>>DANIEL: So, we’re just going to take a backpack blower and a weed eater, small hand saw and make sure the path is clear.
>>DANIEL: Now this trail doesn’t need to be 10 feet wide. It’s an access trail. So, it just needs to be large enough that you can walk in without crunching on leaves.
>>DANIEL: First, we often talk about not alerting deer as we enter and exit our hunting area. This includes deer not seeing us, smelling us or hearing us. A clear path helps us accomplish this mission.
>>DANIEL: Now I know a lot of you are like, “Ah, man, I know where my stand is. I can find it in the dark.” Well, let’s be honest. How many times have we walked even just a few feet away from our tree stand or we’ve gotten off our path, got turned around a little bit in the woods, getting in before shooting light? It’s happened to us all.
>>DANIEL: Having that clear path, well, it makes it easy to get in without making a lot of noise or leaving scent in the area.
>>DANIEL: If you have a path and you step off of it, well, you’re going to step on some leaves and you’re going to know you’re off. So, you can quickly get back on the path and carry on. Stepping on leaves or brushing against branches or other vegetation on the ground, well, that’s holding scent there on your trail. So, you want to be clear so you’re just walking on dirt not stepping on leaves or cutting brush to get to your stand.
>>DANIEL: By working this time of year we’re leaving minimal disturbance. Deer are not going to be on the same pattern come deer season as they are right now. Hormones are going to change. Food sources are going to change. And they’ll be shifting within their home range. So, by working on our tree stand maintenance this time of year, well, by the time deer season comes around they’re not going to know we were in the area.
>>DANIEL: I’ve got interns Sam and Justin with me this morning. We’re going to make this access trail, get up to the Summit and we’ll do some maintenance at the tree.
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>>DANIEL: We talk a lot about scent control, and we touched on it earlier. Of course, we always think about the wind and how we enter and exit – things like that. But one thing that may get overlooked is our safety harness. Of course, even in the summer when we’re maintaining stands, we’re going to be tied into the tree onto that safety line and we never want to leave the ground without being connected to the safety line.
>>DANIEL: Now this safety harness is going to get smelly. I’m going to be sweating all summer working in this harness. But this harness is not the harness I’ll be wearing this fall. That harness, well, I’m keeping clean, keeping it scent free as all part of our scent control system.
>>DANIEL: We have our access trail cleared. All the leaf litter is off to the side. We’ve got a real clear path up to the tree where our Summit is.
>>DANIEL: Now it’s time to talk tree stand maintenance.
>>DANIEL: When we talk about tree stand maintenance, of course, safety is always our number one concern. But we also want to preserve this tree.
>>DANIEL: Now over the course of the year this tree has grown and it’s putting pressure on our straps. And two things happen – these straps, over time, if we don’t loosen them, well, this tree is continuing to grow year after year, and it can actually girdle this tree and this tree can die.
>>DANIEL: Of course, we don’t want this tree to die. We want to be able to hunt it for many years because it’s a great stand location. And, as that tree grows, puts stress on this strap, this strap will become weaker. So, each year part of our maintenance is coming and loosening these straps. Now we don’t want our straps to go right back in the same location or the same thing Is going to happen. So, we’re going to adjust our straps; move them up and down a couple inches and get this strap at a new location, so that tree can grow and not put stress on the tree or our strap.
>>DANIEL: As we’re talking about safety, the first thing I’m going to do when I come to a tree stand that I’m going to work on is I’m going to test this safety line. Of course, I’m never getting off the ground without being tied to a safety line. But I want to test it. I want to make sure that something hasn’t happened during the winter or spring. And I want to make sure that safety line is solid before I tie into it.
>>DANIEL: Same thing on each step and even the stand when I get up top. I’m always going to test these straps. Really look around them. Make sure, you know, a mouse or a squirrel hasn’t gnawed it or it isn’t torn. Make sure these straps are in good working order and that they can support my weight as I climb up the tree.
>>DANIEL: So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tie in. I’m going to check my safety line. I’m going to check all my straps as I work up the tree. Once I get to the stand, I’ll do the same thing. I’ll readjust the stand, loosen the straps, move it around. That way those straps aren’t stressed; the tree isn’t stressed. So, we’re safe and everything’s ready to go for this fall.
>>DANIEL: All right. I checked all the straps. I’ve adjusted everything on the stands. Everything is good to go. Now it’s time to trim lanes. So, I want to be up here in the stand. It’s, it’s always easier if you’ve got someone on the ground that can cut and you can see the limbs instead of trying to get everything from the ground or get up here, try to spot your limbs, climb down and get it and accidentally miss one that may be in your shooting lane.
>>DANIEL: So, having a partner to trim your lanes is always, always a great tool. So, I’m going to stand here in the stand. I’m going to direct Justin who has the pole saw and kind of tell him which limbs and saplings we need to cut so we’ve got clear shooting lanes for this fall.
>>DANIEL: All right Justin. Let’s – let’s cut that redbud sapling there.
>>DANIEL: Of course, an important thing to remember is that there’s a lot of leaf cover right now. Come fall, once the leaves have fallen, it’s going to be bare. So, you kind of have to see what it’s going to look like after all the leaves fall. So, you want to keep your cover.
>>DANIEL: But this tree is a great tree because we’ve got several cedars around us, so we’ve got some cover. We’ve got a big cedar back behind us, so we’ve got a backdrop. But just something to keep in mind when you’re trimming this time of year, you’re not going to have leaves later on in the fall.
>>DANIEL: All right. Let’s trim this cedar up right up through here.
>>DANIEL: Of course, as we’re cutting, we’re not just leaving all those limbs and saplings laying right there. We’re having the guys drag them down, away back behind where we suspect deer will not be coming. If we just piled ‘em up in front, that’s going to direct the way the deer are going to travel through here. So, we want to make it clear. They’re obviously just naturally traveling through here, so we don’t want to create a barrier that then causes them to go high and out of shot range.
>>DANIEL: The guys just finished the shooting lane, and it looks great. The Summit has been readjusted. All the straps are good. Everything is ready for this fall.
>>DANIEL: I can’t wait to climb back up this tree and hopefully see a deer using this travel corridor within bow range.
>>DANIEL: It’s a great time of year to be out in the woods. But no matter what you’re doing – whether you’re doing tree stand maintenance or just taking a hike – I hope you slow down, enjoy Creation and listen to what the Creator is saying to you and the purpose He has for your life.
>>DANIEL: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.