Any serious hunter has been there. It’s a lonely place filled with unprecedented longing, sadness and a restlessness. It tends to hit sometime between the end of the previous deer season and the beginning of next year’s deer season. And it hits hard. You know it hits when your wife tells you to “Shut up about deer season already”, your last ten YouTube searches are hunting related, and you spend your workday pondering what stand you are going to sit opening morning.
I know how you feel. Here are ten things to do when you can’t stop thinking about Deer season in July.
Scout, Scout, and Scout some more
If you are this excited about the upcoming season you want to make sure your odds of arrowing that bruiser are as high as possible. Set up trail cameras, check out new areas, and try to get a better understanding of deer travel patterns. It will pay off big time during the season.
This one is fairly obvious, If you can’t hunt you might as well wet some lines! Hit the local lake or river with some buddies and make the most of it! I have spent many days on the water solely to curb my desire to hunt.
Spend time with family
You and I both know that come October and November we are going to be spending the vast majority of our free time on the stand. Spend plenty of time with them now, and they may be more likely to allow you to skip “Date Night” once or twice.
Bad shots happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t hunted for very long. Preparation in the off season will help prepare you for that one shot where it really matters. Practice year round to ensure you are ready when that buck steps out opening morning! Remember to practice with broadheads before season opens! I am still shocked by the number of people who never shoot a broadhead before shooting one at a deer. Regardless of if the package says “Flys like a field point” make sure you shoot them a few times beforehand. Don’t wait until the last week before the season to do this.
Have a favorite spot that you always seem to hunt year after year? Build a blind! It isn’t hard and it allows you to hunt more comfortably.It also allows you to introduce kids to the outdoors as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a heated blind come December?
Plan a youth hunt
More kids should be introduced to the outdoors, plain and simple. As technology advances the number youth involved in hunting decreases. So many kids spend hours on videogames, texting, social media, and online that they never get an opportunity to take in nature. Use the youth hunt as an opportunity to introduce the next generation to the outdoors. Don’t make it a last minute thing either. Plan it in advance and give them something to look forward to. Be sure to have them shoot their gun/bow regularly so an ethical shot can be made.
Don’t bring a rangefinder. I use 3D shoots as practice judging distances in a natural environment. Shooting a 3D deer in the woods at an unknown distance is way more effective than shooting a target at marked yardages. Bring buddies and make a day out of it. It is a blast!
Getting outdoors in general is a great way to unwind. I go on a handful of camping and backpacking trips to remote areas annually just to get away from the stress and noise. For me it is just as peaceful as a morning on stand. Plus, if you are exploring a national forest there is a good chance you can find a new hunting spot!
Fine Tune your gear
Remember last year, when your boots never kept your feet warm, your pants were too noisy, or your arrows never grouped right? Now is the time to change that! Look into new gear, figure out what works for other hunters, and make sure you are well equipped to hit the woods this fall!
Knock on some doors
Contrary what a lot of people will tell you, door knocking is not dead. What do you have to lose? Knock on some doors and politely try to gain permission to hunt. Many will say no, but most will be polite and cordial about it. The ones that say yes will be well worth it! Many of my best producing properties came from door knocking!
“I couldn’t have shot this buck without the use of **insert hunting product here that
was likely never used** and ** second not used hunting product**.” “If I had shot this
deer with anything other than **insert broadhead here** I never would have found it.”
Becoming a National TV production is time and money. Lots of it. To make money many sponsors need to be brought on. Now I am not saying that Michigan Whitetail Pursuit doesn’t have sponsors. We do. But we really try to steer clear of forced, over the top, product placement. We also try to showcase local Michigan outdoor businesses. Nearly all of our sponsors are Michigan businesses.
PRE-APPROVAL: Get Pre-approved. This is probably not the first thing we want to think about. You may ask, “isn’t getting pre-approved putting the cart before the horse?” Absolutely not! Trust me, when you find that piece of hunting or farmland in Michigan that you fall in love with, you are not going to want to wait the 5-10 days that it will take to get pre-approved before you can make an offer. This will also help determine your budget for the property and making sure you are financially responsible in knowing what size payment you can take on.
DEFINITION: Have a clear definition of what it is that you want out of a piece of land. Do you want the land to be just for you and your wants and needs? Are you buying so that you and your family can have a place to hunt, fish and camp? Are you buying as an investment, if so, how much of a return on investment (ROI) percentage do you need? These are just a few questions that you should answer before getting to serious about buying.
ADVICE: Work closely with someone you trust who knows hunting and farmland. This may be a farmer, a wildlife habitat consultant, a Realtor (Stoney Creek Outdoor Properties) who specializes in hunting and farmland, or a friend or coworker who has gone through the buying process. Getting a couple different opinions is never a bad idea. For example, let’s say you are a serious hunter and you want some land to be able to plant apple trees and some food plots. Soil types are very important when it comes to planting trees and food plots. The more fertile the soil, the less lime and fertilizer you will need to apply to that soil in order to get the most out of whatever you plant. You will pay more money per acre for good quality soil, but in the long run you will save time, money, and labor by buying land with good quality soils. This is just one example of many.
SIZE: Sometimes this is the factor that intimidates us to think about the purchase in the first place. Too many of us think only an 80 acre piece is capable of producing the whitetail habitat we are after. Take a look at your current properties you have access to. Many often are 3-10 acres or even 20-40 acres. Some small properties “Hunt Big”. By that, I mean they have the food, bedding, funnels, etc. that allow for multiple stand locations on high deer traffic areas even though they technically may not be a huge parcel.
TIME: How far are you looking to drive? Is this a weekend retreat or a quick after work spot? Or are you after a U.P. tract of land for gun season? Remember the time investment in driving and scouting. Also consider the time of year and your availability to hunt. Is this the perfect spot for a youth hunt or an early season food plot? Or do you plan your two weeks vacation for the chase phase? Consider distance and time of the season you will be focusing on this property.
NEIGHBORS: This one is often overlooked. So many neighbor relationships have gone sour because of hunting issues. People are passionate about deer and that can negatively or positively build relationships. Before you buy, meet the neighbors and see if they hunt and what their goals are for their property. In all likelihood, your property will border 3+ properties and having a good relationship with all sides is good!
Co-editors: Chad Thelen and Calvin Beeke
8 Reasons why hunting Northern Michigan is still Awesome
Even if you’re an avid southern Michigan hunter, I encourage you to join a family member or friend to experience the northern Michigan hunting experience at least once. Whether you come back with a deer or not, I’m sure it will be one of the coolest hunting experiences that you’ll embark upon. Enjoy the cold, the community buck pole, and the stories around the bonfire while cooking your hot dog; let it all sink in because as a Michigan hunter this will be an experience to remember.
-Steve Crawford, MWP prostaffer
Filming hunts is growing all over the world. There is no problem with filming the hunt and calling it a day, but there’s no better way to tell a story, than to SHOW it!! So if you’re one that wants to take your filming to a whole new level… Here are 10 of the most important aspects to filming your hunts.
#1 Steady, smooth video.
Steady and smooth is key to having a great film. So many people just bring out a camera and free hand it, which ends up making the video very shaky, and a headache to watch. A good camera arm and fluid head are KEY!! Yes, you can go to your local hunting store and buy a cheap 30-40 dollar camera arm, and it will do the job. But that arm will only last a couple hunts before the squeaking and stiffness starts and it just becomes a hassle. I prefer Muddy Outdoors camera arms. They are by far the smoothest arms hands down, and with a good fluid head, your hunts will be steady, smooth, and enjoyable to watch!
#2 Learn to be the cameraman before the hunter.
If you want to be able to produce the best video you can, you have to find that balance between cameraman and hunter. It's true with both solo hunting, and being a cameraman. When solo hunting, you have to learn to make certain movements at certain times. Like when that animal is coming in, video first, but once you see the animal is committing, grab the bow, and keep filming. Some people get so caught up in the moment that their brain shuts off from being a cameraman and their hunter senses kick in. That's when it usually creates bad video or no video of the kill at all.
#3 Let it go
Solo hunters really don't have to worry about this since at the time of the shot, their hands are on the weapon and not the camera. But this is crucial for being a cameraman. When the shot is about to happen... Let go of the camera arm or camera. What this prevents is the cameraman shakes at the point of the shot, which can make the impact not clear or even visible. So when the shot is about to happen, think of the movie Frozen, and LET IT GO!!! And once the shot is fired, grab the camera and follow the animal.
#4 Never enough
You can never get enough film. All it can do is make your video better. Which brings us to #5
#5 Be Creative
When taking different shots, think outside the box, and think of different ways you can make a unique shot. Wide view cameras like go pros are really good for different angled shots. DSLR cameras are really good for focus shots with incredible clarity, but for the average guy with the average camera, just find the little things that not a lot of people film and make it your own.
#6 Forget the camera is rolling when you talk. (for both hunter and cameraman)
It takes a while to feel comfortable talking around a camera. But everyone loves to see true personality, especially when adrenaline is flowing and all the emotions come out. Act like there is no camera there and just celebrate. Let whatever you feel come out!
#7 Always be prepared.
Filming can take a lot of equipment, make sure you have extra batteries, extra memory cards, something to cover your camera up if it rain/snows. Maybe even bring an extra camera if your camera malfunctions. You never know when the hunt of a lifetime is going to happen, and there would be nothing worse than missing it, so ALWAYS be prepped.
#8 IGNORE the industry
The hunting industry has commercialized hunting. DON’T do that to yourself. Forget obvious product placement and telling others what type of broadhead is best. At MWP we have relationships with products we use and love, preferably local Michigan relationships. Ignore the slogans and overdone reactions that the pros often show. Your reaction is different – and remember when you kill a whitetail in Michigan on film…celebrate any way you want. Your viewers will enjoy it!
Everyone wants to see your animal! Film all the emotions of following the blood trail, finding the animal, field dressing, and bringing the animal home. It will add a lot of emotion, personality, and sometimes comedy to your video.
#10 (MOST IMPORTANT) Tell a Story.
Just like I said earlier, film everything. Nobody likes a "there's a deer. Boom. Look at him. The end " hunt. We want to see everything that goes on, from deer camp to driving there, everything that happens in the stand, to driving home with a Mack daddy buck in the back of the pick up truck. Talk like there's no camera, just you and your buddy having an awesome time in Gods creation.
- Blake Ledger, MWP Prostaffer
Summer is quickly rolling to an end. One of the most important things you can do is get your trail cameras set and doing your scouting for you. When October 1st hits, you will have one of your best chances to kill that buck you’ve been watching all summer before he changes his summer patterns. Having your trail cameras capturing his movements and allowing you to pattern these bachelor groups will give you a much higher chance of punching your tag during the first week of October.
As we creep into the month of August and the temps are in the 80’s, it’s time to get out of your air-conditioned house and into your hunting spot. You need to have your stands set and shooting lanes trimmed far before season opens. There is nothing worse than disturbing your property two days before you want to hunt it.
Every piece in your whitetail arsenal works together. Get your camouflage washed and in order, your binoculars cleaned, your stands greased (so they don’t squeak whenever you move), and get your broadheads and arrows tuned in. Every detail matters when that moment of truth rolls around.
Confidence is key in the whitetail woods. Especially here in Michigan, one of the most pressured states in America, you need to know that you can make the shot when it presents itself. You may only get one chance at a good deer during the season. The best thing you can do is be confident that you can make your one shot count.
Even though you might have a good chunk of private land to hunt, it can never hurt to have a backup. There are many different pieces of land in Michigan that are open for hunting to the public. Getting into these areas and scouting them can become a huge advantage later in the year when you are looking for a good backup option to hunt.
We all know that when October rolls around, we get tunnel vision. Only one thing matters: Being in the woods. That being said, make sure you spend a lot of time with your significant other during the months leading up to season so you can “purchase” time away in your stand during the season. We all know the saying “a happy wife is a happy life.” Well, in reality, a happy wife is a happy hunting season.
Sometimes the most helpful information can come from fellow hunters. In Michigan, us hunters are in this together. A little tidbit of helpful information and advice from another hunter is more than a good enough reason to get out there and network a bit among the other hunters in your area.
If you’re anything like us at MWP, great hunting property is worth more than anything. Our friends over at Stoney Creek Outdoor Properties have listings of numerous great hunting properties throughout the state of Michigan. If you’re in the market for a new piece of land, you’ll definitely want to check them out. You won’t regret it.