30 May STAND READY!!!
Now is the time to check your stands. This advice may also relate to any ground blinds, waterfowl pits or blinds, and decks. Doing the work now will prevent lost time later.
Many hunters have fabulous box stands that stay afield all year. Your Fall blind is also the home for critters, insects, and bugs. We have all opened the door of our tree stand box or blind to be attacked by wasps, snakes, skunks, squirrels, or God knows what. That would make for a great article. Getting startled at 12-20 feet up can end badly.
Any changes to your stand area or blind now will be ancient history this Fall. The deer will take advantage of any new shooting lanes or trails. Any habitat changes are over, and your scent is gone. Let the hunt begin.
The latest Pandemic may have beefed us up a few pounds. Take care when climbing any ladders, steps, or decks. Rot, loosened steps and hardware, or other flaws could result in an accident. As the trees sway in the wind, nails or screws become bent, break, or get loose. Test each step and inspect your stand carefully. Also inspect the tree to make sure it is alive, strong, and capable of supporting the stand.
If the stand has a roof, windows, chair, or other features, make sure that they survived the winter and are still working. If you need to paint camouflage or waterproof the wood, now is the time. The smells and scents from any glues or paints will have time to dissipate before hunting season begins.
Portable stands, that are in the back yard need a going over. Rust, wear and tear, or a new paint job could be warranted. If you paint them now, the scent will dissipate before heading back into the woods. Check all the welds, joints, straps, and fittings. If something isn’t right, fix it now. Store them away from any fuel containers or stuff that will make them have an unnatural smell.
Weather at this time of the year is more comfortable to work in. Take advantage of this window. If you do any pruning, move the debris away from your stand site. Deer will immediately notice every cut and change that you make, so allow time for the to adapt. When working in the forest, be aware of ticks, ants, and other biting critters.
To protect your stand from other critter hazards, here are some suggestions. Place a few small tuna fish cans filled with moth balls in sheltered corners or lofts. Snakes, mice, insects, spiders, and bugs will avoid the areas. Remove them closer to hunting season.
Seal any holes or places where things can get into your luxury stand. Mice can tear up a swivel chair cushion in no time. There are many commercial products that you can incorporate to your specific needs and area.
Another way to keep you blind free of wasps, hornets, or bees is to use a balled-up paper sack. Make the sack about the size of a soccer ball. Fill it with other paper or plastic grocery bags. Wrap the end to make a holdfast or handle and attach it under the stand or in the stand in a sheltered place.
Wasps and hornets avoid other nests. They prefer to Social Distance and avoid confrontation. The sack mimics a Paper Wasp nest. If your site is taken, they will nest somewhere else. I know this sounds dumb but give it a try on your stands, shelters, garages, and places where nests show up each year.
Now is the time to prune your pathways. Consider your shooting lanes first. Get into your stand and use an extension pole pruner to open the lanes. Now have a buddy clear anything that you can’t reach, from the ground. There is plenty of time to allow the trees to heal and not disturb the hunt.
Plan where you want to enter your stand. Consider the wind and cut your stands for the prevailing wind and where the storms generally come from. You give yourself a huge advantage if you can get into your stand without the deer winding you. Deer will also use your trails, or least paths of resistance to travel in their habitat. By making trails now, the deer will have time to find them and develop the behavior habits you are encouraging.
This is when you can also add any supplements, tune your food plots, salt blocks, antler enhancements, etc. The deer will use them now.
You will be surprised how much better your Fall hunting can be with a little pre-season preparation now!
For more Montana Grant, find him at www.montanagrant.com.