Mid-June marks an important time period for avid whitetail hunters. Don’t worry. You haven’t missed anything yet, but you might unless you get busy. So what’s so important?
It’s the midway point for whitetail antler growth. Most bucks begin growing new antlers in April and finish growth in August. Do the math. I used my fingers and discovered it’s time to put my Bushnell trail cameras into play on my best whitetail honey holes. You should do the same.
Some hunters leave trail cameras out year-round while others simply wish to keep tabs on bucks during the months prior to hunting season. But now’s the time to capture images. In the next few weeks whitetail bucks will exhibit enough features and dimensions to differentiate the “shooters” from the “passers.”
Besides judging trophies, you’ll also begin to see patterns emerging, particularly for those of you with early-season hunting opportunities.
This is the time of year when bucks seek out two key elements. First, they scour areas for food with a protein level of at least 20 percent. During this time of year they’ll devour more than 15 pounds of food each day. In my Western backyard alfalfa hits the spot, but across the Midwest deer also seek out soybeans and clover-based food plots. They need the best nutrition possible since antler is growing at the fastest rate during the next two months (nearly half an inch per day under the right conditions).
Second, they seek shady refuge. Home territories shrink if food and water are in abundance. Find a bachelor herd of bucks now and you should be able to keep tabs on them until they strip their velvet in early September.
Mark the calendar and start the serious scouting. Hunting season will be here before you finish your farmer’s tan.