Most deer hunters start getting “the itch” by the time late summer rolls around. It’s during this time of year that those game camera photos really start to show hunters the potential of bucks on their ranch or hunting property. For the guys with ongoing white-tailed deer management programs it can be very, very exciting to see what those young bucks of years past have transformed themselves into. With the amount of rainfall we’ve received in Texas this year hunters should expect a really good year!
Abundant rainfall throughout in the early part of the year combined with scattered, timely rains throughout the summer have kept much of the deer habitat green and growing. And as most of us in the Lone Star state know, rarely does the ground look green in Texas going into August. All that valuable precipitation has maintained the deer herd in good condition throughout what is typically the summer stress period—but not this year.
Ranches in the Hill Country have already reported outstanding fawn crops with does with twin fawns being the rule rather than the exception. Although casual observation can give a deer manager some information about a whitetail herd, nothing informs a hunter about what is happening on their property better than pre-season whitetail deer surveys and harvest data collected during the hunting season. Regardless of the habitat found on your property or where it is located, there is a deer survey method that can work for you.
I really do enjoy this time of year. Not only are hunters heading out to their properties to set out, repair, or otherwise inspect hunting blinds and feeders, but more than ever hunters are using game cameras to scout out the deer herd in their areas. I think game cameras are great for making deer hunters more knowledgeable than ever before. They allow hunters to watch a trail, roadway, watering site, or feeder 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and give them a good idea of what to expect during the upcoming season.
Hunters can also use camera photos for aging deer on the hoof in addition to scoring deer on the hoof. This allows hunters to become more familiar with both of these tasks as well as identify photographed bucks in the field very quickly. In addition, landowners or hunters can also conduct deer surveys using game cameras, but certain precautions must be taken to accurately estimate the deer population in the area.
So August is here, bucks are nearing the end of their antler growth, hunters are sweating it out at their hunting ranches, and everyone is getting excited about the upcoming deer hunting season. It’s been a good year for deer thanks to the rain and I’m expecting most hunters to do really well this year, unless we have a warmer than average winter—then all bets are off. If you passed up some middle-aged bucks last year I think you are in for a real treat this year. Now let’s get out there and get to work!