Editor’s Note: Alan Benton from McDonough, Georgia, has hunted deer for 34 years, starting with his dad when he was 7. He took his first deer when 9-years old. “And I’ve been steadily after deer ever since that day,” Benton says. He hunts with a bow, a rifle, a muzzleloader and also a pistol.
By June each year, I’ll start putting out trail cameras, salt licks and feed to get a better idea of how-many bucks and how-many does I have on the property I’m planning to hunt. I like to watch the bucks’ antlers grow during the summer months too.
One of the big advantages that trail-camera pictures provide is because Georgia’s buck season generally starts September 10, the bucks still will be feeding, watering and bedding on their summer patterns. The main property I hunt consists of about 500 acres, and I’ll put out about seven or eight trail cameras there to census the land for deer and to note the mature bucks I plan to hunt during the first of archery season. Of those 500 acres, we have a sanctuary of about 100 acres we don’t hunt. Providing a sanctuary that’s off-limits to hunting creates a place for older-age bucks to concentrate. They know they won’t be hunted there.
We also put out mineral blocks and bait in that sanctuary for the bucks. Providing a sanctuary means deer will create trails coming from other parts of the property we hunt to the sanctuary. I start off by putting my trail cameras about 400-yards from the sanctuary. We’ve learned too that we also can pull bucks into that area from surrounding properties where hunters hunt every square inch. My closest trail cameras may be only 100 to 200 yards from the sanctuary. Because there are fields around that protected block of woods, I don’t want to set-up my cameras too close and spook the bucks I’m trying to take when I put up my cameras, or when I check them.
To learn more about deer hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ eBooks, print and Audible books, at johninthewild.com/books/#deer and www.barnesandnoble.com for Nook books. You can type in the name of the book and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. For a free download on how to make jerky from venison to provide a protein-rich snack, choose “How to Prepare Venison Jerky: The Ultimate Snack Food” at johninthewild.com/free-books.