John's Journal...

How to Take Hot-Weather Buck Deer

Day 3: Larry Norton of The Shed Finds Salt and Mineral Licks for Successful Hot-Weather Hunting

Editor’s Note: Bow season opens in mid-October in many states, and in the South, the weather still can be hot and humid then. Hot-weather deer hunting calls for different tactics than when you’re cold-weather hunting. The deer are eating different foods and moving at various times. If you’re hunting in the South, especially if you decide to take advantage of North Carolina’s mid-September bow season, or the August hunting available in South Carolina on private lands, you need to know how best to hunt hot-weather bucks. You can bag bucks with your bow in hot weather. As winter seems to last only a short time today in many parts of the nation, more archers will have to learn how to bowhunt hot-weather bucks. The sportsmen we’ve interviewed this week live and hunt deer primarily in the Deep South for three to four months under hot-weather conditions each year and consistently bag their bucks every season.

Click for Larger ViewDuring hot weather, deer have a need for salt and minerals that they don't have when the weather cools-down. Two places will provide hot-weather honey holes for the archer – old smokehouses and mineral springs. Throughout the nation, early pioneers preserved their meat by smoking and salting it. They brought their meat into a smokehouse, packed it in salt until it was dehydrated and then smoked it to add flavor and help preserve the meat. The salt pulled moisture from the meat, and the mixture from the salt and the juice from the meat dripped into the ground. Click for Larger ViewBecause old homesteads passed down from generation to generation, later owners often found the ground under these old smokehouses totally saturated with salt after several decades. After the old smokehouses deteriorated, the salt remained in the ground for the deer to find. Look for a site in the woods with an old home place and a smokehouse to pinpoint a honey hole for hot-weather bucks. The deer will come into these salt licks from many directions, paw the ground and get the salt from the earth. Some of the salt licks may lay as deep as 4 or 5 feet, with the ground pawed-up all around them. Don't try and hunt these salt licks after the weather turns cool, because then the deer rarely will utilize these spots. But deer will use a mineral lick in hot weather.

Click for Larger View"Once I found a site in the woods where several trails came together at a very-small spring on the side of a dried-up creek bed," nationally-known deer hunter Larry Norton recalls. "At first I thought the deer had come to the spring to get water during the hot weather. However as I investigated, I saw the deer had pawed-up the ground around the spring. Apparently, this spring came from deep inside the earth and brought minerals to the surface the deer needed in hot weather. "I discovered three distinct trails leading to the spring, which made it an ideal bow site. I hadn't spotted the spring before because it lay 30-yards off a main road and down a bank. No one would expect deer to move that close to the road or come to a mineral lick that near highway traffic. However, after I discovered this spot and told some friends, those who didn't mind listening to road noises took several nice-sized bucks there that came in to get minerals from this spring."

Tomorrow: Cut the Grass to Attract a Buck Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Take Hot-Weather Buck Deer "

Day 1: Look for Soft-Mast Foods and Pea Patches for Deer with Nationally-Known Hunter Eddie Salter
Day 2 :Hunt the Birds and the Squirrels to Take Hot-Weather Bucks with The Shed’s Larry Norton
Day 3: Larry Norton of The Shed Finds Salt and Mineral Licks for Successful Hot-Weather Hunting
Day 4: Cut the Grass to Attract a Buck Deer
Day 5: Hunt the Water and Stay Scent-Free in Early Deer Season


Entry 578, Day 3