Hard Work And Wacky Weather

After a winter that, in many areas, toppled 20-year records, there's more wacky weather on the way. The Southwest is in a drought, northern areas are in flood advisories from mountain snow melt and the rest of the country is fighting thunderstorms characterized by hail and tornadoes.

For whitetail gurus, the weather extremes can play havoc with your management plans. Early-season crops might get flooded or hailed out. In the West, food plots could be burnt to a crisp—and we don't even know what summer will bring.

You need a backup plan if your property management goals disappear faster than doughnuts in the break room. Consider some of these options in case Mother Nature has a different plan in store for your piece of whitetail heaven.

1. Crop backup. You might have high hopes for your field of soybeans, but what if a volley of hail knocks it back to the Stone Age? What if your creek experiences a flash flood and washes the field to the Gulf of Mexico? Shop around for food plot backups. Visit sites such as Mossy Oak Biologic and use their guides to discover great, late-season crops—like chicory or turnips—that will mature in time for hunting season.

2. Water your buck. If you're in an area experiencing dry conditions, like parts of South Dakota and Nebraska are going through right now, you might want to add water to your property. You can do it with a skid-loader and pray for runoff from the odd thunderstorm. Or, you can purchase livestock tanks, durable kiddy pools or some other water tank. Fill it via pipeline or from a tank in your truck, but keep it full so deer use it consistently. It's also a great ambush location for thirsty, rutting bucks.

3. Add minerals. Your mineral program should have begun in the spring, but better late than never. Products such as BoneDMonium can boost the overall growth of antlers and the health of all deer on your property. It also attracts deer because it's a blended grain product and can help in increasing the amount of does on your property. This in turn will bring more bucks by during the rut. Some states even allow you to hunt near your mineral and supplemental feed sites, but check the legality before season.

4. Plant some cover. Even if your food plot fails or isn't what you'd hoped for, plant cover. Crops such as corn, sorghum and milo provide thick vegetation and nutrition all in one field. You can also plant reeds, cane and even decorative landscaping grasses to increase bedding cover on your property. These crops also make great curtains to hide behind for sneaky access to stands, plus they attract deer looking for great refuge.

You never know when Mother Nature will throw you a curve ball. A few days ago 80 mph winds rocked my house, and there was barely a chance of storms in the forecast. The lesson: Have a plan in place to ensure a successful hunting season this fall.