Now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming deer season. "What?" you might say. "It's only July, and its 100 degrees outside!" Well, yes, that's right, but in a week it will be August and time to start scouting, no matter how hot it is.

I would suggest that if you have been sitting around since last season, you might want to at least do some walking to get acclimated to the heat and humidity before trying any type of scouting trip. Walking from your truck across the parking lot of Walmart to the store is really not going to be enough to do it, either!

Seriously, though, all of you who do plan to do some scouting in August/September should already be doing some sort of exercise program or be ready to get started pretty quickly. Of course, if you work at a physical job already, particularly outside, you have a head start on some of us. I worked outside walking a route as a mail carrier for 15 years, so basically I was paid to stay in good shape. But six years ago, I moved to a supervisory position inside the post office, and now I must exercise on my own to stay in shape.

During hunting season, it is no problem whatsoever to stay in shape, as I do extensive walking on my hunts. But in the offseason, I have to do an exercise program to be ready for the season. The last two years I have gone to the gym to do the Body Pump and Body Combat programs with my wife. This off season, most of my workouts have involved jogging. I am jogging two miles every other day.  A weight-lifting program would also be very beneficial if you are not already doing one.

My scouting is very intensive and thorough. But you can only do so much in the heat of late summer. I go as early as possible and try not to stay than four hours at a time. I hydrate before, during and after the scout. It is definitely better to bring a buddy along with you, just as with any hunt, for both the comradeship and for safety purposes.

I like to make multiple scouting trips to all of my favorite locations. Now is the time to explore those great spots that you found last season, or just go looking for some new areas to see where the deer activity might be this coming season. I prefer to get my scouting done well before the beginning of the season. I don't want to have my scent all over the spots right before opening day.

When hunting public land like I do, of course, you can't control those guys who do choose to go tromping through the woods the day before the season. But that is a part of the strategy of picking isolated spots that maybe not every guy will easily find.

I'll be interested to see how the flood affected Sherburne WMA. After my first scouting trip to that WMA, I will detail it here for you guys who are interested. I also want to scout some at Mandalay NWR, Teche NWR, Attakapas WMA, and, possibly, Thistlewait WMA.

I also might make a scout or two (or 10!) down at the Atchafalaya Delta WMA. As challenging a place to hunt as it is, I can't ever go there enough. The Delta is in my blood, it keeps drawing me back
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Guys, please take scouting seriously. Use all necessary precautions, to ensure you will return home safely to you families. God bless and good scouting!