1) While you’re out working your land with a tractor this summer, try this. Bush-hog a strip of grass or mow a lane through a thicket right up to one or two of your favorite tree stand locations near a field. Keep those lanes trimmed one more time in late August. Deer will find and use the paths. One day later this fall, a big 8-pointer might walk smack down the strip to your bow stand. The trimmed lanes are also great places to plant mini-plots of attractant clover and chicory just before hunting season.

2) Scour an old grown-up farm field or pasture for hidden fruit trees, like apple or persimmon, or thickets of blackberry. Open up the trees and bushes by clearing away brush; prune a few limbs and pour some fertilizer over the roots. A tree should make some soft mast just in time for bow season, and berry bushes will flourish. You’ll have yet another honey-hole for a bow stand.

3) One of the best land improvements doesn’t cost a dime or take a drop of sweat. Pinpoint some of the thickest, roughest cover and terrain on your land, and designate it a sanctuary for this fall. No walking, scouting or hunting in there! A good sanctuary is so thick that a bedded buck feels safe and hidden if you walk or drive an ATV by at 50 yards. Best case, put 20 to 30 percent of your land in sanctuary; the closer to the center of the property it is the better. Deer and especially mature bucks will find this no-pressure zone and use it regularly.