Well, most likely the kids are back in school, summer is waning and fall deer season is just around the corner. Here are my tips for early season success;
1. Hopefully you've been able to get out and begin your scouting. I always check to see what fruit has developed over the summer. Wild grapes are a favorite of deer and normally ripen at the end of summer. I would check to see what stage of ripeness any you find are at, and if they'll last the next several weeks you can be assured they will be a favorite food source that is good to hunt over when season opens.
2. It's been a hot, and pretty dry summer throughout the South. Hopefully your favorite hunting area has water and I would check to see where deer are visiting to take their drink. Ponds and streams are a great place to plan your early season hunt.
3. Check for acorns. While not all acorns grow every year, and ripen at the same time, you can bet some will ripen and fall earlier than others. What I've always referred to as a "water oak" always seemed to be the first to drop and any tree dropping acorns early is a great place to stage your hunts in the early season.
4. Look for fresh browse. Deer are browsers and finding patches of honeysuckle, briars and kudzu may be their primary food source this time of the year. Look for fresh signs of browsing and you will find a great food source to hunt over during early season.
5. Look for rubs. Bucks have begun to shed that velvet and finding small shrubs and trees that show signs of early season rubbing at least let you know there are bucks in the area. Find good trails leading to or from early season rubs and you might be able to ambush that early season buck.
6. It's never too early to start filling tags. I know a lot of hunters spend the early season through the rut trying to hold out to bag that buck of a lifetime. They pass on early season shots at does because they either don't want to spook other deer or because the does are still with fawns. By early season bucks are typically not following or with does and fawns have been weaned for several weeks. Don't be afraid to start filling your meat locker with early season does. They are easier to take in early season and are likely not confused with "button" bucks that will look like good sized does later in the season. Just remember to get the meat out and processed quickly so it does not get a chance to spoil in the heat of the early season.
Be prepared to fight the bugs and enjoy the early season. With good scouting you can and will be successful and can start enjoying that early season venison. Good luck and great hunting.