5 Steps to Preparing for Bow and Deer Hunting Season
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Each year, deer hunters across the U.S. look forward to one special moment in the fall—that moment when they’re finally able to step foot into their treestand. Many hunters live for the experience when the leaves turn colors, the air cool, and the bucks start to move. For the six months leading up to this particular moment in time, bow hunters have spent a lot of time and effort into preparing themselves for when that trophy buck steps within bow range. To make sure that this moment is able to happen with no issues, you need to take some preparations. Below you will learn five steps that are recommended to be taken each year, and hopefully, your next hunt will go as anticipated.
Scouting for Deer Before Opening Day
Regardless of the type of game that you’re hunting, it is vital that you take part in scouting early on. It is by far one of the most popular preseason rituals, and at the same time, it’s one of the most overlooked rituals. Scouting for deer needs to start a few months prior to opening day. There are a couple of different ways that are most effective during the preseason.
Scout with Game Cameras
The method of utilizing a game camera, which is often referred to as a trail camera, has become the most utilized tool for hunters. Several months prior to opening day, you should set up a game camera over a food source product, such as a deer attractant. In doing so, you can take an inventory of all the whitetails that are in the area. You should do this up to a few weeks before opening day, then move the cameras to scrapes, rub lines, and high-trafficked routes throughout the season to help in the capturing of bucks. By utilizing trail cameras throughout the entire season, you will be able to tell where and when whitetails are traveling, in addition to which deer are moving in specific areas, which helps in determining the best time and place to hunt.
Glassing with Binoculars
Yet another effective method is utilizing binoculars to view whitetails from a distance. Take a quality pair of binoculars out with you, stay hidden, and take the time to glass open areas or fields during the early mornings and evenings. Similar to the trail cameras, this will provide you with the chance to find out when and where the whitetails are most likely to be and which ones are moving the most.
Setting Ground Blinds and Hanging Tree Stands
Once you have scouted and found the best location to hunt, you need to set up ground blinds and/or hang treestands. It’s important to do this several weeks—if not weeks—before opening day. In doing so, the whitetails have time to get familiar with the surroundings and not be alarmed at a new stand or blind in their area. One thing that you need to keep in mind when placing blinds or hanging stands is that the area needs to be prepared to hunt. One mistake that many hunters make is setting the stands too early into the season, and once it’s time to begin hunting, the area needs to be finished with prep work, such as moving objects or cutting shooting lanes, so that a clear shot can be had. This type of prep work adds a lot of human scent, and it creates unwanted noise if hunting season has opened, which is why it needs to be done well before opening day.
Once the blinds have been placed and/or treestands have been hung, use a hand saw and trim any obstructions. In addition, ensure that any chairs, seat cushions, safety harness straps, etc. are placed well before the hunting season. The benefit of all of this is less human scent and noise.
Tip: Clear a path to and from the blind or stand locations. Utilize a rake and/or leaf blower, in addition o trimming branches a few weeks before opening day. This ensures you’re able to enter and leave quickly and quietly without spooking any deer in the area.
Get the Hunting Gear Ready
One of the most important keys to success is to make sure you’re always prepared for any situation. You can prevent a large bulk of mishaps in the field by being organized and ensuring all of your hunting gear is in proper working order before you head out. It is a good idea to check your hunting bow a few times each year to ensure it is working right, and this includes the strings, rest, sights, and all other working parts. The same is true for broadheads, arrows, and the release. By doing this, you can prevent equipment failure while out in the field and in the middle of a hunt.
You should also gather all of your hunting clothing, boots, and anything that you will take with you out into the field and perform a scent elimination process. This process should begin with washing all clothing with a laundry detergent that will help neutralize and prevent human scent from being carried and created on the clothing. Then, the gear should be stored in scent protecting totes or bags until just before you’re going to leave to go hunting, at which point you can remove them and utilize a spray that will remove any unwanted odors that are left behind.
By ensuring all of your gear is ready a few weeks prior to opening day, you will be ready to head out into the woods and not have to worry about a lot of work at the last minute.
Practice with the Desired Weapon
The final step in preparing for the upcoming season is to practice and practice some more. Some hunters think that they’re good after taking a few shots. However, if you want to ensure that you’re ready for any kind of situation that may crop up, you need to know how your weapon will react. The only way to know this is to spend hours practicing with said weapon. Shooting practice will make you a better shot while also giving you a boost of confidence in knowing where the arrow is going to land each and every time. Each hunter needs to practice ethical hunting and aim for the whitetail’s vitals for a quick, efficient kill. This is where you’ll place the shot that makes you most successful when harvesting the whitetail.
Ultimately, you should try to shoot your bow year-round, and then once summer starts approaching, focus on shooting a bit more where you are eventually taking time out of each day to shoot. Start by shooting at a 3D block-style target or a bag, then as opening day approaches, start shooting at 3D deer targets. By shooting at life-size targets, you will be more adept at determining your ethical hunting range once the times comes to make a harvest out in the woods.
The definition of success is ultimately the accomplishment of a purpose or an aim. If your goal is to be more successful while bowhunting deer, then all you need to do to obtain this goal is to put in the effort and time to prepare yourself for each and every potential situation that you may face. As long as you prepare properly, it will be easier than ever before to realize success.
If you have questions or need any gear to prepare yourself for bowhunting season, contact us today at Full Draw Archery.