To ensure that you are ready for deer season, there are a lot of things that you need to do to prepare. It helps to have a to-do list that you can pull out each year to make sure that you are ready when opening day comes around. Here are six steps that you need to take when it comes to pre-season preparations.
Step 1: Practice
While you should know that practice is important, there are so many people that will avoid practicing during the off-season and wait until opening day and expect to be able to shoot like they have been doing it all year long. Even if you only do a few arrows each day, it is important to practice. Ultimately, as a hunter, practicing should be done year-round.
Step 2: Bow Maintenance
When it comes to maintenance of your bow, you need to take a look at it once a year. Keep in mind, though, you may not need to change anything. Check the bow string to ensure it doesn’t require replacement, as the lifespan of a string is roughly one year, depending on your shooting frequency. Check your arrows for cracks and ensure they don’t require refletching. If you are shooting feathers, this may be necessary. If you are reusing broadheads, ensure they’re sharp. It is easy to resharpen fixed blades, as dull broadheads are not any assistance in the field. By ensuring that your bow and accessories are ready to go, you can rest assured that they will perform well when you need them to.
Step 3:Organize Your Pack
Unless you need them at some point in time, you may want to consider leaving your basics—binoculars, knife, extra shooting glove, arm guard, waterproof box, etc.—in your back pack year-round and then just add the extras that you need for hunting a particular game when necessary. For instance, if you are hunting deer, you may want to add a face mask, grunt tube, water, snacks, and an additional layer of clothing, some of which will be added to the pack for other game. By keeping your pack organized, you will know exactly what’s in your pack and where it is when it is needed.
Step 4: Scouting and Stand Preparations
Many hunters will have the spots that they plan to hunt at chosen well in advance, and a lot of hunters will actually sit in the exact same spot year after year with extreme success. If you intend on using a treestand, ensure that cables or straps do not need to be replaced. If you intend on hunting from a blind and setting the blind up in advance, ensure that you get the chair set up and that any crunchy leaves and grass are removed from the blind’s floor. In addition, before the season’s opening day, inspect the blind for any wasp nests. The last thing that you want is to be in the blind with a dozen wasps. You will also want to double- and even triple-check your shooting lanes. Trim back anything that may even slightly keep you from making your shot when the time comes.
Step 5: Wash Your Gear
This will vary from one hunter to the next. Some hunters prefer to wash their hunting gear in scent-free detergent and then store them away in plastic tubs, while others prefer to air them out outdoors and then spray them down with their preferred scent killer. Whatever method you choose to use, make sure that it is done well before the season opener!
Step 6: House and Food Preparations
While this may seem a bit unusual, it is actually more helpful than you may realize, particularly if you intend on being away from the house for extended periods of time. No one enjoys cleaning the house, but taking the time to organize and clean the home prior to hunting season simply means that you have one less thing to worry about throughout the season. Take the time to plan some easy meals, make them ahead of time, and stick them in the freezer. You can also prep and throw a meal in the crock pot before you head out the door in the morning (for your excursions that will have you home the same night), allowing you to have a hot meal ready to go without needing to cook.