Pre-Season Prep for Bow Hunting
I ts’s crunch time for any bow hunters out there. We are down to one month to make sure we are prepared and ready to bow-hunt for whitetail deer.
You do not have room for procrastinating now. So be Santa Claus. Make your list of things to do and check it twice to make sure you don’t leave anything to chance.
It is a fact that most bow hunters will choose to hunt from a tree stand this year. If you are one of those hunters, then I suggest you get those stands up, if you have not done so already. For new hunters, you might want to know the best place for a tree stand.
Whenever you decide which tree to place a stand on, there are a few very important things you need to look for. Deer sign can vary from droppings to a well-used deer trail. Both are a pretty good bet that you will see deer from these areas.
If you find a spot where there is a considerable amount of droppings, look around carefully. Have you accidently walked into a bedding area, or is it just a place where the deer like to stop, feed and do their business?
Remember, you do not want to hunt in their bedroom. Near it would be better, but to walk in the bedding area will do more harm than good.
If you decide a well-used deer trail is a better bet, then follow it. Find out whether there is a place where two trails intersect. If you find such a place, you have doubled your chances of filling your freezer with venison.
Make sure you always respect the nose of that deer and place your stand about 20 yards downwind of the trail. A whitetail can wind you from a long way off. If he catches the slightest human scent, you will learn why they call them whitetails.
He will be gone for that day and maybe the entire season. I once watched a nice buck work a scrape on the opposite side of a field I was hunting. He had to be at least 200 yards from me.
I watched him as he climbed on his hind legs to lick a branch above the scrape. All of a sudden he climbed back down and looked right at me. I was camouflaged in a tree and was convinced there was no way he could see me. Yet, he sure knew I was there.
I remember thinking he didn’t get that big being stupid. The lesson here is that you should always, always, always keep the wind in your face.
If, for some reason, the wind is bad on a particular stand where you were planning to hunt, then hunt someplace else or go back to bed. Also, if you can, you should have at least three or four different stands to hunt from.
If you can’t get more stands, hunting from the ground in a natural ground blind will work just as well—as long as the wind is right. Hunting the same spot over and over will do nothing but educate that buck, and he will avoid the area completely.
One thing that most hunters do not look for when choosing a tree for a stand, is the area immediately around it. Take a good look at the trees nearby. A tree that looks healthy from ground level may not be. Look up at the upper branches. Do they have any leaves on it like the lower branches or are they bare.
If no leaves are present, that’s a sure sign it’s not a healthy tree. Believe me, you do not want to be 18 feet in the air and all of a sudden hear a tree falling near you. I have seen three different stands that were taken out by a falling tree. If that happened while a hunter was up there, it could have been fatal.
Trimming any branches or brush from the area should be kept to a minimum. After all, you are in a deer’s living room. If things are different, the deer will notice it. Pay close attention to the small limbs directly under your stand.
Cut them as close to the ground as possible in case you slip and fall while climbing in or out of your stand. I have heard some bad horror stories of hunters that were impaled when they fell on a sharp limb that was cut two feet from the ground.
Tree stand accidents happen every year. Even though you are positive that it won’t happen to you, I can guarantee that the hunter it actually happened to thought the exact same thing. There are four times when most tree stand accidents happen:
1) putting a stand up
2) taking it down
3) climbing in your stand
4) climbing out of your stand
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a safety harness with you and using it. Once you are in your stand, you need to attach your safety harness before you do anything else. Before you haul up your back pack, before you haul up your bow, before you put your release on—before you do anything at all, strap yourself in and make sure you are secure and safe. Tree stand accidents happen every year and most of the time it was because someone did not use a safety harness.
I, for one, cannot wait for the deer season to begin. October cannot come soon enough for this child. I have been practicing and feel confident with my bow. My broadheads are razor sharp, and my tree stands have been in place for over a month now. Oh yeah, bring it on.
Have fun and hunt safe.
Email Lou Marullo at
Email Lou Marullo at ContactUs@fishgame.com