Getting Prepared for Hunting Season
HUNTING SEASON SEEMS like it is right around the corner. I know that according to the calendar, there is still some time to get ready but time moves swiftly and before you know it, it is right at your doorstep!
A month away means its basically right here!
That is why you should take the time right now to prepare so I will start first with bowhunters. Not only should you make sure your bow is perfectly tuned, but you also have to do so much more to make sure that all of your hunting gear is ready to go.
Starting with your bow, do not forget to wax down your bow string. Check and replace all the rubber silencers if needed. Go over every inch of your bow and tighten any bolts down. I also like to place a drop of gun oil on the tiny bolts and protect them from rust. You will thank me later when you try to unscrew one of them. Your bow is like anything else. You need to do regular maintenance on it to keep it in top performance shape.
Do an inventory on your hunting arrows. Do any of them need fletching replaced? How are the inserts? Do you even have enough arrows for the coming season? I like to mark the fletching of each arrow with a number. Then, while I am practicing, if one arrow is always off the mark and it is the same arrow every time, then that one goes back in the box to be looked at at a later date.
Make sure you have razor sharp broadheads. Do not use the same blades as the year before without checking them for sharpness. A razor-sharp blade that sits in a quiver during the off season has probably oxidized and is no longer considered sharp enough for a humane harvest.
Check your stands as well. Tighten down any lose bolts that could make a little noise at the wrong time! Make sure you get the stands up and ready to go long before the season begins. The whitetails have to get used to that new tree limb that was not there before!
With a new hunting season fast approaching, I spend any free time that I may have going through my gear and getting things all prepared for another successful year in the field. That does not necessarily mean that I will bring home game and fill my freezer, but I sure do plan on having fun trying! And for me, that is a successful year.
Dove season begins next month followed by early teal. I will admit to all those bird hunters out there that when I go bird hunting, the doves that fly above sunflowers and the ducks that head for open water are safe around me! My friends love to take me bird hunting with them. Not only because of the constant humor that I provide, but also because of the number of shells I carry with me! Believe me, I have enough for many other hunters.
I confess that I am not the best shot when it comes to flying birds. I just cannot stop aiming directly at the bird rather than ahead of it. Oh, I know that I am “supposed” to aim ahead of the bird while swinging my gun as I shoot, but when the moment of truth comes, for some reason I never pay attention to what I am “supposed” to do. Consequently, there are no wild birds in my freezer except for one or two turkeys. I am more of a hog hunting, varmint killing, turkey and deer hunting kind of guy.
August, for me, is the month to start scouting for deer. Not everyone likes to get out in the blazing sun and take a hot walk through a scorching field looking for deer sign. I hear you! Me either! But I do spend some precious scouting time in an air-conditioned room with my laptop. It is a great way to check out possible new areas to hunt. If you are not doing well on your lease and you want to try your luck elsewhere, your computer is a good place to start.
Looking at a topographical map of a prospective deer lease will give you a great idea as to whether or not it can hold a nice whitetail. Whitetails, like any other mammal out there, need food, water, and shelter to survive. So, if you have located an area that has a food source nearby, a lake or stream on the property and a thick area used for a sanctuary for the deer to feel safe in, then you have located your own little “honey hole” for deer. Take a closer look and see if you can find a bottleneck on the property. A place where the woods gets narrow and then opens up again is an outstanding place to find deer movement. The big boys prefer to stay hidden in the woodlot and rarely show themselves in the open fields once hunting season begins.
Once you have found your ideal hunting spot, it is time to take the next step and find the owner of the property. Approach him with the same attitude as if you are applying for a job. You only get one chance to leave a good first impression, so do your best at it. That does not mean you have to show up at his door wearing a 3-piece suit, but on the same token, you do not want to show up with dirty ripped clothes either. You get the point.
Hopefully, you have now secured a new hunting area for this season and now it is time to really scout the area. I like to start from the comfort of my car in the early mornings and just before sunset. I will drive to the spot and check the area to see if I can see any deer in the food plot. Are there any big bucks? Are there enough does in the area? Do the deer enter and exit the food plot in the same spot every morning and every evening? These questions and many more will be soon answered while you sip your coffee in your air-conditioned vehicle!
If you plan to hunt out of a tree stand, then time is a wasting and it is important to pick your ambush spot and place your tree stands up so that the deer will get used to seeing them. Remember, you are hunting in their living room and any sudden changes could alarm the deer of your presence. It is also very important to remember to only clear any branches or brush that is absolutely necessary for a clean humane shot.
If you get prepared for hunting season now, the chance of success is much higher and that means your time afield won’t just be enjoyable but fruitful.
And you just might bring home some venison for the frying pan.
—story by LOU MARULLO