WOW! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
Hunting season is finally right around the corner. Bow season begins next month, and rifle season is not far behind—although, I am.
By now, I usually have my bow sighted in for field tips, and have already spent many nights shooting at targets. I have to get on the stick and get to it.
I also have to finish my early season scouting so I can get my tree stands in place on my lease and clear out any brush or branches that might be in the way for a good shot. I know what you are thinking.
“Why did you wait until now to get everything ready for bow season?”
To be honest, it has been one crazy year. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I really was busy. My touring schedule kept me out of the country for almost three months.
As I write this column, I am sitting in an airport on route to Europe for yet another segment of the tour. Fortunately, this will only last three weeks, and I vow that as soon as I get home, daily practice will be part of my regimen.
I only hope that my fellow brothers and sisters of the hunting world have not followed my bad example. I hope you have been diligent about your scouting and your practice so that when the moment of truth finally comes, you will be ready.
Early pre-season scouting is so important. Weather can change the lay of the land. With some of the weather that Texas has endured lately, things might be worse this year than last.
You need to find out whether the deer have changed their pattern. On my lease, the owner of the property decided to clear three fields so he could plant corn.
I cannot blame him for wanted to make a little more profit from his fields but that move changed everything for me. By clearing the three fields, he also removed all of the thick area that the deer used for bedding.
It used to be perfect cover for whitetails. It was perfect for the hunters as well. To see at least 20 deer or more on the property was not uncommon. As a matter of fact, I do not recall a day when I did not have action on this lease.
Not anymore. The deer have vanished from the area.
Now, I have changed my hunting location to greener pastures where I see more sign. I write this so you will understand how important it is to check your area BEFORE the season begins.
A bad storm could wipe out a few trees that you used for a tree stand in previous years. The food source you planned on hunting over might not be there this year. You never know—until you get out the foot leather express and do a little hiking to investigate for yourself.
Now is a good time to remind all bowhunters that you must take the time to practice. Earlier in this column I mentioned practicing with field tips. This is, of course, a great idea. For one thing, you are not flinging razor sharp broadheads down field.
I know from personal experience that no matter how much the target companies advertise their product will stop broadheads, I have yet to find one that can not only stop sharp broadheads, but last an entire season without falling apart. Usually, the blades will tear the target apart after a few weeks of heavy practice. Field tips do not ruin the target. You can shoot thousands of arrows and still not see much wear on the target.
Most veteran bow hunters will wait until the last two weeks before the season before using a razor-sharp broadhead to practice with. This step cannot be ignored.
Some hunters have no problem and find that their broadheads fly the same as their field tips. On the other hand, some hunters DO have a problem, and I fall in the later category. Every year, I find that I need to adjust my sights just a little to be as accurate as I can be.
If you have not set up your tree stands yet, get out there and do it as soon as possible. The whitetails need time to get used to seeing them without a hunter inside.
If you wait until a few days before the season, any deer that strolls through your area will notice the strange thing in their living space and be extremely cautious. Chances of them spotting you in your stand are good…at least for them, not so much for you!
On a final note, I realize that not everyone will hunt whitetails out of a tree stand, and that is all right. Some hunters do not feel safe or are unable to climb up into the stand. The answer is either a natural ground blind (logs and blowdowns strategically placed to conceal the hunter) or using a portable ground blind.
Any regular readers of my column know that I am not a huge fan of portable ground blinds for deer. They work great for turkeys, but for some reason, I have not had luck with whitetails using this type of blind. I think the deer see that they do not blend in with the surroundings, and they immediately draw their attention.
Recently, I used a new blind from Redneck called the Ghillie Soft-Sided Blind. It is unbelievable! I love it! It blends in with the surroundings and the material on the outside floats with every breeze, which makes it look realistic.
The shooting windows are super quiet to open, and the entrance zipper is also a ton quieter than tight- fitting portables. You should look it up and try it yourself. The only downside I found with this blind is that you need to set it up and leave it for a future hunt. It weighs more than 130 pounds because of the steel frame. Believe me, it is so rugged that a strong wind will not affect it in any way.
Hey! The hunting season is just days away. Enjoy and remember…
Have fun and hunt safe.
Email Lou Marullo at [email protected]