Hunting season is almost here. Have you completed everything you need to in order to be prepared for opening day?
We all like to think we hunt hard but how much work and effort do you put in when it isn’t hunting season? Many people have busy work schedules and families that keep them away. Some have no excuses.
Regardless of what got you here, hunting season has snook up on us and is almost here. Below are the last minute tasks you should complete before opening day.
1. Preparing your tree stands
I like to hang my new stands the same time I’m out shed antler hunting. The reason is that I get a good idea at how the stand will look as the leaves fall and how much coverage the location has. Another reason is because I am a freak about scent control and going into an area more times than needed can potentially be harmful, as well as helpful, but that is a story for another day.
Regardless of when you hang your stands, you always need to ensure you have clear shooting lanes. While you are there double check the security of your stand to the tree to ensure safety. It’s always a good idea to ensure safety lines as well as any ropes you may use to hoist your equipment with, are operable as well.
2. Clear trails and access areas
Like deer, we all may want to take the easy way out to get from point A to point B. It’s important however to make sure that you have access to your stands through a way that will least disturb your deer. Having a trail go right through a sanctuary we know is not a good idea even if it is a two minute walk from the road. The other way in, walking up the creek, might be a better bet.
Regardless of how you gain access to your tree stand, now is the time to ensure they are clear and accessible. Rakes, leaf blowers, whatever you need, don’t wait until it’s too late to get those trails clear. If you can get in and out discreetly, the odds will be in your favor. Don’t be afraid to mark the trail with some cat eyes as well to help you in in the dark, anything to help you will benefit.
3. Reactivate your mineral sites.
We have a plethora of mineral sites on our properties and we keep them active year round. The deer know they are here and it’s always a good idea to get out there before the season begins and reactivate them. Find what works in your area if they are legal and be sure to keep them fresh and geared up for the season.
4. Organize your hunting equipment
Let’s face it, most deer hunters are also turkey hunters and enjoy shooting guns and bows on the weekend. We go in and out of our hunting gear closet religiously. Don’t wait until the end of the season to find your favorite grunt call or your lucky hat. Take the time this weekend and locate all your hunting equipment and clothes and be ready for opening day.
5. Begin a new sleep cycle
If you are like me, you are up between 4am and 5am every morning, regardless. If you are like the old me, before I started this career five years ago, I was a six or seven o’clock in the morning kind of guy. The weekend hunters who are used to the nine to five schedule may find it hard to wake up that opening weekend. Be ready.
Set your alarm to whatever time you plan on waking up for opening day and be sure to get out of bed. You may think this won’t help, but trust me, routine will keep you in line with being on time. You never want to be late to the deer stand or you will be end up being “that guy“.
6. Scouting in detail
We spend countless hours and money on trail cameras each year. Seeing what the trail camera can’t see, is what can give you a leg up come opening day. Your camera may capture movement that walks in front of it but what about the deer that walks behind. If you have fields, now is a good time to lock down the schedule and pattern of your hit list bucks and ensure you are ready for opening day. Scout as far away from the deer as possible, check your wind and ensure you’re scent free, but take notes, it will help you come opening day.
7. Food plot touch-ups
If you are lucky enough to have food plots, now is the time to put on the finishing touches. If you haven’t yet, get out and fertilize them. Any established fields you may want to spray your pesticides and herbicides to maintain growth and reduce risk of damage. Every little thing you do now will ensure a greater food plot tomorrow and with more food, the better chances you will have at grabbing that big buck.
8. Charge the batteries
Any electronic item you may have including your trail cameras, now is a great time to ensure you have the power for them. For archery hunters, you never want to fall short opening day because you don’t have batteries in your rangefinder. Getting in and out of the stand or tracking that big buck after sunset without an operable flashlight will only hurt your odds of success. A great tip I learned from an online outdoor filming school was to use rubber bands to mark your bad batteries in the field. Wrap them up and you won’t make the mistake of using old or bad batteries when switching.
9. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more.
If I had the time I would practice shooting my bow every day. It builds confidence when you know you can hit your mark. If you are unsure of yourself or you haven’t spent much time practicing, you are only hurting yourself and potentially hurting or wounding a deer. Whether your weapon of choice is a bow or a rifle, be sure to get out there and shoot them to make sure you are spot on.
10. Honey-Do List
Lastly, be sure your chores are complete. A happy wife is a happy life. Hunters take a great deal of time away from home and nothing can hurt your home or your relationship more than heading out hunting when the faucet needs to be fixed. There are several rules of hunting that keep wives happy, but a great deal of respect can go along way. Get your list of chores done now so when opening day comes you can focus on the best thing the year can bring us, hunting season.