What early hunting season preparation steps did you forget about?
Most of us are currently in the thick of things as far as hunting season is concerned, spending days in the woods searching for big game animals and hopefully scoring plenty of meat for our freezers.
However, if you are one of the hunters who hasn’t had much luck so far – unfortunately, everyone has to suffer a seasonal slump every once in awhile – you may already be in the process of listing the ways in which you can do better in the future, both for what’s left of this season and for all seasons in the future.
Sometimes, our hunting season slumps are simply beyond our control. Whether you can’t find enough time to get out to the woods this year, or all the deer in your choice hunting spots have seemingly disappeared, failure finds us all eventually. Still, the majority of slump seasons have a cause, and too often, that cause is insufficient preseason preparation.
There are a lot of things that a hunter can do outside of the hunting season to prepare for success.
From scouting a hunting area so that you can assure deer are still prevalent there to keeping your marksmanship skills in top form, there are so many different preparations you can take that it is sometimes easy to forget the ones that aren’t completely obvious.
Taking your gun out to the shooting range or using trail cams to gauge the deer populations in your favorite spot, these are things that virtually every passionate hunter will remember. But they aren’t enough, and below, we’ve outlined a couple of the less considered preseason preparations that can make or break a hunting season.
Set aside the time: For longtime hunters, time in the woods might not seem like something you have to plan for months ahead of time. After all, weather can impact your plans, and it’s difficult to know exactly whether or not you will have obligations on a November Sunday when you are in the thick of July or August. However, as we get older, our lives fill up – with work, with family, with catching up on sleep, etc. – and if you don’t plan out your hunting time prior to the season, you may not get enough of it. So view your hunting time as work hours spent putting food on the table, and keep to your schedule unless a legitimate emergency changes your plans.
Simulate different scenarios for your shooting practice: Being able to hit the bullseye at the shooting range – in full light, at an optimal angle and distance, and in a comfortable position – is one thing. Hitting a deer with none of those conditions is entirely another, so make sure to practice in a variety of different scenarios. Shoot at dusk; shoot from extreme distances; shoot from weird angles and in positions that are far from ideal. All of this will prepare you for whatever unpredictable shots you have to take in the field, and all of it will make the more “normal” shots about 10 times easier.
Early hunting season preparation can help keep you out of the slump and meat into your freezer. What other methods do you use to stay sharp and maintain your seasonal success?