Your offseason preparation begins at the end of every deer season. You can improve your deer hunting success in the field by utilizing these 6 tips.
Deer hunting is similar to studying for a midterm exam. You have months of preparation time available leading up to the test. But it comes down to how you utilize that time that makes the difference between a failed attempt or a successful outcome. Same goes for hunting.
How you prepare during the offseason will likely translate into how many missed opportunities or successful hunts you have next season. Use your time wisely this offseason by practicing these tactics to improve your deer hunting success.
Practicing your ability to capitalize on an opportunity to harvest a deer is arguably the most important factor of hunting. Whether your weapon of choice is a bow or rifle, if you're an avid hunter or first timer, the offseason is a perfect time to hone your marksmanship.
Try setting aside four hours a week to get some target practice in. If you have the option of shooting from your stand, it'll be even more effective. Focus on the fundamentals of shooting: maintaining proper sight alignment and sight picture, finding your natural point of aim, controlling your breathing, practicing a slow steady squeeze and using proper follow through techniques.
When the deer of a lifetime takes those long anticipated steps next season, you'll be happy you did.
2. Planting food plots
The offseason is an ideal time to prepare your food plot strategy. Take this time to research various products available on the market. Be mindful of the topography and geography of your hunting property and the seasonal planting schedule before choosing a product.
This is your chance to manipulate deer movement on your property. Planting a successful food plot will serve as an adequate food source for your deer herd. Additionally, it will assist you with fulfilling the remaining steps on your to-do list this offseason.
3. Preseason scouting
Becoming familiar with your hunting property is important to improve your deer hunting success. Choose an observation area to do some glassing this offseason. You'll learn how and when deer move on your property.
This will assist you with narrowing down primary food and bedding areas. Keep track of your herd numbers and information about sightings as this will help you formulate your hunting strategy for the upcoming season.
4. Trail camera placement
Proper placement of your trail cameras can provide you with the intelligence you need to make your patterning efforts next season much easier. Narrow down your properties primary food source and bedding area. Set up your cameras in the vicinity of these hot spots.
Analyze the pictures/videos captured to record significant dates, times, locations, weather and movement patterns of the deer. This will help point you in the right direction when it comes time to choose your stand placement.
5. Stand placement
Putting yourself in the right location at the right time is key to harvesting a deer. If you do your homework this offseason, you should know the eating and sleeping patterns of the deer on your property.
Your stand placement should be near the most likely travel route too and from these locations. Take note on how the deer move past your stand. This will be important in determining when and how to hunt your stand next season.
6. Shooting lanes
Have you ever missed an opportunity to harvest a mature buck because of a neglected shooting lane? I know I have. The offseason is the best time to nip this chore in the butt. Get out to your stand with a hunting buddy during the summer months when the trees are bearing leaves.
Cut out shooting lanes in the directions deer travel to and from your stand. Don't get too excited with those cutters though. Make sure you leave enough foliage for proper cover and concealment when you're in the stand.
Try utilizing these tips to improve your deer hunting success this offseason. They may be the difference between a filled tag and an empty freezer.