Ohio deer season is a little less than three months away.
Yes, that's right; three months. Archery season starts on September 27, 2014 and general gun season begins on December 1, 2014.
Even though summer is still fully upon us, it is already time for deer hunters to start getting ready for the upcoming season. Here are some steps to take now to make sure you are ready once deer season rolls around.
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Whether you have been hunting the same farm for as long as you can remember or you are planning to hunt somewhere new, including public land, it is vital to make a few scouting trips to put yourself in the best position to fill a tag this fall.
Now is the perfect time to hit the woods and hang a trail cam or two to help get an idea of deer movement patterns and numbers. Hang them along travel corridors and likely feeding areas. Getting some pictures of the deer in your hunting area now will help you predict their movements come hunting season and they will also help you have an understanding of the deer that are present where you hunt. That way you will be less tempted to take that small four-point buck if you know a heavy eight-pointer is out there waiting to expose himself.
If you are planning to hang trail cameras on public land, make sure to take precautions and secure your cameras. Unfortunately, not all public land hunters are ethical.
It is also a great idea to take a couple of scouting trips to glass local deer herds feeding in fields and open areas. Between your trail cams and glassing trips, you will have a good grasp on where deer are, how they are moving, and where you need to be to fill your tag. This especially holds true during the early portion of the Ohio archery season before the rut really kicks into gear. Deer are a lot more predictable in this early season as their movements mostly center on food and water sources.
This is another important step in getting ready for Ohio deer season. Not only should you be making sure that all your gear is in great shape and ready to go, but you also need to be thinking about maintaining your skills and your hunting area.
Don't make the mistake that many hunters do and neglect to practice your shooting with whatever weapon you will be hunting with this fall. Head out to a range and make sure that your bow or gun is still shooting straight and you are still comfortable with it. Now is the time to test new ammo if you are planning on trying it and to ensure that come opening day you don't have to worry about not being prepared for a shot.
RELATED ARTICLE: Where are the Best Ohio Shooting Ranges? [VIDEO]
It is also a good idea to get out to your treestand or blind location and inspect the area. You never really know what you are going to find. A tree could have fallen or other debris could be affecting the area. New undergrowth might be blocking your favorite shooting lane. You just never know, and it is not something that you will want to deal with during the season.
Get out there now and get it taken care of. Just make sure to load up on the bug spray.
Safety is another thing that cannot be stressed enough. If you hunt from a treestand, make sure it is still securely fastened to your tree and that whatever climbing apparatus you use is still safe to climb. If you use a climbing stand, make sure it is lubricated and functioning well. Same thing goes for pop-up blinds or any other concealment options you may be using. This might sound like common sense, but these are the things that a lot of hunters keep putting off until it is too late. Taking the extra effort to be fully prepared for any circumstance can sometimes be the difference between venison in the freezer and a blank tag.
Try Something New
Have you been hunting with the same strategy for years now? Well, make this upcoming season the year that you try something new. Scout your hunting area and find a new place to set up in. Take a look at the new regulations for deer season in Ohio and consider trying a new weapon this year. For the first time, Ohio hunters can now use certain rifles during deer gun season.
Check out the ODNR website and make sure you are still familiar with what tags and licenses you will need. Do some research on public hunting areas and give one a shot. Heck, throw your name into the hat for one of Ohio's controlled hunts. You might get lucky and draw a spot while meeting some new hunting friends in the process.
RELATED ARTICLE: Ohio Controlled Hunt Application Deadline Approaching
Another thing to consider would be planting a food plot this summer. It isn't too late to get one in. It doesn't have to be a huge project either. Doing something as simple as raking away leaves to expose the dirt in a somewhat sunny area near your stand and throwing some seed down can bring deer into shooting range.
If you plan to be out there on opening day, then start your preparations now. I promise that you will have a much smoother start to your season if you do some of these simple things during the summer instead of waiting until the last minute.
Don't worry though... there is still plenty of time for fishing, too.
Did I miss anything? If you have some other tips for getting ready for deer hunting season, let us know in the comments below.