If you’re lucky, you’ve got permission to hunt a private farm with a record of producing trophy bucks that aren’t spooked by scent, sound, or sight. You’ve got a brand new bow. You’re hunting clothes and gear are already prepared and put away in a scent-free container. And all you’ve got to worry about is grilling hot dogs, slicing water melon and trips to the local fishing hole this summer.
If you’re like the rest of us, there’s a lot to get done in the roughly two months left before opening day of bow season. I just realized this a few days ago so I decided to share some of my preparations and thoughts with you here on SmoothingIt.com.
Hunting Locations – After an unsuccessful season last year, I’m following one of my lessons learned and searching for multiple places to hunt. I’m fairly new to this area and am not overly social so I’m limited to public lands. Of the several Wildlife Management Areas near my home, I’ve decided to hunt the Shannondale Springs WMA and the Sleepy Creek WMA. I’ve researched them online as much as possible and asked everyone I know in this area what they know about hunting them.
Scouting – Although scouting can and should start immediately after the last day of last year’s season, it’s not too late to start. You can start with Google Maps satellite imagery and topo maps. Next, take some time to drive around the areas you intend to hunt. After you’ve found a few areas that seem promising, there’s nothing like good ole’ “boots on the ground” scouting.
Bow and Arrows – Have you checked out your bow lately? If it’s newer, it’s probably in great shape. Even so, it wouldn’t hurt to look your bow over carefully to inspect for damage or wear that could cause malfunctions. Mine is in dire need of a replacement string so I’ll be tending to that this week. While I have it in the shop, I’m also going to replace my “drop-away” rest with a Whisker Biscuit. I’ll be doing a lot of stalking this year and I don’t want to worry about my arrow clinging around on my bow. Do you have enough arrows? I have one buddy that hunts with only one arrow and I know people that hunt with nearly a dozen. Whatever your hunting style, you should have the number that makes you comfortable.
Practice – Have you started shooting yet? It wouldn’t hurt to start shooting even a few arrows once or twice a week. This gives your old and tired muscles time to acclimate to pulling back the string, verifies your sites are still good, and gives you a chance to get back into shooting properly and accurately. Hopefully it doesn’t take long for the archery shop to replace my string and arrow rest so that I can get shooting soon!
Clothing and Gear – Do you need anything else for the upcoming season? I’ve already identified quite a few things that I need to purchase, make or acquire. Getting it together now is a much better option than last minute runs to the store the night before opening day. At present, I’m considering putting together a guillie suit specifically for stalking while bowhunting. This is a time consuming process so if I don’t start now, I won’t have time to finish it.
Scent Control – I’ve never put much serious thought into scent control but I’m going to put much more effort into it this season. I’ve been researching it quite a bit online and it seems to me that you need to do some planning and preparations prior to hunting. That being said, I’m considering a home made scent control plan so I’ll have to start gathering supplies now if I’m going to be ready before hand. As I work on it, I’ll probably publish a few posts about what I’m doing and how it’s turning out.
As I’ve said many times here on SmoothingIt.com, I’m no expert at deer hunting, especially when it comes to bowhunting. This is just a partial list of what I’m doing now to prepare for the upcoming season. If there’s anything that I’ve left out, anything that you do personally, or any other comments, concerns or questions, I’d love to hear about it!