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Prepare for an Upcoming Deer Season

Preparing for the Upcoming Deer Season

By Clynt Kistler

We have all had a hunting season sneak up on us at some point.  But being prepared for the upcoming bow/gun deer season should include more than running frantically around the house and garage and gathering up hunting gear the night before.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for the upcoming season. 

Bow hunters, you should be shooting your bows twice a week but if you cannot manage that, aim for at least once a week.  Once the season approaches, shoot as much as you can.  It is important that you have your bow sighted in properly and know how your bow shoots at different ranges.  It is also important to shoot your bow in the wind.  You need to know what your maximum comfortable range is when there are strong winds.  If you don’t have a range finder, you need to practice determining different ranges.  If you have trouble determining different ranges, I would suggest a rangefinder.  

Practicing from a tree stand is also a must.  Hang a stand in a tree that you can shoot left, right, center and even behind.  If you live in an area where you can’t put up a stand, find a friend that has a stand in their yard or will let you put one up.  Make sure you shoot from a stand a few times before the season starts.  Practice climbing up, hooking up your safety belt, pulling up your bow with a string and doing your whole routine.  On a cooler summer day, practice wearing a lot of clothing, as you would on a cold November day.

If you are a hunter that carries your tree stand into the woods, practice putting up and taking down your stand in the dark.  This also applies for ground blinds.  

Shotgun and rifle hunters should be shooting once a month until the season starts.  It is important that you know your maximum comfortable distance for taking a shot.  It is also helpful to shoot a .22 rifle or an air rifle.  This gives you practice aiming, slowly squeezing the trigger and practicing other proper techniques.  Once the season approaches you should start shooting the weapon you plan on using for the season. 

Summer scouting is very helpful for patterning deer activity and determining possible shooter bucks in the area.  Find a tree that you can put a stand in during the summer.  This tree should be away from deer activity areas and high enough to see a long way, but not too hard to get to.  You can then scout summer deer activity from a far with binoculars or a spotting scope.  Putting out trail cameras on mineral supplement piles is also a great scouting technique. 

Make sure you familiarize yourself with your hunting area.  As long as it is not too close to the season (couple months), walk around and look for deer sign, bedding areas, trails, etc.  You may need to clear brush or trees.  Often times a tree will fall in the middle of a deer trail.  Look for possible stand locations because you will need to put them up before you know it.  You can even cut some shooting lanes while on your walk. 

Some people like to carry their portable tree stands in with them every time they hunt, and take them down when they leave.  Some like to put permanent stands up for the whole season.  Each of these methods is fine.  If you take a stand in with you every time, you should clear shooting lanes in multiple different trees, well before the season starts.  It is important that you have stand locations for the different wind directions.  If you hunt primarily out of a ground blind, you should have multiple spots in mind for various wind directions. 

If you leave your stands in the woods year round you should check them and look for any rusting/problems.  You might need to order new cables or seats (squirrels will tear the seats). Don’t put up multiple stands and leave all kinds of human scent in the woods the week before the season starts.

Mark a date on the calendar when you can go through all your equipment/gear and make sure you have everything you need.  Do this a month before the season starts so if there is anything you need, you have time to go pick it up at a store or order it online.  I like to make a checklist so I don’t forget anything.  This list could include anything from sharpening buck knives to reading the instruction manual about your new rangefinder. 

Once the season starts, the scouting and practicing doesn’t have to stop.  Bow hunters, it is extremely important that you practice throughout the whole season.  Continue to use trail cameras throughout the season, especially in areas that you are not hunting, because this might tell you that you should be hunting in a different area.  Gun hunters, if you miss a deer or think you bumped your sight, you need to shoot your gun.  It is your responsibility to make sure your gun is sighted in correctly.  Hopefully this helps some of you prepare for the 2009 season. 

If you have anymore tips/advice for preparing for the upcoming season, click on the contact link and we will post your comments with this article.