At the time of writing this, deer season is just days away here in Ohio, and I’ve been running down a mental checklist in my head of all the things I need to do and have ready for opening day.
I’ve always been a very prepared person, so these things are just something I do every year, and I think it’s something every hunter should do.
1. Practice. This is something that should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many people will pick up their bow for the first time in months, on opening day, and expect to be shooting perfectly. Even if it’s just a few arrows a day, practice is something every hunter should be doing. As a traditional hunter, it should be something that you do year round.
2. Bow Maintenance. This is something that needs to be given a once over every year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to change anything. Check your bow string and make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced (once a year is roughly the life of a string depending on how often you shoot). Check your hunting arrows for any any cracks and make sure they don’t need to be refletched. If you are shooting feathers in particular, this can be the case.
If you’re reusing your broadheads, make sure they are sharp. It’s easy enough to sharpen fixed blades and a dull broadhead isn’t doing you any favors.
Knowing your bow and accessories are in working order will ensure you can rely on it performing well when it comes down to it.
3. Organizing your pack. I like to leave the basics in my pack every year (binoculars, arm guard, extra shooting glove, knife, waterproof box) and add whatever I’ll need for hunting that particular game when the time comes. For deer I’ll add a grunt tube, face mask, snacks, water and usually an extra layer of clothing. I like organizing everything so I know exactly what I have and where it is when I need it.
4. Scouting and Stand Prep. Most hunters have their spots picked out far in advance, and many sit the same spot every year with success. If you are going to use a treestand, make sure you don’t need to replace any cables or straps. If you’re hunting from a blind and setting it up in advance, make sure you have your chair setup and all crunchy grass and leaves removed from the floor in the blind. Also, do a wasp nest check before opening day. Trust me on this one…you don’t want to be sharing your blind with a dozen wasps when the sun comes up.
Check shooting lanes and then check again. Trim anything that could even remotely prevent you from getting your shot.
5. Wash your camo. It seems this varies from hunter to hunter… Some hunters like to wash their clothes in scent free detergent and store them in tubs. Others like to air them outside and spray down with scent killer. Whatever you do, make sure it’s done before opening day!
6. House and Food prep. This one may sound a bit out of the ordinary on this list, but in truth it is extremely helpful. Especially if you’re planning on being away from home for long periods of time, it’s nice to have things prepped. No one likes to clean their house, but organizing and cleaning your house before hunting season just means you won’t have to worry about it during hunting season. Planning easy meals and making them ahead of time to stick in the freezer has been a game changer…meal prep and throw something in the crock pot before you leave in the morning. When you come home at night you’ll have a hot meal without having to actually cook.
By Beka Garris
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