Every year deer hunters across the country look forward to one highly anticipated moment during the fall, that moment being when they are finally able to get in a treestand. A hunter lives for the experience when the air is cool, the leaves have turned colors and bucks begin moving. For the past 6 months leading up to this moment, bow hunters have put hard work into getting prepared for when that trophy buck of a lifetime is standing within bow range. To allow this moment to happen without any snags, there are certain preparations that he or she must take. I have five specific steps I take to prepare that have never failed me throughout the year. Check them out, consider each one and perhaps these too will help your next hunt go as planned.
Scouting for Whitetails Before Hunting Season
No matter the type of wild game that a hunter will be hunting, it is always important to do a lot of scouting. Even though scouting is one of the most recognized preseason rituals, at the same time it is still on the list of most overlooked hunting rituals. Scouting for whitetails should begin several months before season. There are two ways of scouting that work well for me during this pre-season time.
1. Scout With a Game Camera
The tactic of using a game camera also called a trail camera has quickly become the most used tool for hunters. Several months before season I will set up a game camera such as the Stealth Cam 4K Game Camera over minerals or over some type of food source product such as Big and J BB2 deer attractant, the strong sweet smell of the BB2 will attract all types of deer from all around a particular property. This helps me to take an inventory of all deer including bucks, does and even fawns. I will use cameras over a food source until a few weeks before season begins, then I will move game cameras over rub lines, scrapes and high travel routes throughout season to help capture bucks in the area. By using game cameras all season hunters are able to tell when and where deer are traveling as well as what particular deer are moving in certain areas. This helps determine the best place and time to hunt.
2. Scout by Glassing With Binoculars
Another effective scouting tactic that I have become accustomed to is using binoculars to help view deer from a distance. Before season I like to try to get to a tall vantage point so that I can see deer from a long distance. I will take a good pair of binoculars such as the Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars, I will try to stay hidden and take time to glass the fields or open areas during early mornings and evenings, as with game cameras, this will help in finding out where and when deer are likely to be, as well as to know which deer in particular are moving.
3. Hanging Tree Stands & Setting Ground Blinds
After taking time to scout and find the best place to hunt, next comes hanging treestands and/or setting up ground blinds. This also needs to be done several weeks if not months before hunting. This allows the deer to become familiar with the surroundings and not be alarmed at a ground blind or treestand in the area. The thing hunters need to remember when hanging stands or placing hunting blinds is to completely prepare the area to hunt as well. A big mistake hunters make is setting hunting stands early in the season is when it is time to hunt, they must finish prepping the area by cutting shooting lanes or move objects in order to be able to have a clear shot.
This creates more human scent in the area, plus it makes unwanted noise when hunting season is open. After hanging treestands or placing blinds, take a portable hand saw and trim any obstructions in the area. Also make sure safety harness straps, seat cushions, chairs or any other items that can be placed ahead of time are done well before its time to hunt. The benefit is less noise and human scent in the area.
Tip – Clean a clear path to and from stand or blind locations. Use a rake or a leaf blower, as well as trimming branches several weeks before hunting. This allows the hunters to enter and leave quietly without spooking wildlife.
4. Getting the Hunting Equipment Ready
Being prepared for a situation is always a key to success. Being organized and having all hunting equipment in working condition will prevent most mishaps that can occur while you're in the field. A few times a year I will do a thorough check on my hunting bow, including sights, rest, strings and all working parts. I make sure everything is in working condition. The same goes for arrows, broadheads and the release. Making sure everything is always in proper working order can prevent equipment failure when a hunt is in full progress.
I also gather all of my hunting clothing, boots, backpacks and anything else that I will have with me while hunting and do a complete scent elimination process. This process begins with washing all garments with a laundry detergent such as Scent-Lok Laundry Detergent, this type of detergent helps neutralize, prevent and encapsulate human scent carried and created on hunting clothing. After properly washing my gear, I store all of it in scent protecting bags or totes until a few hours before hunting, at this point, I will remove clothing from scent protecting bags and place them in a closet or in a small room with the Scent-Lok Radial 400B Ozone Generator, this helps to take away any leftover unwanted odors by creating a powerful stream of ozone molecules that seek out and destroy virtually all types of odors and bacteria.
By having equipment ready several weeks before season, the hunter will be ready to take everything needed to hunt successfully, without having to do a lot of last minute work.
5. Put in Hours of Practice With the Weapon of Choice
The last step in being prepared for the upcoming bow hunting season is to practice, practice and practice. I have heard so many hunters say after shooting a few shots with his or her bow or crossbow, “that’s good enough to shoot a deer”. However, in order to be ready in every situation a hunter may face, they must know exactly what his or her weapon of choice will do. The only way to do this is by putting in hours of practice. Not only does shooting practice make the hunter a better shot, but the boost of confidence in knowing exactly where the arrow will land every shot. Every hunter should practice ethical hunting and aim for the deer's vitals for a quick kill. It is where you place the shot that makes a hunter more successful at harvesting a deer.
Tip: LEARN MORE ABOUT - Where to target your shot the next time you're deer hunting.
I try to shoot my bow all year long to stay somewhat in tune. As summer nears, I begin shooting more and more, eventually shooting a few times each day when possible. I will first began by shooting at a bag or block style target, then as season nears I will shoot solely at a 3D deer target such as a BlackOut Deer 3-D Target. By shooting at a life size deer target you'll be better adept to determine your ethical hunting range when ready to make a harvest in an actual hunting situation.
Tip: You can find the archery targets at BassPro.com
The definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. If the goal is to be more successful while bowhunting whitetails, all the hunter has to do to achieve this goal successfully is to put in the time to be prepared for every situation. If the hunter prepares properly, success will be easier than ever before.