You've got to love it.
The season is only weeks away. All of our hopes and dreams for a great and productive season are just around the corner. I am in my full-bore preseason mode right now and cannot wait for opening day. And, no, I'm not talking about the Green Bay Packers.
Hunting season is about to kick off, and like our beloved Packers, I am doing getting prepared with hopes of my own trophy this season.
Opening day is still about a month away, but my season began weeks ago. This cool summer has made my preparatory efforts a lot easier this year. As the opener approaches and with each bit of preparation, my anticipation and excitement grow.
I'll begin with my scouting efforts. It never really stops. I may go a while in between outings, but it's never too far away for me. And some things I learn by accident, like what I learned this spring.
When I was turkey hunting earlier this year, with long, birdless hours in the blind, I learned some things about the deer in one of my areas. I began to recognize some of their travel routes that I hadn't noticed before. There is a slight hill on this land, just high enough that the deer could stay out of view. Almost every day, the deer would go back and forth along this dip. I returned to the area this summer and discovered their entry and exit point. I promptly added a stand during the cold spell we had in July, cleared some shooting lanes and hopefully things will pan out this season.
At another spot, I added a trail camera. I have a good idea about what is hanging out here. Some does and some turkeys, but no bucks have wandered past. I know the bucks are around. There were a couple of nice ones hanging around last year that I don't think were taken during gun season.
After I moved the camera out of that particular spot, I set it up in another area I hunt. I know that the deer bed in this area and headed to the crop fields nightly. I think I could get some good pictures. I cleared up some shooting lanes and quickly vacated the area and will check the camera in about a week.
And I'm not done yet. I have another spot that I've hunted with my brother-in-law which needs a check and I still need to get to another few places by Labor Day.
Along with ramping up my scouting efforts, my shooting time is stepped up. I shoot year-round, but this is when it begins to really count. No longer am I using the standard field tips on my arrows, but have switched to my practice broadheads. I try to create scenarios to practice in that mirror real hunting conditions.
I'm not shooting the standard ground level 20 yard shots at paper plates. What I do is shoot off of an elevated platform, at deer and bear silohuettes and at different distances and angles. This is important because you never know exactly when or where that deer will be. Practicing various situations will help you make that shot.
Increased shooting time also allows me to learn the little quirks a bow may have. Are there creaks that need attention? Do your particular broadheads fly differently? Do strings or cables have a lot of wear and need replacing? Is everything tight? Now is the time to fix things.
Are you physically and mentally in the game for the upcoming season? Are you in good physical condition? A lot of guys aren't and year-round conditioning is important. Deer hunting can be physical work. Back problems and heart issues seem to the the most serious and frequent health concerns. Remember to consult a doctor and keep in shape.
The mental part is probably the toughest though. It was my biggest challenge last year. Despite all my practice, I blew it on a few nice bucks. These should have been chip shots and two mental errors caused me to not fill a buck tag. I shot over one buck and the other I dropped my arm as I shot. Buck fever? Maybe, but it didn't matter, I blew it.
I did get a doe last season, but that was lucky to get at 40 yards. I've stewed over this all of the off season and will do my best to insure it doesn't happen again.
And there's more.
Do you have your scent control stuff? Is your camouflage in good shape? Do you have a thermocell ready for the early season? Is your knife sharp? Do you have your license?
It sounds like a lot, doesn't it? For me, the preparation is half the fun of the season. And it's getting close. I hope that all of the preparation will pay off this fall in numerous backstraps, and maybe a good size or even trophy buck.
If you haven't started yet, I'd get going. Don't wait for the first frost. The deer will be in their late summer and early fall patterns for a few weeks and they haven't been exposed to too many humans in the woods yet.
Some of the best hunting is in September, so why wait any longer?