It’s the beginning of August and most normal people’s minds are focused on summertime and fun in the sun, but if you are a deer hunter like me, August brings along the excitement that fall is right around the corner and reminds us that we need to start getting our preseason preparations in order. I wanted to share a few of my preseason rituals that I always do every year to get me ready for opening day.
- Tuning my Bow
The first of these is getting my bow out, if I haven’t already, and start to get into a routine of shooting my bow on a regular basis. This way I can find if I need to tune my bow or make adjustments to my equipment. I try to make time to shoot at least 3 times a week. This not only makes you a better shot, but it also gets your upper body in shape. I want to make sure that if I get to full draw on a deer and have to hold the bow back for a long time, that I can physically handle it. This time of year you can usually find 3D archery tournaments on weekends and these are a great way to replicate hunting conditions because the distances are often unknown and at targets you are not always ones you are familiar with.
2. Checking my Tree Stands
The most important piece of advice that I can give that most people don’t think about is checking the condition of your tree stands and ground blinds. This is something that I learned the hard way and one ritual that I will never skip. If I have my stands and blinds at home, I will get them out and inspect them for any wear or damage. I will set up my stands on a tree in my yard, at the base only about a foot off the ground. This way I can get into it and really jump around on it and make sure there are no loose or rusty cables or straps that could break during the season. Although tree stands nowadays are generally made better than they ever have been, they spend most of their time outdoors in the weather and mother nature has a way of wearing out a good stand. This is also a good time to oil or grease and squeaky parts because it will give ample time for as much scent to dissipate as possible so you do not alert deer during your hunt. I also get my pop up blinds set up and make sure all the zippers and velcro are in working order and make sure the chairs that go with these blinds are working, too.
3.Getting myself in hunting shape
To many people, this can mean a lot of things, from having a strict regimen of weight training and cardio to taking a short walk every day. I am more in the latter category, but it all depends on the type of hunting you are planning on doing this fall. If you are planning a western hunt, where you will be doing a lot of spot and stalk up and down mountains, you better have yourself in top physical condition. Nothing can ruin a once in a lifetime hunt like being out of shape and not being able to get into position for the shot you want to take. For these hunts, hitting the gym is probably your best bet. If you are mainly an eastern whitetail hunter, odds are you are spending most of your time sitting in a tree stand and not as much work is required to get ready. Personally, I like to walk about a mile a day. During my work day, I will take my breaks and walk around the property of the plant. It is a half mile, and I can do it in 10 minutes and I will do it twice a day. I try to not just “loaf” around, but power walk so I get my heart rate up. I will also push mow my lawn in August instead of using the riding mower. These small things will get my lower body in better shape so when I walk into and out of my stands, I don’t feel like I need to take a rest break halfway in.
These are in now way the only things I do to get ready for opening day, but they are a few of the more important things that I do every year to make sure I’m more prepared when the season starts.
“I hunt deer because I love the entire process; the preparation, the excitement, and sustained suspense of trying to match my woods lore against the finely honed instincts of these creatures.”- Fred Bear