Deer season is right around the corner and now is the time to begin finalizing the pre-season prep chores to ensure the odds are tipped in your favor this hunting season. Far too many hunters hit the woods with nothing more than hopes and dreams to show for their pre-season prep efforts. However, the deer hunters that commit to planning and preparation beyond the hunting season are the ones that usually end up with notched tags season after season. Whether you’ve been preparing for months, or just getting started, here’s a look at some pre-season prep for deer hunters that should be on your to-do list in the days ahead.
Hang Your Treestand Accessories Before the Hunt
I love the opening morning jitters. The nervous excitement of that first climb back into the stand is nearly enough to make me pass out. But I hate the frustration of digging through my pack for tree hangers and accessories that should have been in place long before opening day. You have enough to worry about on opening morning. Don’t let the last minute prep of tools compound the problem. Hang your hooks, gear hangers, and other treestand tools before the day arrives. This is also a good time to make sure that all your treestand sets have a LifeLine safety line in place. This makes things quick and simple once you arrive at your treestand in the dark opening day.
Get your treestands, accessories, and LifeLines in place well before opening day.
Make Mocks Scrapes Before the Season
We often think of mock scrapes as a tool for the pre-rut and rut phase of the whitetail deer season. However, you can actually condition your bucks to use mock scrapes now, even in the hot months of summer. That’s right! Bucks will use these mock scrapes long before the rut ever draws near, making them a great option for taking trail cam inventory and conditioning your local bucks to make frequent stops where you want them. Products like the Tink’s Scrape Bomb and Power Scrape make the job easy when it comes to making effective mocks scrapes on your properties. This is a fun and addicting tactic to put to work on the land that you hunt.
Put mock scrapes to work for you, even during the hot months of summer.
Practice Shooting at Varying Distances
Take the time practice at a variety of distances this year. The majority of hunters dial in their guns at 100 yards and call it good. They never once shoot it at 30 yards, or 300. They just assume it’ll be where it needs to be. Spend some time burning some ammo this summer with shots at both short range and long range. It’ll build confidence like nothing else will. And when the moment of truth arrives, you won’t have to second guess yourself and wonder, “Can I make the shot?”
Break In Your Boots
Got a new pair of boots this year? Don’t save them for opening day. Get them in the mud, on the hills, and in the holes long before season cranks up. Wear them when you’re hot, when you’re cold, when it’s wet, and when it’s really dry. You need to know how those boots will perform. Regardless of whether you’re wearing leather or rubber boots, get them outside and knock the new-shoe smell off. Opening day is not the time to find out that your new boots rub you the wrong way. Spend the time to break them in well before the season arrives.
Don’t wait until opening day to break in your new boots.
Prep the Meat Pole
All the excitement of opening day success comes to a screeching halt when you get home and realize you have failed to prepare for the butchering process. Chances are the temperatures are not sufficient for leaving a deer hanging up. You’ll need to process your deer right away. Are you prepared to do so? Is your meat pole or game hoist ready to roll? You really don’t want to spend another hour setting up the game hoist and preparing your deer for the freezer. Get things in place before opening day so the chores are quick and simple when success comes your way. Nothing is as handy as having your game hoist in place prior to punching tags so you can simply back up the truck or ATV and lift your deer into place.
Do you have everything in place to make quick and easy work of the butchering chores when you get back to camp?
Practice Shooting Your Gun When You’re Shaky
Most of us are guilty of practicing our gun while sitting at a shooting bench with our gun in a vise. This is a great move for getting your gun dialed in. However, it hardly mimics a true hunting scenario. How often do we have the luxury of a shooting bench and a full gun rest when we’re taking aim on deer? We need a realistic practice routine. Try practicing your shots with nothing more than shooting sticks. Do some aggressive cardio exercises and then immediately sit down to practice making a few shots while your heart is thumping. It’ll be as close as you can get to simulating buck fever. You need to know how – if – you can handle the shot when your adrenaline is pumping.
The need to practice with your rifle can’t be stressed enough. Practice when you’re shaky and out of breath, as well as when you’re wearing your full camo and a backpack. My backpack looks good next to this Mossberg Patriot Rifle.
Practice Shooting Your Gun While Wearing Your Hunting Clothes
Practice like you plan to play. The bottom line is you ought to practice shooting your gun with the same exact setup you’ll be shooting on the hunt. It’s easy to get the gun to your shoulder while you’re wearing a t-shirt, but can you do it with that big, puffy camo jacket and backpack on? Don’t wait until opening day to find out. Practice with the gear you’ll be wearing during the hunt. Be sure you know how well you can shoot with your jacket, hat, beanie, mask, glasses, etc.
Opening day will be here soon! Sharpen your knife and prepare the gear!
Sharpen Your Knife
Nothing will reveal your true confidence like sharpening your knife on the eve of the opener. When the guys in hunting camp see you sharpening your knife, they’ll know you mean business. You’re heading to the woods to bring home meat. Make sure your knife is up for the field dressing and butchering chores. Sharpen the knives boys! Opening day is almost here!