When does your deer season start? When do you start planning for the deer season? Do you wait until the month before opening day to start planning, or do you start planning as soon as the prior season ends? A skilled hunter does not just rely on luck when hunting. Every experienced deer hunter knows that calculating a plan will greatly influence how successful you will be.
First, you have to start with how last season went. Were your stands/blinds in the right place? Did you see the numbers of good quality deer as you wanted to? Did you miss any shots because of poor equipment? Did you get spotted by a deer because of old camo? These are just a few of the things that start your season off with.
Were your stands/blinds in the right spot? If so, great! If not, then you have some work to do. I would start your scouting as soon as you are able. You need to research when other seasons are going on, so you don’t interfere with other hunters as well as safety concerns.
Once you begin your search for a spot, shed hunting begins. This is not just to find an antler to sell or put on your wall; this is so that you can look for tracks and what deer are around the area. A lot can be learned by finding where the deer winter. The trails and beds will stand out and be easily located in the snow. Buck rubs stand out as well. For the most part, a buck will stay in this area most of his life. Yes, they will travel during the rut, but early and late season this is where they will be. By keeping a log book or using a hunting app like onX Hunt, you can mark on a map and figure out where to put a stand.
Next on the list is your bow and accessories. Take your bow to a certified bow tech and get it tuned. It is a minimal cost for what you use it for. If your bow is not tuned properly and you miss the deer you are after, all the other planning is for not. Then, get out and shoot it. Shoot, shoot and shoot it again. You owe it to the animal you are after. I have been called way too many times to come help a young hunter track a deer because of a bad shot placement, and every time I hear the same thing, “I’m positive I hit him right in the lungs.” When the deer is found later, the hit was too far forward or too far back. That is… if we find the deer. I always ask the hunter after we locate the deer how much they shoot throughout the year. I usually get the response, “I shoot all the time.” Unfortunately, this often means that they just started shooting last month.
You should try and make it a practice to shoot each and every day. Some days, you just shoot one arrow. The reason is, in most hunting situations, one arrow is all you will get, so you need to make it count. Your first arrow is all that matters. If you make this a mandatory hit for you, your misses will start to be just an old memory.
Now, I know that every day cannot be your best day of shooting, but you should make sure that you are striving to make it your best effort. Another great way to practice a hunting situation is to find a 3D shoot or indoor shoot. I Great Archery Season would say that each and every State Bow Association has these shoots throughout the year.
If you have a bow association around you, I suggest you join it. You can learn more hunting info during group shoots or group meetings because hunters love to spread their knowledge. The camaraderie is amazing. Hunters can’t help but brag on how good they are and how they made the “shot for the record books.” Phrases like, “If it would have been any other hunter, that buck would have gotten away.” or “This is what I did”. You can get a lot of tips that you can use for yourself as well as being able to brag a little bit yourself. Sometimes you just have to show up and say, “Nice buck,” and the story begins!
Hopefully, following these steps for early season planning will be the beginning of your best season yet. Every animal you pursue has spent a lifetime learning how to escape you. You need to spend the same amount of time training to beat him at his game, on his turf. Now get out there and have your best archery season. Enjoy the great outdoors.