Archery season is upon us. And if it is not yet upon you, then it definitely will be soon. Bow hunting is tough, no matter how you stack it. Regardless if you are a spot and stalk hunter, or hunting from a stand or blind, every bow hunter owes it to his or her prey to make sure avid preparation is carried out.
A bow hunter should remain somewhat prepared year-round. As a hunter you should be shooting your bow constantly, and always making sure that your gear is up to par for its specific pursuit. Here are seven aspects that a bow hunter should really focus on when finalizing their preparation for a smooth and successful bow season.
SHOOT YOUR BOW
Practice is key when bow hunting. It is the only thing that can come close to compensating for any lack in experience. If you are proficient with you bow, then you will be incredibly more effective in the field. I encourage any bow hunter to practice out to ranges that far exceed comfort. Practicing out to ranges of 80+ yards will ensure that an effective shot is possible at much closer ranges, and is executable with much more ease.
WEAR COOL CLOTHES
No, I don’t mean fashionable. I mean cool as in not warm. Early season hunts can and often will be in fairly high temperatures – especially if you are hunting an area that allows bow hunting as early as July. And if you decide to hunt spot and talk, then you will be expending a lot of energy on hiking while trying to be as sneaky as possible. Wear clothing that is breathable, but still offers a lot of UV protection. Keep in mind that you need to cover as much as your body as possible because you will be most effective when you are completely camouflaged. Some may argue that wearing complete camouflage is not necessary (usually because they knew a guy who never wore camo, but killed a lot of animals) but take my word when I say you will never regret wearing all camouflage, however you may regret having not worn it.
If you are a gear-nerd like me, then you probably can’t keep your hands off you gear, despite it being hunting season or not. There is tons of equipment when it comes to bow hunting. Range-finders, arrows, broad-heads, accessories, tree stands – the list never ends. It is important that you find the gear that works best for you. It doesn’t matter what the guys on TV are using – it matters what you can kill a deer quickly with. Just be sure that you have what you need to be as effective as possible, and then become familiar with the gear so you don’t find yourself fumbling for anything in the field.
Scouting is a huge aspect of a successful hunt, though it is not always 100 percent necessary for such success. Knowing where the deer are, and some of the habits of the native bucks, is often one of the biggest advantages a hunter can have. When scouting your hunting grounds, it is essential to always be thinking ahead – this means to be looking out for places that you will want to hunt when the season comes around. If you are planning to hunt from a ground blind or tree stand, it is vital that you set up your stand in advance. This way, the animals will get used to seeing the structure, and your scent will dissipate from it as well.
CALL LAND OWNERS
If you are planning to hunt on private land, then it’s probably about that time of the year to check-in with the land owner or foreman of the property. You may have to ask for permission to hunt, or even just remind them that you will be hunting in the coming weeks. Regardless, any hunter should have the respect to touch bases with the individual who has that power. This will show that you really care about hunting at that location.
GET IN SHAPE
As I said before, bow hunting can be tough on the body, and energy intensive. If you’re not physically fit, you will suffer in the field. And if you are hunting in that early season summer heat, then conditions can result in health threats, especially if that hunter is not prepared physically or properly hydrated. Take the due time to workout, and stay in excellent shape in the off season. That way you will be completely prepared for anything that comes your way on the hunt.
Bow hunting is unlike any pursuit. A hunter will need to be extremely sneaky and instinctual. There is a reason why not every hunter bow hunts. It’s just plain difficult, regardless of the bow you are using, or how skilled you are. The best way to learn to bow hunt is by bow hunting. Unfortunately, we can’t always be bow hunting. The next best way is by learning through books and other resources. There are an infinite amount of resources that offer a plethora of information for bow hunters. This can be anything from a book about stalking animals, to a video about blood-trailing. Regardless of what it is, it’s our duty as hunters to educate ourselves as much as possible.
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