Preparing for Opening Day of Archery

Most hunters understand a successful hunt begins well in advance to the opening day. Most hunters season begins as soon as the season ends. Hunting is not a one month event every year but a conglomerate of off season scouting, habitat improvement and target practicing. I will go over a few steps I have been taking this off season to prepare for opening day.

It doesn't matter how many big buck you have on your property, or how much scouting and food plots you planted if you can't make a kill shot your time will be wasted. Last year I missed an easy shot on a buck at 20 yards and decided to take my preseason practice time more seriously. From the above picture I was able to get a nice grouping at 30 yards. All of my stand locations this year are in thick dense cover and I will not have to take a shot longer than 30 yards.

How I practice
instead of shooting for 30 or 45 minutes I am going to take the full week and shoot every night. I am only shooting 10 shots and putting a huge focus on my first shot of each session. The first shot is the most important not the 50th or 100th. By shooting long sessions you risk developing bad habits from muscle fatigue. I also start far away and work closer to the target. I found by starting close you are more relaxed and end up having more difficulty when you move further away.

The best scouting is done the season before during hunting season when you are sitting on the stand. Too much scouting in one area will only spread your scent around putting stress and pressure on your deer limiting the amount of movement they will make during daylight hours. With that said I am going into a lot of new areas that I have never hunted this year so I attempted to do the majority of scouting weeks in advance of opening day.

I use Google Earth very heavily and focus on pinch points, thickets, valleys or hillsides to determine how deer will move. 9 times out of 10 when I discover a place that appears to be a good spot on the satellite it ends up showing heavy deer use. By having an aerial view it will save time and allow you to see a bigger picture.

Another tactic I am using this year is categorizing all my stands by wind direction and AM/PM. When I check the weather and I see a southern wind for night stand I'll have a list of 2 or 3 compatible stands for PM southern wind based on what direct the deer are moving through the area.

Each year I wash all my hunting cloths with a descent detergent, hang them outside on the line and allow them to air out for 3 or more days then seal them in a large tub with pine needles and leaves. When I go out to the field I take the entire tub with me then get dressed in the field, load up with cover scent and hit my stand. On the way in I usually roll around in the leaves or grass to give a little extra smell of the natural habitat. I know it is a little strange but that is what wolves do before they go on hunts.

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