We all live by lists. Either we create the list ourselves or we follow a list someone else has created for us. There are back-to-school lists, grocery lists, “honey-do” lists, tax preparer lists, top ten lists, Santa Clause’s naughty or nice list and “stuff” to get done lists. Magazines often publish specific lists for anything from the richest people in the world to the ugliest cars.
We as outdoorsmen should create lists as well. After much consideration and an email to some of the country’s best bowhunters, I decided to create a list designed for bowhunters and specifically, the upcoming archery seasons. Whether you’re an avid archer or a first timer to the sport, I offer the following as a resource.
Pre-Archery Season Checklist
1. Rekindle relationships with landowners – It’s never too early to obtain written permission for this year's season. Remember, the early bird gets the worm or in this case, keys to the gate. Often times the difference between the buck of a lifetime and a scrub is hunting where they live. A couple hours of homework now can really pay off later. Don’t forget to offer a helping hand on farm projects in the future. (Especially hay bailing time)
2. Get out and scout - Look at topo maps for natural funnels, bedding / feeding areas and travel routes. Locate mass trees and areas deer are traveling between food and bedding areas. A picture says a thousand words and aerial photos are readily available on the web. Trail cameras come in handy and can save you a bunch of time and energy during the scouting process.
3. Inspect your bow and have it tuned - Replaced frayed strings, silencers and realign peep sight. Strings stretch and wear out so visit your local archery counter and get a tune-up. Trust me, its money well spent.
4. Perfecting a pre-shot ritual through practice – Field points are fine for tuning and the initial sighting-in process. Shoot practice broadheads and number the arrows putting the best fliers in your hunting quiver will greatly increase your odds when the shot matters. Buy your broadheads now to avoid not being able to find the ones you want to use this fall.
5. Practice like it is game day – We don't hunt in shorts and flip-flops, so why practice that way? We all know it is hot but practice the same way you are going to play. If you prefer hunting from elevated platforms, hang a stand in your yard the same height as your tree stand.
6. Inspect both permanent and portable treestands - Examine the overall condition of the structure, nails, and bolts of your treestand. Fix those squeaks that drove you nuts during late muzzleloading season.
7. Purchase necessary licenses and tags - Don't wait until the last minute like you do every year.
8. Buy a good pair of binoculars – A “must have” piece of hunting gear; I won’t leave home without them. By routinely using them while on stand you will become a better hunter.
9. Take a kid hunting – Open a door behind you for the next generation of hunters and shooters. It is time well spent and can perhaps be the most rewarding days afield this season.
10. Butter up your significant other so they won’t leave you during bow season - Refer to other “lists” mentioned and begin crossing items off, NOW!
I hope this helps you get ready for the upcoming archery seasons and adds to your enjoyment afield. May the sun be at your back and the wind in your face - Shoot straight.