As deer season approaches, thinking more specifically about opening day and the preparations that need to go into it is critical. As most hunters know, hunting really is a year-round sport and the days and weeks prior to the start of the season are some of the most crucial on the calendar.
Here’s five fall deer hunting tips you’ll want to consider before heading out to your spot.
1. X Marks Your Spot
While some hunters travel to the same location year after year, many prefer to scout a new spot based on how “active” a certain area may be. Over the summer, you may have tracked where deer are traveling and bedding, but now is the time to officially make that spot yours. Set up your hunting blind or mount your treestand exactly as you want to find it on opening day. Having to set up during a hunt or, worse yet, having your spot taken by another hunter can put a serious damper on an exciting day, so make sure your hunting spot is up and ready earlier, rather than later.
2. Fall De-bait
First, check your state game commission to see if salt licks/baits are permissible in your area at all. If so, there’s going to be a cutoff date, usually 30 days prior to opening day, for you to remove any salt licks from your hunting spot. Make sure you’re obeying the law and removing your baits in the proper timeframe.
3. Check Your Inventory
Similar to getting your car tuned up before a long road trip, hunters should give their hunting inventory a onceover in the weeks prior to the first hunt of the season. Check all your hunting apparel (jackets, pants and baselayers) and boots to ensure they’re in good condition. A lot can happen in a year, so make sure you’re set and ready. Also, don’t forget about your consumables. Make sure you’re stocked up with enough hand warmers and that your scent blocker is full. The last thing you need is for something simple to derail the wee-morning hours of opening day.
4. Scout It Out
In the weeks prior to the start of your season, head out on a last scouting excursion to ensure your hunting area is ready. Check your sightlines. Cut down any low hanging branches. Clear out unnecessary brush. Let your buddies push deer for you to give you an idea of where deer are coming from and how they’re moving through your area. All this prep work will make things easier when the real hunting begins.
5. Poll The Experts
Gain knowledge from the folks who actually live on or near the property you’re hunting on. No one is going to know the land and what’s on it better than someone who’s there 365 days a year, so gain as much knowledge as you can. Ask them where they usually see deer and what time of day that occurs. Where are they moving? When do you typically see them again? The more knowledge you gather, the better, so find out what you can!