Believe it or not, landing that trophy buck months from now could come down to the work you do in the coming weeks this summer. Fact is, deer hunting is a year-round sport, so waiting until the last minute to take care of that crucial prep work, or not putting in the time at all, can and will, hurt your chances when deer season does arrive.
Get sighted in
For starters, you’ll want to get this done early anyway to avoid the long lines at the shooting range in the weeks prior to opening day. But also keep in mind that practice makes perfect, and having the right amount of practice before the season opens will increase your odds of making a good, clean shot. Keep in mind the very best hunters shoot their bows/rifles every few weeks in the “offseason”. To make it easier to practice, join a local shooting range or gun club and start sharpening those shooting skills today.
Clear a path (where legal)
Nothing can ruin the early morning hours of opening day more than tripping and stumbling your way to your hunting spot. Overgrown plants and low-hanging tree limbs can create a major obstacle for you as try to navigate through a dimly lit forest, so taking the time to do a little landscaping is a smart practice for any hunter.
Scout, scout, scout
The best hunters understand that keeping track of deer movement is extremely important to an upcoming hunt. Setting up game cameras in the summer will give you a good idea of movement patterns and which deer are calling your spot “home” year-round. Make sure you check your area for rubs. Knowing when and where the deer are moving will vastly improve your chances of landing a trophy this hunting season.
Talk to farmers/landowners
Few people have more knowledge and experience of what happens on a particular plot of land than a farmer or landowner. They know how the deer travel and where the big bucks are feeding—crucial info for any serious hunter. Plus, if their land is a hot spot for quality hunting, they’ll be bombarded with requests to hunt their land, so getting to them first is important! To sweeten the pot and perhaps convince an unsure landowner, offer him/her a piece of the kill in exchange for use of their land.
Get in “big game” shape
Sure, hunting isn’t the most physically-demanding sport on the planet, but every hunter should be in reasonably good shape before taking the woods on opening day. In most cases, there’s plenty of walking to be done, and, best-case-scenario, you could be dragging a big buck over a long distance, so make sure your body is up to the task.