It’s that time of the year when hunters begin preparing for the glorious chaos of hunting season! For me there is no better feeling knowing hunting season is a few short weeks away.
During the off season many of us utilized our time to practice shooting our bows and firearms as well as getting our gear ready.
When I begin gathering my gear, I make sure to keep in mind what and where I will be hunting to adequately prepare. I check how well my rifle and bow have been shooting, my binoculars, rangefinders, calls, boots, clothing, pack and tree stand equipment are present and ready to go as well.
As I check my tree stand, I first hook in to a lifeline before leaving the ground and proceed to check all the straps and the security of the stand to be sure it's solid and safe to hunt out of. For stands that have been set for awhile, it's extremely important to thoroughly check your straps and make sure they haven'y dry rotted. Accidents can happen but there are ways to avoid them to decrease those chances before you set out on a hunt. After all, the most important part of any hunt is to return safely.
When I make my hunting plans I’m sure to visit my spot ahead of time to set up my tree stand so everything is in place. A few thing go into my preparation and decision of where it will go. The first is making sure there is activity and signs of a buck in the area and utilizing trail cameras to help me scout. The second thing I look at is access to and from the stand, can I get in and out easily without bumping deer? Lastly, I consider the trees in the area, can I safely hang a tree stand in any of them and if I do will they provide enough cover?
It’s also wise to check your bow and firearm – whichever you’re planning on using for your particular hunt. I make sure everything is tight and secure. With my bow I check string condition and check that my sights and rest are tight. With my rifle I check to be sure scope rings and bases are secure with my scope. Most importantly I practice constantly to assure accuracy and comfort in shooting my bow or firearm to make ethical and consistent shots.
Good hunting ethics and safe handling of a firearm or bow is crucial on any hunt. Be mindful of your surroundings, especially before taking a shot, and use good judgement and common sense before squeezing the trigger.
This year as we embark upon a new season, be sure to check your gear, be aware, and most of all be safe. I wish you a blessed and successful hunting season!