54 days. 1 hour. 23 minutes. 41 seconds. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The clock is winding down on the opening of my bow season for whitetails and if any of you are like me, it can't come soon enough! But as much as I am excited, I'm also a little panicked. No matter how much I try to plan ahead, I always feel like I'm scrambling in the last months before season trying to prepare. And this year is no different. But once I get all of the major preparation out of the way, (setting stands, putting in food plots, etc), I like to do a few unconventional things to help me fine tune myself before the season. So today I'd like to turn a blind eye to the stress of knowing I still need to set a boatload of stands, and instead focus on a few of my favorite last minute preparations that might seem a little out of the usual. Read on for a few of my more unconventional preparation ideas!
Get Your Money's Worth Out of Hunting Videos: This might seem strange, but I use hunting DVDs for more than just entertainment. I've actually found them to be pretty helpful in legitimately preparing myself to hunt. I do this in two ways. First, I like to practice field scoring and aging deer in videos. In some hunting series like Monster Bucks, they'll tell you a score after the kill and I like being able to guess and then confirm with the actual. If you're looking to harvest a certain size or age class deer, this is a helpful and fun way to practice.
A second way I use videos is by practicing aiming at deer on video. I will watch a deer come on screen and practice drawing, aiming and holding on deer, just like it was the real deal. Just putting your mind through the paces like this is going to help you come game time. Obviously you need to be very careful doing this, as you don't want to dry fire. But if you're totally against drawing your bow w/o an arrow, just practicing aiming a bow undrawn at a big buck on tv can still help!
Try A New Position: Continuing on our theme of practicing with your bow, in the last few weeks before season I like to try some interesting new things when it comes to angles, locations and positions with my bow. When it comes to shot opportunities, you just never know whats going to happen. You might need to shoot leaning around a limb, crouching down or who knows what. So I try to prepare for these things with some crazy scenarios while practicing. A week or two before season I'll start adding some abnormal situations into my practice regimen like shooting from my truck bed, sitting on the ground, kneeling, leaning around a tree, leaning on my back and just about anything else I can think about. Practicing in these strange positions will hopefully leave me prepared for whatever the real deal can throw at me!
Practice In The Dark: Now here's an unconventional idea that I actually haven't done before, but I want to! If you're like me, you like being mobile during the bow season. It's great to have a climbing or portable hang-on treestand that you can move around as you adjust your strategy during the season. That being said, sometimes you really want to hunt somewhere new in the morning, so you've got to put up a stand in the dark. If you think this could happen to you, it's best to prepare. If you're trying out a new treestand this fall it's even more important, so I'd highly recommend trying to put it up before you ever go in the field. Test drive the stand once in the light and then once in the dark, and this should fully prepare you for whatever situation might arise during the season. This may seem like a waste of time, but it's certainly better than fumbling around in the pitch black on a November morning making more noise than a marching band coming down main street. I also like to do this while wearing my full hunting camo. Just like you should practice shooting in your hunting gear, you should also practice using a climber or setting up a hang-on and sticks while wearing your cold weather gear. It can really be different in the heavy clothing, so it's best to practice and struggle now, rather than during game time.
So while these three ideas might seem a little out there, I'm certain they are well worth the extra work. When you get near the end of your check list of pre-season preparation, consider trying a few of these off the wall ideas. It just might put you over the edge when it comes to tagging that big ole buck!