The Off-Season – Are You Becoming a Better Bowhunter?

The months of January through August or September, for the majority of bowhunters, can be defined as the “off-season.”  These are the months where you have the opportunity to recharge your batteries and spend every waking moment waiting for opening day.  The “off-season” is also time for fishing, camping, family, the lake, summer vacations and a multitude of other things.  I personally know lots of bowhunters that put away their bow and everything else until a couple weeks before the season begins and attempt to get to the top of their shooting game, hang stands and research new properties in a matter of a few days.  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s easy to get busy and push aside the “preparation” part of bowhunting.  In the last 5 years I’ve become much better at staying sharp in multiple aspects of bowhunting rather than trying to sharpen up as the season nears.  Whether your goal is to kill any deer or a monster buck, utilizing the “off-season” may help you accomplish your goal quicker.

One thing that I’ve noticed over the past few years is that the guys that consistently achieve their goals, don’t have an “off-season.”

If there is one thing that most bowhunters actually do in the “off-season,” it is shooting their bow.  Spring and Summer are an excellent time to visit 3D shoots and other competitions to hone your skills.  Shooting is great, but if you’re not able to put yourself in the position to get a shot, your shooting ability couldn’t be more useless.

In the age of technology that we find ourselves in today, it’s relatively simple to do things like overlaying a topo map with an aerial photo.  For obvious reasons, aerials and topos are probably one of the biggest advantages a bowhunter has over his quarry in understanding.  Combining any knowledge you might have of a property with aerials and topos can help you understand why the animals are doing what they are and where you may need to be.  Granted these tools can be utilized year round but the “off-season” gives you the opportunity to get into the woods and have a minimal affect on the game.  Using a GPS allows you to mark spots and see exactly where they are on both aerials and topos.

Images such as this can point out hot spots that even the most seasoned bowhunters could overlook

After you’ve prepared yourself and your property, it’s time to try and further your knowledge and understanding of the animals you pursue.  Reading books, hunter experiences and other types of literature are an excellent way to elevate your mental game. offers a quality lineup of reading material to help you get through the “off-season.”  Just like anything else in life the better you understand what you’re doing, the more successful you will be.

One good read that is offered here at  Click HERE to see the full selection.

Turn your “off-season” into a “pre-season,” and ask yourself the question, “What am I doing to become a better bowhunter?”… The answer may surprise you.


  1. Jason @GameGlide says:

    Good article Dustin.
    Your article describes me almost perfectly. I do shoot (a little) in the off season, but need to get better at early off season scouting/prep.
    I recently wrote a similar post on my blog, but mine took a slightly different approach to off-season prep than yours. My approach was about using the off season to get in better physical shape for the season: [i]Top 7 Articles about Preseason Exercise for Hunters[/i] link to

    Sorry for the blatant plug for my site, but I thought that it was a good match for this article.


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