Opening day of archery is almost upon us. For hunters in NY, MI, IA, PA (etc.), October 1st marks a special day on the calendar. The air has begun to change, and the nostalgia cool air of Fall begins to settle around us. As we anticipate the season, most of us having been shooting bow for (hopefully) several months now. Broadheads get tuned and all our gear gets pulled out and arranged. Here is a quick list of items I go through in the days leading up to season:
1. Check stands- By this time, I’ve gone over my tree stands. I’ve replaced cables, and optimized anything on my portable sets that caused me problems last year. If something was making noise, I am wrapping it in hockey tape. If something was broken, I fix it. Quiet treestands could be the difference between an empty or filled tag; safe treestands could mean the difference of life and death.
2. Tune Broadheads- I have good luck shooting Grim Reaper broadheads in that I don’t have to do much bow tuning for them. I shoot field points all summer and only switch to broadheads to make sure no minor adjustments need to be made before heading into the woods. At this same time, I also tune with Nockturnal lighted nocks on my arrows since they are heavier than a regular nock. Making sure your hunting set up is accurate is the ethical thing to do. Don’t just assume your broadheads will me in tune. I’m not super techy when it comes to my bow, but now is also the time I do one last check of my bow’s cams, string sights, etc.
3. Wash clothing- I wash my clothing in scent free detergent. Don’t ask me if it works because I am torn on the subject. What I do know is that I feel like it works and that gives me more confidence and a more positive outlook which keeps me in the stand longer. What I do know is beneficial is air drying clothing after it is laundered. I hang my clothes out on the line to dry instead of running them in a dryer and picking up the scent and smell of fabric softener, detergent as well as the human odor that is in the dryer. This was one of the things I never could make sense of with carbon clothing. Why was the carbon not “absorbing” all of the scent that was present in the dryer? Wouldn’t the carbon layer be saturated when it came out of the dryer? Reactivating of carbon is done at 800 degrees celsius, so I couldn’t help but wonder if I was just tumbling my clothing around in a smelly dryer for no reason. Washing my clothes and hanging them to dry prior to season gives my clothes a bath of fresh air and gives me the opportunity to go over all of the items and organize them in my bins. This way I know where everything is and can find it quickly before I head to the stand.
4. Fill your Pack- If you carry a back pack to the woods the week before season starts is a great time to fill your pack with the essentials you will need for the hunt. My pack contents look a little different for all day rut hunts than during the early season when I am mostly hunting evenings. However, I carry camera gear into the woods all season long and so I organize these items in my pack and make sure I have a consistent system where each item goes so I can pack or unpack in the dark.
5. Plan your hunt- About ten days out I begin to look at www.wunderground.com for weather data during the upcoming days. I am not only interested in what opening day will be like, but also the days leading up to it. If the opener happens to be another hot day on the back side of three other unseasonably warm days it is probably not going to get me too excited. However, if a cold front is forecasted to hit after several warming days, it could be the perfect time to get into a higher percentage stand. When I am looking at this weather, I am also eliminating stands in my mind based on wind direction. There are certain stands that just can’t be hunted on specific prevailing wind directions. This is why it is important to find stand locations for all wind directions. Going into a stand on the wrong wind direction can be the best way to ruin your season before it can even begin. To that point, it is important to monitor the wind direction once you get to your location as the prevailing wind is not necessarily indicative to how the local wind currents and thermal drafts are behaving around your stand. Weather data gives you a starting point to fine tune your stand selection. It also gives you an idea of what you need to pack- extra layers, rain gear, etc. I continue to check the local weather each day before the opener because it can change that rapidly and I want to have time to readjust a plan if I need to.
6. Call the processor- Make sure the processor is going to be around and can take your deer. If you are lucky enough to get an early season deer, the meat can spoil quickly in 65-70 daytime temps. You should be prepared to process the deer immediately or have a butcher lined up who you can take it to right after you harvest it.
Remember- luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
Email me at CommonGroundBowhunter@gmail.com