This is the time of year when we think about the things we want to do or do different. Last years deer season is done, and our dreams turn to new bucks and deer adventures. Maybe a missed shot, or blown set up, or mistake cost you a great buck last season. Maybe you are disappointed with your gear, hunting spots, skills, or techniques.
Now is when you begin to prepare for next season. Make a list of what you need to do to become a better hunter. Is a new bow or gun needed? Were you uncomfortable and cold in your old garments? Were you getting blisters or sore feet from old boots? Did you shoot just over your target?
Let’s start with your weapon.
Archery Look at the ballistics of your bow. Fast is good but accuracy is critical. Are you using feather or plastic fletching’s? Are illuminocks a part of your shafts? Are your broadheads working properly and are they sharp? Did you wax or Armor All your shafts? Is your release smooth and efficient? Can you hit a teacup at 20 yards with every shot from the ground and a tree stand? How often do you practice? How far can you accurately shoot? Do you use a range finder when in your stand? Do you practice from a tree stand?
Rifle or Gun Know the ballistics of your firearm. How fast are they? What is your trigger pull? What is your drop at 100 yards? Are you using a red dot scope or more significant optics? Is your scope adjustable in the field? What is your eye relief on your scopes? Do you have a BDC system on your reticles? Do you need a bipod? Which is your dominant eye? What is your maximum effective range? How often do you shoot? Does your weapon fit properly?
Clothing Normally hunters wear camo or safety clothes. Does your camo pattern match where you hunt? Does it fit comfortably? Are you too cold or warm when afield? Do your toes get cold? What kind of liner socks are you using? Is your camo flat or 3-D? Do you wear Gore-Tex? Do you practice shooting in what you wear afield? What style hat do you use? Is the brim too long? Do you wear an orange safety hat? Is your safety vest solid orange or a broken camo pattern? Do you wear a safety vest or Great Pumpkin Suit?
Optics Seeing is believing. What type of eyewear do you use? Do you need a prescription? Has your dominant eye changed with age? How do you measure distance? Have you tried amber shooting glasses? Are your binoculars effective in all weather? Do you clean your lenses? What do you see when you aim? Can you see the rear sight, front sight and target at the same time? Is your scope too close to your face? How often do you even use your binoculars?
Scent Smell is so important. How do you store your clothes and gear? What scent is best? What do you wash your clothes in? Does your scent match the smells in your hunting area? Do you use scent drags? Have you tried a 100-yard scent line? How do you identify wind direction? Do you use attractant, urine, or estrus scents? Do you wear rubber scent free boots and gloves? Have you tried hot scents? Have you made mock scrapes?
Location Are you hunting public or private land? Do you scout the area and find bedding and feeding areas? Are you in a tree stand or on the ground? Where is the water source for your property? Are you hunting mornings, evenings, or all day? What is the prevailing wind for your area? Did you recently cut shooting lanes from your stand? Is their nearby hunting pressure? How high is your stand? How long has your stand been set? How early before you hunt is your stand set? Is there a history of good bucks in your area? Where is the sanctuary where no one can hunt? Have you tried to discover better hunting spots?
Calls and Decoys Do you use calls? Can you grunt, bleat, or make any other deer calls? How far from your stand is your decoy? Are you using a buck or doe decoy? Which way is your decoy facing? Do you add scent to your decoy? Do you use a manual or battery powered call? How loud and often do you call?
I think that you are beginning to get my point. The one thing about deer hunting is that there is not just one thing! When you tag a deer, it is because of many things that you have done correctly.
Learn from your mistakes. If you don’t you will repeat them. Never look at deer hunting as something easy. There may be times when it seems that way but over the course of your hunting life, Big Bucks are earned. Celebrate each success but always challenge yourself to become a better hunter. As you age, adjustments, compromises, and changes will happen. Hopefully your experience will compensate for these shortcomings. You may not be as fast, flexible, strong, and slim, but you will be able to adjust and adapt.
Be the Best Hunter you can be!
For more Montana Grant, hunt him up at www.montanagrantfishing.com. See this article and others at www.dannerholzwhitetails.com.