Prepping for the archery season

Mike RaykoviczAugust is now a memory and archery season here in New York’s Southern Zone is set to begin on Oct. 1. Pennsylvania's archery season opens on Oct. 5 and I believe this is the first time the New York season opened before the Pennsylvania season. I’ve always felt extremely lucky to be able to hunt two states because there’s no Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania as there is in New York, so it means I get to hunt seven days a week. With leaves to rake, patio furniture to put away and wood to haul, September is a busy month.

In addition to chores around the house, September means setting out trail cameras, setting stands and visiting with my farmer friends. It used to be a leisurely pace because after all, I had until the middle of October to prepare for the New York opener. Not anymore. While I’m happy for the early New York opening day, it means preparations have to be stepped up. Stands have to be taken out of storage and looked over, ladders have to be moved out of the barn and taken to the woods, safety equipment has to be inspected, and locations have to be scouted.

Beginning Labor Day I get my hunting clothes out of my storage cabinet and set them out to hang under cover on the back deck. They stay there until hunting season begins. Three-day-a-week shooting sessions are now stepped up to five and I switch from field points to the broadhead I’ll be using once the season begins. The broadhead tears up my target somewhat but it’s important that the hunting head impacts to the same point as the field tips. After spending weeks in a tree I don’t want to miss if I get the opportunity for a shot.

Since the properties I hunt are dairy farms, I can’t count on the large amount of corn or alfalfa I see growing in September to be there by the middle of October. This means I have to check other food sources such as the oaks and apple trees that are on the property. Last season, a late spring frost froze the apple blossoms and apple trees were devoid of fruit in October. This year there is a bumper crop of apples and I’m counting on this soft mast to bring deer near in for a shot. I know some hunters will be hanging stands the day before the season begins, but not me. I’ll be ready and waiting.  

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