Late-summer laundry list for bowhunters
With little over a month until the statewide Pennsylvania archery season opener, there are certain housekeeping items every bowhunter should begin checking off his or her to-do list.
For those taking summer inventory of local prospects, well-placed trail camera SD cards should already be filling up with photos of potential hit-listers. Organizing these images into digital folders for analysis is the first piece of the puzzle in figuring out a strategy for opening day.
Study the time of day and direction of the deer when photos were taken. Consider late afternoon and evening photos as indicators of deer likely going to water or feed and morning photos as deer heading toward bedding cover, while mid-day images can sometimes mean you’re already close to a prime bedding area.
Take out a map or aerial photo of your hunting property and mark these times and image locations on the map. Over subsequent weeks, you can begin to build a pattern of deer movement to help inform your stand placement in preparation for the season.
For stands already hung, it is important to check their safety and reliability and trim any necessary shooting lanes. Be conscious of scent and don’t spend more time where you plan to hunt than necessary. The same goes for checking trail cameras.
As for bow practice, the key to success is to shoot, shoot and shoot some more! Mastering archery tackle takes time and repetition. Form good habits and vary your distances and angles. 3-D archery shoots are perfect for realistic, in-the-field practice.
Take a good look at your gear and update it as needed. A lot of outdoor retailers have incredible pre-season sales. Take advantage of the opportunity to get some upgraded gear at a downgraded price. It’s easier to explain to your spouse you bought stuff on a killer sale, as everyone appreciates a good deal.
Be sure to read up on local hunting regulations to ensure your hunt goes smoothly and safely. Check for law changes, license requirements and boundary lines. If supplemental feed or minerals were put out over the summer, make sure it is out of the area 30 days in advance of opening day, and remember, all tree stands and ground blinds must be tagged on public lands.
There’s no doubt, time and effort spent preparing for the season directly correlates with one’s ultimate success once the starting bell sounds. Put in the work now to reap the benefits in the weeks to come. The season looms near.