If you want to have a successful hunting season it requires a little bit of preparation and a little bit of work, but the payoff can be huge. Putting in the effort takes away the luck of hunting; the harder you work and prepare the more successful you will be in your hunting efforts.
Get your Licenses
It goes without saying that getting your hunting licenses purchased is paramount. No one wants to be that guy who doesn’t have his paperwork in order. If you are hunting out-of-state it is even more important to be prepared well in advance. Print your licenses and make sure that if you need to have them signed you get that done. Keep your licenses in a Ziploc bag so that they are protected from rain, water or snow. No one wants soggy paperwork. Buy your Federal Duck Stamp if you plan on waterfowl hunting. Check, read, carry and understand your regulations. If you have questions, call in to your game and fish department and ask questions.
Secure your Ammo
Ammunition is hard to secure. Do not leave ammunition shopping to the last minute. If you have a new hot caliber, run to your local gun store early and know that it may take more than one trip. As well, log in to Guns.com and check the stock daily until you find what you are looking for. Specialty and popular calibers may be hard to find.
Get in Shape
Start walking daily. Walk in your boots and with your pack especially if you plan on putting on miles with your fall hunting. If you use different boots for different types hunting, get those boots on your feet. It is not necessarily important to break in your boots, although that can be important. It is most important to prepare your feet and to break in your feet to your boots. Walking or running is also important to get your lungs and your leg muscles in shape and ready for the season.
Practice Your Shooting
Practice your shooting, whether you are bow hunting, rifle hunting or shotgun hunting waterfowl or upland birds. The confidence you get from practicing can help you make the shot when the pressure is on. Once you finish sighting in with your rifle, practice a drill of shooting your first shot and two follow up shots in succession as quickly as you can fire off those shots. Practicing this drill two to three times can give you the confidence you need if and when you need to make follow up shots.
Clean your Guns
Clean, lubricate and wipe down your guns and weapons. Check your bow strings and make sure all of your guns are in working order. If you are having trouble with a particular gun get it looked at by a qualified gunsmith. As well, check all of the screws on your scope and your gun sling to make sure everything is ready.
Do your Research and Scouting
Download Huntstand on your computer and set up an account. Get your layers and everything you need and download your maps for the area you are hunting. Look for pinch points and field edges in the area you are planning on hunting. Get your trail cameras up. Take a look at some of the great cameras from spypoint.com. These trail cameras have cellular antennas, solar panels and a new app that allows you to add in your maps, weather and a membership to help you become a better hunter. Don’t be afraid to get out and glass which is especially important for waterfowl hunters and those hunting areas with big open lands.
Check your Stands
If you are a tree stand hunter you need to check your stands and bring extra straps and replace them. If you are hanging stands make the effort to hang your stands properly. Use lineman straps to keep yourself safe. Never hang your stands alone. Check out all of your blinds and replace things that need to be replaced, fix any holes and do the extra work so you can enjoy the days you have in the field.
Prepare your Gear
Wash and prep your hunting clothing with fragrance free soap so it is clean and scent free. Spray all of your clothing including socks, base layers, and your outer clothing with Ranger Ready’s Scent Zero Permethrin 0.5% repellent. We recommend their Scent Zero line because it has no scent and is undetectable by deer, and will last for up to 40 days or 5 washes. Pair this with Ranger Ready’s Scent Zero Picaridin 20% body-worn repellent, for 12 hours of protection from ticks and mosquitoes. Remember that temperatures averaging over 45 degrees still have active ticks in the field, and of course mosquitoes are active at those temperatures as well.
Wash and prepare your pack and carefully select your gear. Test and replace all batteries and select only the gear you need for your hunt. Sharpen your knives and silence all of your gear. Pack a first aid kit in your pack as well as extra water and food for more than one day just to be on the safe side.
Get an oil change for your vehicle and make sure that all fluids are topped off. Check the air pressure and wear on your tires and if you need new ones, get them before the season starts. Make sure that any mechanical issues are taken care of.
Make sure you have the time available to get out and hunt as many days as you can during the season. The more time you spend in the field the more opportunity you have to enjoy a successful season.