Pre Season

The summer is winding down. The light is a little longer in the evenings. Just like all the animals in the forest, you know the fall is at hand. That means it’s time to hunt!

Check your gear

Few things in life are as annoying as a broken zipper when you’re five miles from the trail and ten miles from the car. Maybe you got some neat gear over the summer or you replaced something old and worn out. Before you go hunting, take the gear on a camping trip. Test it and make sure it still performs how you want it to. Work out the kinks before it matters.

Range time

Anyone notice ammo prices lately? When I go to the range I’m usually using my .22 or 9mm. My expensive .30-06 ammo sits at home gathering dust. If you want to bring home the big game, it’s time to put in a little work. Marksmanship, like any other skill, requires constant practice. Stop being cheap and put some expensive rounds down range. Practice like you play and use what you will in the field.

Scout

This is absolutely essential. Even if you plan on hunting an area you’ve hunted before, scouting is a must. Begin by looking at maps of your area. Identify water sources, potential travel routes, and areas where they may bed down. Staring at maps will not ensure success. The next step involves putting your boots on and walking. Maybe your area allows for hunting other game like rabbits or squirrels before the big game season starts. Use this opportunity to find sign, food, and cover. The more scouting you do before the season starts the better chance you will have of a harvest.

Exercise

Look down. Do you see a rippling six pack of extreme abs? You probably see a little flab and maybe some food debris. The animals you want to hunt spent the entire summer walking up and down hills for miles and miles. They sleep outside and only eat fresh food. They don’t drink, smoke, or overeat on junk food. Did you spend your summer working out and eating healthy? Hopefully yes but if you didn’t it’s time to hit the gym. The most important muscle you need to work is your heart. Good cardiovascular fitness will give you the stamina to pursue your prey.

Ask

Now is the time to call the game warden in the area you hunt. Ask about the behavior of the animals in your area. They know better than most where the good spots are and where to not waste your time. You should also start asking private land owners for permission. It’s often easier to get permission now before the hordes of other hunters start asking for the same.

With these simple tips you’ll have a higher chance of bringing home some food. Now quit reading the internet and get training!

-Richard Hammack

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