Summer unofficially kicked off this past weekend with the Memorial Day holiday, which means Georgia’s archery deer season will be here before you know it. Not soon enough. But before you know it. There is no better time than now to start preparing for the upcoming season. In fact, here are five things you can start doing now to tip the odds in your favor come fall.
Now is a great time to scout. But then again, there aren’t a lot of BAD times to scout. The best part about scouting this time of year is the deer have plenty of time to excuse your intrusion before the kickoff of deer season. This is also a great time because the woods are looking a lot like they will in early bow season. So you can get a good feel for how thick an area truly is and how much trimming you will need to do for good shooting lanes. Aside from getting your trail-cameras out — which we will discuss in the next section — you can use this time to better learn the lay of the land, check out spots you may have overlooked last season, and even start pinpointing stand locations. If you are fortunate to live in an agricultural area with plenty of crop fields around, summer is a great time to get in some evening glassing to see what bucks are using the fields and how they are entering and exiting those fields.
Get Those Trail-Cams Out
Don’t wait until season is almost here to put out your trail-cameras. Get them out now so you have plenty of time to move them around to pinpoint travel patterns as well as the quality of bucks in the area. Sure, the bucks are really just getting a good start on growing antlers, but it’s always fun to watch that growth and monitor their development as the season progresses.
Why not take advantage of this time of year, before it gets unbearably hot and start hanging some stands. Again, this will give the deer plenty of time to settle down from your intrusion, will allow you to go ahead and get your shooting lanes trimmed back an with that step out of the way, you now have more time to focus on other aspects of the preparation, like shooting your bow!
Shoot Your Bow
For years I was one of those guys who hung his bow up after deer season and didn’t pick it back up until a few weeks before the next one — which may explain my poor success rate early in my bowhunting career. Fortunately, several years in, I discovered the fun of shooting 3D archery and I suddenly had a reason to shoot all year. If you have never shot 3D archery, I would highly encourage you to give it a try. But even if you don’t, set aside time weekly to shoot your bow during the off season. You will be amazed at how much more confident you will be with your shooting ability when the season arrives. We owe it to the game we pursue to be as proficient with our equipment as possible to make a quick, humane kill.
Find a New Spot
Are you limited on places to hunt? If so, you are certainly not alone in your struggle. However, summer is a great time to work on that problem. Network with family, friends, coworkers or anyone who will listen and let them know you are looking for a new place to hunt. You’d be surprised how often a friend of a friend owns land or has a family that owns land and it’s much easier to gain permission with someone to vouch for you. Aside from networking, you can go the old fashioned route and knock on doors. You can find potential spots by looking at aerials on Google Earth, then visit your county tax assessor office (or look them up online. Many of them have free websites), and find out who owns the land. Knock on their door, dressed presentably (not in camo ready to hunt), and ask about hunting the property. This is not the high-percentage tactic that it once was, but if you knock on enough doors, sooner or later you will get a ‘yes.’
I don’t want to wish my summer away, but I sure am looking forward to the first sunrise of deer season. But since we all have to make it through these next few months, we may as well use the time to do everything we can to prepare for a safe, successful deer season. If you’ll work on these five tasks from now until September, you’ll definitely be ahead of the game come opening day. Good luck this season!