Getting An Early Start

By: Eric Davis

Getting an Early Start

When I stayed the night at my grandfather’s house as a young kid, I could never figure out why (or how) he got up so early every day.

On days when we were going fishing, when he would wake me up, he already had our lunches packed and breakfast was waiting for me. Then on days when a later start was alright, he still was up drinking coffee and watching hunting and fishing shows on his television.

Now as an adult, I am starting to understand some of it. On the weekends I find myself waking up within 10 minutes of “missing” my usual alarm in the morning. I used to see this as an issue because I would try to fall back asleep for an hour or more before finally getting out of bed. I have learned to just get up and start working on something, if it is quiet enough not to wake my wife up, because any amount of progress on a project is better than no progress. Spring is the perfect time of year to apply this mentality to other aspects of outdoor recreation.

Turkey season is only 38 days away (31 days for youth hunters). You can take my advice literally and get up early to go listen for gobbling birds before going to work, school, or wherever else you may be headed in the day.

This early in the spring pinpointing a roost location may not lead to success on Opening Day as birds will move around using different roosts. However, knowing general areas where turkeys are hanging out lets you come back closer to the season as a follow-up. The bachelor groups that toms formed last summer and stayed in all winter will begin to break up as each bird tries to establish his own territory to attract hens.

A more figurative way to get an early start is to work on any projects for deer season you have been thinking about. If you are putting in food plots or thinking about food plots, go get a soil sample and have it tested to know what amendments you might need. This will give you time to get fertilizer or lime and let it work before trying to plant seeds. Do some maintenance on your treestands. Make sure the rachets straps holding them to the tree are in good shape, trim obvious problem branches now before they can grow all year and be a bigger problem in the fall or consider moving the stand closer to a frequently used trail now, so the deer get used to it. Do some last-minute fruit tree pruning before they can bud out for the spring.

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Firearms and ammunition are still a hot commodity so start looking for the equipment you want or need now. Buying a new bow or crossbow now will give you the next 6 months to get used to it before carrying it in the deer woods. Another smart purchase now is hunting clothing. With new lines hitting stores, old stock can get discounted heavily letting you get an entire setup for the regular price of just one piece. Looking now also lets you get things in the right size instead of being forced to buy something because it is the only option.

Anglers can get out their gear and get things ready. Trout season starts in just over a week. Spending some time cleaning and lubricating your reels and then putting fresh line on them will have them ready not only for April 1 but for the entire season.

Go through tackle boxes and get things reorganized. Throw out torn up soft plastics or dull, rusty hooks. Bass tournament anglers have until June but now is a great time to look over your boat and make sure all the required safety equipment is there and is still valid. Get your trailer inspected now to get it out of the way to avoid issues later.

Whether you are a hunter or an angler, taking the opportunity now to get ahead on a project or two can pay handsomely later in the year.


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