As of today, archery season will begin here in the Southern Zone in only 10 days. So, what do you do if you have procrastinated until now?
The first thing I would do is inspect your bow and if everything looks good, start shooting it every day. You don’t need to shoot 100 shots each day but a couple dozen shots should get the rust off and help your muscles get back in the game.
Start up close and work your way back as you feel confident. Be ready to need a break after a few shots or even to call it quits. I know its time to stop if my shots start pulling left as my let arm if getting tired of being extended and starts to come back towards my body on my release.
The next thing I would worry about is treestands or ground blinds. If they aren’t up already, that should be the priority this weekend (or on your next day off if you work weekends). Go in midday to do your work so hopefully the deer are bedded in thick cover and less likely to stumble into you.
If you haven’t put any trail cameras out, try to use natural habitat features to guess where deer will move. Spots where the woods narrow down between fields will concentrate the deer into that small patch of woods to stay concealed instead of walking into the open in the field.
If you know of apple trees, these spots can be great early in bow season before all the apples are eaten. Try to work quickly so you can get out without leaving a ton of scent in the area. If hanging treestands, remember to wear the proper safety equipment. Make sure you put a pull-up rope on the stand so you can climb up to it without your bow and then you can pull your bow up once you are in the stand.
After getting stands/blinds up, I will also put out trail cameras if I have any. This way by opening day they should have some pictures on them and can help you pattern deer in the area. A cellular camera would be best as it can text/email you the pictures as they are taken instead of you having to go take the memory card out to view them.
Once getting everything done in the woods, I would focus on equipment preparation. The first focus would be clothing. First, I wash all my clothes, then I treat my deer hunting clothes with a permethrin spray to repel ticks. I like to spray them at dusk and let them air dry overnight. The treatment is supposed to last for multiple trips through the washing machine. Now I put them into airtight plastic totes. Next, I look through and make sure I have all the field dressing gear.
Rubber gloves to try to keep my hands somewhat clean in a plastic baggy to put them into once they are dirty for disposal. I put a few small zip ties in the baggy also for putting tags on animals.
I sharpen my knife and make sure I have my drag rope. Next, I make sure my headlamp has batteries in it and it works. Flagging tape is handy for following blood trails or needing to mark something on the walk in or out. I make sure my release is in a place I will remember and that my rangefinder is working. The last thing is to make sure I put my backtag in the tote with my jacket so I can put it on when I get changed the first morning.