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Springtime preparations for deer season

Spring has arrived, so it is time to unpack your camouflage, dust off your climbing stand, and prepare for the archery season. That’s right, I said, get ready for archery season. I know the archery season is six months away. It’s time for bagging turkey, and then there will be groundhogs and even early goose season before you need to think about deer again.

Wrong. Spring is the perfect time to think deer. Conditions are now as close to those you will find during the early deer season, and you must take advantage of them.

TEMPERATURES

One of the biggest problems with practicing later in the year, say during the heat of August, is that temperatures prevent practicing as you will hunt. With the mercury hitting the high 80s, you will be tempted to practice in shorts and a tee shirt, rather than the heavy long sleeves, cargo pants, and boots you will be wearing when the rut hits. This means that you may later encounter problems caused by sleeves getting in the way of your string, boots that change your stance, etc., but not if you practice now.

FOLIAGE

Another common problem with summer preparation is the need for an accurate picture of the conditions where you hang your stand. When you select a tree in August, you will do so during the year’s heaviest foliage. This means you will be guessing when determining your fields of fire, where the best trails are, and even where deer may hide closest to your location.

If you select a location now, you will see many of the same conditions before the foliage blooms as after the leaves drop. You will also see what vegetation may provide cover for you and the deer throughout the season. Most importantly, you will be able to observe the trails after a winter’s worth of use — the trails that the deer use during periods of pattern rather than when disrupted by other hunters.

TIME FOR CORRECTIONS

How many times have you hit the range and found your bowstring needs to be replaced or your arrows need to be re-fletched? How about when you tried the new release you got for Christmas, only to find it completely changed your form? Almost all of us encountered bumps in the road when getting ready. When it happens weeks before the opening day, we are left scrambling to find a replacement or climbing the stand on the first day, and we need more confidence than usual.

By starting your training now, you will have time to fix all your problems with plenty of spare time. You can even learn new skills without worrying about whether you will have time to master them before putting them to work in the field. The more practice you get in, even if it’s half a dozen arrows an afternoon, the more confident you will be come fall.

So, get out there now and see the dividends pay off in six months.

Good luck and good hunting.

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