1. Getting sighted in: After the long wait between seasons, and my bow case being moved around in the garage many times, it is a must to check your bow BEFORE the season opens. To do this I like to shoot my favorite 3d target course a few times a week. Figure out if your bow needs to be tuned, arrows need to be replenished, etc etc. Right now archery shops are being bombarded with bows in need of service. There are currently long waits to get anything done to your essential tool for hunting. Get it in now or you might be faced with sitting on your couch opening day rather than in a tree stand. Also as stated before, I love to shoot 3d targets as a great practice tool before the season opens. There are several locations throughout both states. My go to place is TAZ Archery located in Woodstock,IL. Taz has a 20 target outdoor course, and a 20 yard indoor range. TAZ offers some of the best products on the market and a full service pro shop. If your ever in the area stop in and see Tim Zimmerman the owner, and he will always be more than happy to help you with any of your archery needs. TAZ's 3d course is top notch in my book. Yardage of targets along the course range anywhere from 20-50 yards. This helps in all scenarios of hunting. The 3d course is well maintained, and targets and yardages change every week.
2. Pre Season Scouting- This by far is one of the most exciting things to do before the opener. If you have trail cameras get them set out ASAP. Now is a great time to figure out those moving patterns on your hunting grounds. With the advancement of trail cameras over the past few years, figuring out what deer our on your grounds has never been easier. Take an inventory of your deer heard, and see what big bucks may be lurking around your woods. Form a "Hit List" and target that next wall hanger. As of right now I would be placing my cameras in travel corridors between bedding ares and food and water. Water is going to play a big key this year I believe with the extreme drought we have had this year. If you have water on your land consider focusing around that for the opener. As the magical month of November nears deer will scatter and tend to move throughout the day as the Rut kicks in. Most deer around the opener will be moving in the early mornings and late evenings to and from food sources.
Try the video settings on your trail cameras as well. Sometimes this helps determine which direction those deer are coming from. By doing so you can determine where your best chance of setting your stand is going to help you put a big buck on the ground.
3. Tree Stand Placement- As stated above, the pre season scouting is essential to figuring out which tree you should be perched up in this fall. Scouting can be a pain, but come open season this could make the difference between a successful hunt or hours wasted sitting in a tree. Once you hone in on where deer are traveling across your grounds and what time they are moving through there, then get those stands hung. The sooner you hang them, the more used to them the deer are. Whitetails can be spooky and setting that stand a week before the opener can make them turn the other direction rather than walking right by your stand. Also be sure to wear a safety harness while in a tree stand! The number 1 cause of hunting accidents and deaths occur from guys and gals falling out of there stand. It is a must! Your life depends on it!
4.Inventory your gear- I like to do this a few weeks before the season opens. You never know what you might need or forget. Broadheads, arrows, deer drag, knife, flashlight, scent spray, deer scents, etc. etc. The list can go on and on. Make sure you have all the essentials you will need while in the field. Check now while you still have time to find your field knife, or time to go buy those broadheads you need.
5. Field Scouting - Once you have the movement of deer dialed in, get out one evening or morning and set-up at least 100 yards away from the travel corridor. Sit and watch,video, or photograph those deer moving through. This helps determine what direction they are coming from and where they are going to. This can also be a key tool in figuring out where there bedding areas are, and what food they are going to eat. Most deer will be feeding in soy bean fields and of course cornfields. If you can figure out where they are eating you can bet that you will have a deer down in the first few weeks of the season.
In closing these are just a few key tips I like to focus on before the season starts. These are not all of them, but it is defiantly a great start. Get your skills sharpened, stands hung, and start scouting. If you accomplish these tasks your season will be a great success. Good luck to all, and straight shootin this season.
TAZ Archery (815) 337-0332
13814 Washington St. Unit 2