By: Chase Larson
It’s that time of year again! A time where you wake up before your 4:00 am alarm clock. A time where you stand outside and feel the fall chill in the air. Then, you realize that there’s still a couple weeks left before the start of bow season. And because of this, there are a lot of things to check off your pre-season list in order to get into the stand and accomplish your goals of harvesting a whitetail this fall.
Here’s the “Its Crunch Time” checklist:
Make sure you have scouted and have done your homework with looking into hanging stands where there are natural pinch points and a lot of available sign. Look to improve your land with coming up with ways to have the three essentials. This would include food, water, and shelter being applied to the property. This could be achieved through making small man made ponds around the property, planting food plots in fields or taking advantage of your trails, or making sure you are thinking ahead when planting trees and other native plants for future bedding areas.
Be sure to safety check all of your tree stands. Look for normal wear and tear on cables and straps, as well as finding and replacing rusted out bolts. Also, look for any cracking on the joints or frame of your tree stand. Once fixed and replaced make sure you set up and trim out your tree stands so you have clear shooting lanes to shoot through. Tree stand placement is crucial, so be sure to place different stands in various locations where you know you can hunt them based on the direction of the wind and weather for that day.
Because you most likely will be hunting in a tree stand during the duration of the bow season, you have to think about coming home to your family and friends after every hunt. Safety harnesses are a key ingredient to staying safe in the woods. But, what people don’t know is that safety harnesses are a great tool to have but it offers you a false sense of security. The reason this is, is because most accidents occur during the transition in and out of the tree stand. So, wearing this safety harness is a great idea to have but you are missing a key item. This key item is called a lifeline. What a lifeline does is that it keeps you connected from the base of your tree with your safety harness all the way up to the top. That way, during that transition process of getting in and out of the stand you know that you’re always connected.
Hunting clothes are another must have item. There are so many brands, styles, and price points out there so be sure to do your research and try them all on to figure out what you like. Be sure to wash your clothes in some sort of detergent that eliminates odor. Some garments require you to put them in the dryer for 5 minutes to activate the odor eliminating compounds within the garment itself. You also may want to think about purchasing an odor free garment bag to store your hunting clothes in after every hunt.
Perfect practice makes perfect. Take the time and sight in your bow. Take it in to your local archery shop to get tuned up. Be sure to practice in all applications. Some of these applications may include shooting in all your hunting gear, shooting from your tree stand or an elevated platform, and shooting at various distances. Always take some shots the day before you go to the stand to make sure everything is dead on and you’ll be able to head to the stand the next day with confidence in that all your equipment is working properly.
The pieces of this list are key components in becoming successful this fall. There are a lot of factors that apply and play into the challenges of hunting and being an ethical hunter. Through practice, patience, and the willingness to always learn and apply new and old techniques you will be successful in taking a whitetail this fall.