These are some things you can do right now to help you have a successful fall deer hunting season. Consistently successful hunters are one who get prepared well before the season begins.
1. Get in Shape or Stay in Shape
I will begin with the simple advice that it is always a good idea to visit your physician and get a good thorough physical, especially prior to embarking on a fitness routine. Have him advise you on a good routine if you wish.
Otherwise, begin with just some walking. A 30 minute walk each day to begin with is a good start. Incorporate some easy stretching as part of the routine, preferably after you have warmed up your muscles. As time goes by, increase distance and speed, and seriously consider carrying some weight in a pack to simulate what will happen in the field. If the terrain where you will hunt is hilly or mountainous, do some work in similar terrain.
Don’t neglect diet. I don’t necessarily mean go on a diet, but eat in a healthy manner. You want to increase the number of seasons you get to hunt. This diet and exercise routine can form habits that will help maximize these years to their fullest.
2. Spend Time in the Area You will Hunt
Whether you will hunt on your own private property or on public land, becoming intimately familiar with the terrain, deer habits, etc., is invaluable. Though deer movement and behavior is quite different this time of the year than it will be during hunting season, there is much you can learn. For example, discovering exact location of trees and plants on which local deer browse will help you later when you start to plan hunting spots and/or stand sites. Though they will use trails differently, you will likely be able to find and mark out travel corridors. Consider placing a game camera if your hunting area is private property.
3. Begin to Practice with Your Bow or Firearm
Getting out once or more a month now with your firearm, or practicing consistently with your bow is a far superior plan to going into panic mode right before hunting season. We sell used firearms, firearm ranges are packed soon before deer season begins and they are far less used right now. If you are a firearms hunter, spreading out the cost of ammunition doesn’t hurt anything either. By using your firearm or bow consistently, you will become much more natural with it and will start to sense of any problems are developing. Getting a gun fixed in May or June is a lot easier than in mid-October.
4. Do a Gear Check
Go through your gear and see what is in good shape, what needs repair, and what needs to be replaced. Go through in your mind any needs you had during last season for gear you don’t have. If it’s a big ticket item, you can start saving for it now. Also, by starting to look around now, you might find a bargain for the item you are seeking. When it comes to tree stands and safety harnesses, if in doubt, replace the item. As we all know, there are far more hunters injured in tree stand mishaps than by firearms. Don’t let it happen to you.
5. Do Something to Improve Habitat
Whether it is on your own land or on public land, see what you can do to make the area where you wish to hunt better. If you own your own land, there are multiple resources available to help you. There are commercial websites and organizations devoted to deer management practices. Also, check with your state’s conservation department or department of natural resources. Many have programs to assist local landowners.
If you hunt public land, contact the agency that manages the land and see what you can do to help the local habitat. It is unlikely that they will turn down the offer of volunteer assistance. Be open-minded on this. Don’t go into it thinking they are going to let you clear an area where you want to hunt and plant a food plot. They might employ your assistance on their next herd count in the area or something like that. Getting to know these folks might be your ticket to some great insight.