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The Roving Sportsman

By Jon Pries
Final Preparations
 
 

With just under two weeks to go until the opening day of our statewide archery deer season — Saturday, September 30th to be exact — there is still time for some important last-minute items you should consider.
Inventory and check your equipment. Now, while you still have time, is when you should verify that you are not missing any items or need to replace some worn out gear. Next to your backpack, lay out and check your calls, lures, drag glove or rope, knife and bone saw, parachute chord, marking tape, Ziploc bags (for the heart and liver), wire or string for attaching harvest tag to ear of deer, a paperback book or magazine (to help you wile away the hours without nodding off and missing that buck-of-a-lifetime that might be sneaking by!), and anything else you deem essential. Once checked, pack them into the backpack, then make a list and place it on top of your backpack. The list is for the night-before items, such as food, snacks and plenty of water for hydration, raingear depending on the weather forecast, and last, but not least, is your cell phone — it might be your lifeline if you have an emergency or need help dragging out your deer.
Practice, practice, practice. Even if you have been diligently shooting your bow up until now, spend time over the next week or so, shooting practice as much as possible. There is no substitute for shooting a lot and reaching the point where you are extremely comfortable with your shooting. The confidence you gain will allow you to be more relaxed and be more accurate in your shooting when the time comes to take that actual shot in the field. Practice shots from both standing and kneeling positions, and, if possible, practice shooting from a ladder stand or climber stand to better simulate what you will be doing in the woods.
A few days before opening day — not the day before — do a final run through of your stands. Make sure no trees or limbs have come down that obstruct your shooting lanes, check for possible scrapes or rubs, check your trail cameras to verify the latest patterning of the deer you hope to see while hunting and make sure you identify the best way to get to your stands in the wee hours of the morning when there may be total darkness.
Acorns are beginning to fall and soon the beechnuts will begin to drop as well. Food plots will continue to mature and become more palatable to the deer, and much of the field corn has not yet been picked by area farmers. All of this means that the preferred food sources of our whitetails will change throughout the season, thus having multiple locations of tree stands, blinds or hunting spots will be beneficial as these food preferences changes. You still have time to place an additional stand or two, but time is running out quickly.
What will you do once you are fortunate enough to get a deer this season? Will you take it to be processed, or do you do your own butchering? If you normally take it somewhere, you might want to make a call to verify that your processor is still doing the work you like, and if not, you have time to locate another place to take your deer. If you do your own work, check now to make sure you have sufficient supplies, such as vacuum bags or material, freezer paper and tape, and all of the canning supplies if you enjoy canning some venison for later use.
Finally, have you checked your freezer lately? A quick check now will make sure you have plenty of room for any new venison you may get this year. Mark your calendar to check your freezer next year several months before the season, so that you can clear out unwanted items well before the season begins. If you don’t know of a local church or charity where meat or other frozen items can be donated, go online and check out Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry — their website is www.fhfh.org. They coordinate the donation of venison to feed the less fortunate, and have a list of processors and coordinators who will help get the job done.


 
 
 
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