By Jenna Kaye Taylor
Photos by Hunter Forbes
With deer season quickly approaching, we must get our minds focused on hunting again. Those early mornings and long days of hunting, hopefully followed by late nights tracking deer. There are numerous things that a hunter does to prepare for deer season, varying from person to person.
Ensure that you have the correct licenses and check the hunting regulations in your area. What your preparations consist of also depends on whether you’re hunting private or public land. This to-do list can help, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or trying it out for the first time.
Florida Season Dates
To check your zone’s 2018 season dates in Florida, visit http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/zone-map.
Alabama Season Dates
To check your zone’s 2018 season dates in Alabama, visit http://www.outdooralabama.com/deer-season-zone-map.
First things first. Whether you will be hunting public or private land, you must do some scouting before season opener. I recommend only scouting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Even if you’ve been hunting the same land for years, it’s always good to get your feet on the ground and do some walking to check deer sign and locate bedding areas. Look for thick cover, deer tracks, water and food sources. This will help you in choosing your stand locations.
Running/Checking Trail Cameras
This is a good way to scout your property or public property that you may be hunting. Ensure that you have a good lock box on your camera if you’re hunting public land. After you’ve found good deer sign in the area, put up your trail cameras. Before the season opens, I would recommend checking them every 10 to 14 days.
You don’t want to be in the woods too much. The less pressure on the deer herd, the better. Keep in mind that you can also purchase a mobile trail camera that sends the photos to your phone in real time so you don’t have to physically check it as often.
After you’ve set up your trail cameras, move them as needed. If you’re only getting nighttime photos, move the cameras closer to the bedding area to try and get them in daylight.
Choosing Stand Locations/Checking Old Stands
At this point, you should have your scouting done and a good idea of where you’d like to place your stands or climber when you go hunting. You want to have good cover so you don’t get busted, as well as shooting lanes available to you. Set up your stand, sit in it and have a friend help you determine what needs to be cut. This is a good time to go in and check the straps on your old stands, screw in some hooks and bow hangers, etc.
Tuning up Your Bow/Sighting in Your Gun
A few weeks before you head to the woods, definitely grab your bow or gun and ensure they are sighted in. If you’re archery hunting, take it to your local bow tech to paper tune and grab some new arrows/broadheads for the season. Sharp broadheads go a long way. Put out a target and start flinging a few arrows daily.
These are just a few major things that hunters should do to prepare themselves for the season ahead. You may also need to prepare food plots, clean up your hunting camp or apply for quota hunts. Every hunter is different and has different goals for their hunting season. Regardless, be safe, follow the rules and have fun!