Opening day of the 2017 Maryland archery season is just three weeks from today! For many of us, that means it's "go" time for shooting our bows, preparing our hunting equipment, and scoping out our early season hunting locations. For others with private land, it means hanging fixed stands, setting trail cam's and preparing food plots. For us, it's a combination of both, since we have one small piece of private land, we have been working on our Fall Food Plot, we have a stand to hang, and we got our camera's out. On the other hand, we have to prepare for hunting public land as well, that means scouting hunting locations and scoping out what's in the area of those locations.
As every other year, I cannot stress enough, practice, practice, and more practice. Whether you shoot a compound, long bow, re-curve, or crossbow you cannot practice enough. Getting yourself ready for the shot is more important than getting your equipment ready. Getting your bow sighted in can normally be done in a reasonable amount of time, but getting your body physically and mentally ready for that shot of a lifetime can take time. For example, I have heard the old story of "I went and shot my bow and I was dead on, next night I went out and was off", what happen to my bow in just a day? Well, the answer is normally (not always) nothing happened to your bow, it's you. On the rare occasion something does happen to your bow, something is loose, it got banged putting it away, etc., but normally it's that your body is off and that could mean that you are physically tired or your head just isn't thinking about shooting that evening. Practicing can help make sure that time you were "off" isn't the day that your taking that shot of a lifetime at a trophy.
The other thing I always stress as the season nears is to check all your equipment, make sure your treestands are in good, safe working order. Perform any yearly maintenance that is needed to make sure you're safe for the hunting season. Check the date on your screw in steps if you use them; if they are outdated replace them before you get hurt. Check your safety harness, a lot of them are dated now and should they go out of date replace them! Here is an article that will help explain "Ultimate Harness Shelf-life Guide" that also suggests replacement every 5 years based on OSHA and other standards and also states replace if a fall takes place. If you have ever fallen in your harness you should replace it ASAP, most all manufactures suggest calling them should you fall. I have never fallen, but I am told a lot of times they will replace it or make suggestions on what should be replaced. Should you have any questions about your harness and if it should be replaced contact the manufacture, as they always will be happy to give you guidelines on if and when their harness you are using should be replaced. I personally recommend the hardness below. I like this version but they make a number of different sizes and styles. Make sure you select one that fits correctly, and works for your needs. In my article Treestand Safety, I talk about all the different styles of harnesses and pro's and con's of each.
Finally, get your hunting clothes out, make sure they are still in good shape and get them washed and scent free. I normally will wash my clothes with a soap like Dead Downwind Laundry Soap, then I will store them with a Hunter's Specialties Fresh Earth Cover Scent Wafers (3 Pack), and finally I will use a cover scent/ scent eliminator such as Scent Killer 579 Wildlife Research Super Charged Scent Killer Autumn Formula Spray 24/24 Combo, 48 oz.. Between these three measures plus just being mindful about scent control, I find it to be pretty effective. Scent control is important especially when hunting a big mature buck, but really hunting any white unless your hunting an area that has a ton of people in the woods all the time, then I believe it's less important, but still recommended.
Well, with just three weeks left until the season are you ready? We would love to hear from you our readers, leave a comment or send us an email!
We will hopefully have trail cam photo posts coming soon, and updates on what we are doing to get ready for the season in the coming weeks.