How you can make next hunting season great, right now!
When whitetail season is over, what do you do? Sitting around pining away for next season, or getting lost in last season are tempting, but now is the time you should take action to make next hunting season a great one. Here are my top 3 things you should do right now, to tip the scales in your favor on bagging that big buck next season!
Be a High-Tech Daniel Boone!
With the all downtime you now have, begin locating new areas you’d like to check out on google maps or your favorite app. Yes, this is another way to say you should be scouting, hardcore. Whether private or public land, locate potential pinch points, bedding areas, food sources, and travel corridors you may like to hunt next year. With a new excitement and some potential hot spots located, you can now pick days throughout the winter and spring to put boots on the ground to confirm and prep these spots. Winter and spring, before foliage appears, are great times to gather data on how the deer use the area, identify stand locations, and also get tabs on any good bucks that may still be around. Prepping a spot now for a stand will eliminate the need closer to the season, and allow you the most stealthy hunt and the chance at success come fall. This is also a good time to acquire new leases, or approach landowners in an attempt to secure new hunting areas. This gives you some time to develop that vital hunter-landowner relationship before the next season.
Prime Example: In the winter of 2018 I identified a few potential bedding areas I wanted to check out on pubic ground and decided to take a Saturday to walk the area. During my scout, I found an area that showed no signs of being hunted that year, and it looked perfect for big bucks. It was thick with cover, was away from the main two tracks and hunter corridors, was central to three big feeding areas, showed a line of big rubs from earlier in the fall, and had a perfect funnel of trails just into the edge of prime bedding. With a good climbing tree close to the funnel located, I marked the spot and headed out. Now fast forward to the fall of 2018. The season was here, and I decided to try the location out. I had only placed a trail camera in the area earlier in the fall with not much showing, but with the intel from the winter telling me it should be a good spot, I made my way in the dark, climbed the tree, and saw 17 deer that day arrowing a nice 8 point, all due to putting in work in the off-season.
Be a QA Freak!:
Quality Assurance is vital to making sure every part of your arsenal is in tip-top condition. So, this is a great time to take inventory. Your gear should be checked for safety, and any worn or loose parts. You should also remember what was working, what wasn’t, what was squeaky, and any other problems you had due to the recent ending of the season. Make a list of these now. Buying needed gear will also get you some deals as stores closeout items and are trying to move last year’s inventory. You can also organize, and better inventory your deer through trail camera pictures. Sort through, delete, organize, and study these pictures to give yourself a much better idea of how deer and certain bucks use your land. The more detailed the better. So look at the time of day, pressure, temperature, weather patterns, even moon phases to see if you can find a pattern. This can give you insight into that target buck’s quirky behavior, and possibly reveal chinks in his armor that you can leverage for your advantage next season.
Don’t Take Your Ritalin!
For you ADHD folks, this is not the time to slow down. Use that restless energy now to not only inventory but fix that worn or broken gear. Bolts, nuts, squeaky pivots, or anything that wasn’t working up to par should be tightened, fixed, or replaced. Procrastination is your enemy. Go through all stands, sticks, weapons, and packs to get everything in top condition now so you are ready to hit the woods completely prepared come opening day. Also, this is the time to take stealth to that next level and completely sound-proof all your gear. Eliminating the chance to make noisy mistakes (small or large) is key to elevating your success rate on all deer, especially mature bucks. Using tested products, like Buck Bumper from Sound Barrier, do this effectively and easily, creating a barrier to sound and a path to success for serious hunters.
So don’t sit thinking about the past, take action now on these top 3 offseason strategies to make next season great, right now!
About the Author:
Adam Lewis has been hunting whitetail deer for 29 years and is a freelance writer who has written for North American Whitetail, Bowhunter Magazine, MidWest Outdoors, and many others. He also operates Sound Barrier which specializes in helping hunters increase their stealth advantage on whitetails. Website:https://www.soundbarrierhunting.com/