Now is the time to get everything ready for bow season. Although I spend all year looking for deer sine and potential stand sites, I really start to kick it in to gear about now. I will go and really see if any thing has changed from last year and get an idea of how the deer are traveling. Deer will bed during the day and feed at night, the idea is to catch them from their way to and from these two points.
Before I go out to a potential new hunting spot I will look at it on Google Earth and get an idea of the lay of the land. I try to get an idea of where might be the best places to hunt so I can maximize my time out in the field. When I am looking at it, I look for potential bedding areas, potential feeding areas, hills, valleys, water and anything else that might effect how the deer will move thru the area that I am planning to hunt.
Deer are lazy, they will take the path that is the easiest for them. Because of this they will take valleys and ridges as much as possible. Look at almost every valley there will almost always be a deer trail down the middle of it, the likewise will be for the ridges. A deer trail is a path that is used by deer on a regular bases, the result is lack of vegetation on the path that they take, making a highway thru the woods.
When I am out in the woods scouting things that I will look for are, bedding areas, feeding areas, valleys, deer trails, tracks, droppings, exedra. I feel the most important thing to finding the place to put your stand is to find the most traveled trail between bedding and feeding. Look at the tracks in the trail most of them will be in the same direction. So if the tracks in the trail are facing away from bedding and toward feeding, you can assume that a stand placed on this trail will be most productive in the evening. The same will go for if the tracks where facing bedding will be most productive in the morning.
Now is the time to go over your tree stands and equipment and make shore that it all in working order. Sound proof the tree stands and any other gear that might make noise in the woods. If you use any lubricants make shore that you use one that will work at all temperatures. Some lubricants can make it even noisier than if you didn’t use any at all in cold temperatures. Even thou the cold weather is a long time out, you don’t want to take time that to mess with your stands in the middle of hunting season. I personally don’t lubricate my stands because of the varied of temperatures that I hunt in. In early season it can be in the 80’s a lot of the time, but I have been out bow hunting when it was in the 90’s. In late bow season I have been out in when it has been in the -20’s.
Practice shooting your bow, if you don’t everything else you do will be in vain. Practice at a low poundage and focus on form and shooting consistently. After the season in early winter I will drop my poundage on my bow to about 55lb. than I practice all year and about this time of year I will start to increase the poundage back up to 70lb. Make shore you know your effective range of not only your bow but your shooting ability. I feel that my effective range right now is 50 yards, and unless it is a really nice shoot that I know that I can hit it and kill it I will not take the shot.