By Eric Davis
Sun Outdoor Columnist
If you are like me, waking up and going outside on the cool mornings in the last couple weeks has you ready for bow season to start. My issue is that I like goose hunting in September too much to really put a lot of focus on getting ready for bow season.
So, whether you have been busy hunting, fishing (I hear the salmon are starting to run up north), or doing other things; it’s time to start focusing on archery season.
The first thing you should do is go take your bow out of it case or whatever you have been storing it in. Give the bow a complete look over for any glaring problems. Inspect the limbs for any cracks, check the string and cable tracks on the cam(s) to make sure they aren’t damaged. Check your string and cables, especially near any tight bends in the cam. If you can see the main string through the serving, you should have the string and cables replaced. Don’t wait until the week of the season opening to do this. Most archery shops must order strings and cables in, which can take 3 or 4 days, before they can even do any work to your bow.
If everything goes well during your inspection, go out to a safe shooting location, nock an arrow, and draw your bow back. Make sure you are facing a safe direction when drawing the bow. Listen for any creaking or popping noises. If you hear something, take the bow to a shop for a closer inspection. If you don’t hear anything, either shoot the bow or let it down. After sitting for months, the string and cables should be waxed before doing a lot of shooting.
With your bow in good, operating condition now you can focus on shooting your bow. You want to shoot as similar to how you plan to hunt. If you plan to shoot from the standing position in a tree stand, practice shooting standing. The same goes for shooting from a seated position. It doesn’t hurt to practice from a seated position in case a deer comes in too quick and you can’t stand up before it presents you a shot. If possible, shoot from an elevated position compared to your target to better represent a shot from a tree stand. Don’t go crazy on the number of arrows you shoot in a night. When hunting, you do a lot of sitting before you might have the chance to draw your bow. Focus on making your first 10 shots good and then you can keep shooting to help build muscle memory. Make sure to practice at different yardages. If you have a rangefinder, test yourself by looking at an object and guess the distance, then use your rangefinder. This can help if you don’t have time to get your rangefinder out when hunting.
If you haven’t hung you tree stands or put out your ground blind, this weekend is supposed to have gorgeous weather both days. Let the deer get used to their presence for a couple weeks before you start hunting out of them. When hanging a tree stand, always wear a safety harness and use either a linesman’s belt or keep moving the tree strap up as you get farther up the tree. Invest in some accessory hooks and a pull-up rope. Get these things situated now so when you show hunt the stand you can do it efficiently. If you are a right-handed shooter, you probably want your bow to be located where you can easily grab it with your left hand. You also want it to be hanging at a height that you can reach it easily.
Round up all your equipment and get it organized. Make sure you have the necessary tools for tagging your harvest such as a pen or permanent marker and some zip ties. If you plan to track a deer after you shoot it without going back to camp or your vehicle, make sure your field dressing supplies are packed. I put two pairs of nitrile gloves and a sandwich bag inside another sandwich bag. This covers you in case a glove rips, and lets you put a dirty knife into one bag and your used gloves in the other. Don’t forget flagging tape in case you need to mark the blood trail or shot location. Also, a headlamp or flashlight in case you are in the woods after dark. There is nothing more aggravating than having to use your belt as a drag and then having your pants constantly fall down, so make sure you have a drag rope packed.