By Maren McReynolds
For many people, summer is the best time to sit by the pool and enjoy a margarita. For hunting enthusiasts, on the other hand, summer is the perfect time to scout the field and prepare for the upcoming hunting season.
Regardless if you are into small game hunting, bird hunting, or rifle mule deer hunting, you are often only as good as the effort and time you invested preparing for your hunt. That said, putting extra effort and time can increase your chances of success.
Preparing for Summer Hunting: Your Quick and Handy Guide
When prepping for summer hunting, keep the following essentials in mind:
Make sure you clean your weapons.
Cleaning your hunting equipment and weapons before and after each hunting season is recommended to ensure reliability and accuracy.
When cleaning your firearms and bows, always look for rust, loose bolts and screws, and other things that might compromise performance.
Get familiar with your gear.
Calibrating distances and practicing your aim are crucial to better shot placement and overall hunting experience. Consider spending more time at the shooting range to get more practice. In the heat of the moment, your muscle memory will take over, and practicing is the best way you can create the right muscle memory.
Organize your equipment.
Don’t blow up a great hunting day by forgetting an important piece of equipment. The summer months are the best time to check your equipment and replenish your hunting supplies. It is also ideal to create a checklist of all the equipment and supplies you need and store them in one place.
Make sure you are physically fit.
While hunting is not that demanding physically, getting in shape can make a world of difference. If you are physically fit, you can cover more ground and climb steep hills with more ease. If you are fit physically, you will also have extra stamina and strength to walk long distances.
If you can’t fit regular exercise into your daily schedule, make sure to at least spend time working out and walking a few months before the hunting season starts. While enjoying a lazy summer can seem like an enticing proposition, waiting for a week before hunting season to get in shape is too late.
Scout the location and study your maps.
During the long days of summer, don’t forget to study the maps you will use and scout the location you will be hunting in. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of mapping and GPS apps you can use that are designed especially for hunters. Amazingly, many of the apps can let you access the maps even if you don’t have cell service.
It is also recommended that you visit your prospective hunting area as often as possible. Make sure you also familiarize yourself with the hunting ground and the movement patterns of the animals. Don’t hesitate to do a bit of scouting and talk to other hunters so you can create a game plan and improve your odds of success.
Buy your licenses and brush up on the regulations.
Hunting regulations and laws are subject to change, so make sure you check in with the natural resources department of your state and get the latest updates on the relevant laws, dates, and details associated with the hunting season. As soon as you are well versed with the season’s regulations and laws, it’s time to purchase your licenses.
In some cases, you will need more than one license, depending on the animals you intend to hunt. Keep in mind that processing licenses might take time in some states, so it is advisable that you apply for a license in advance.
Bonus: Great Hunting Strategies to Keep in Mind
If you are on the lookout for effective hunting strategies, the following should rank high on your list:
If you are still hunting, ensure you move slow enough or stay put in one place long enough. You can use your watch as a guide. For instance, if you want to stay put for five minutes, your watch can help you stay still and quiet for as long as you need to (or even longer).
Refrain from making unusually loud noises.
If you make loud and unnecessary noises, stop right away and stay as quiet and still as possible. This is especially important if you suspect there are animals close by. If an animal does not smell or see you, it can return to feeding or get back to whatever it was doing before it was disturbed.
Pick your landmarks.
If you intend to stalk an animal by creating a huge circle and coming up behind it, you can easily get confused when you change location. Make sure you pick a distinctive object on the skyline that you can easily recognize from the back (i.e., a fence line, a rock, or a large tree) to help guide you to the right spot.
Judge the pace of the quarry.
Ideally, you should be able to anticipate where the animal will be as soon as you are done stalking. Before starting, make sure to watch the quarry long enough so you can determine its rate of travel and direction if it’s walking or actively feeding. Make sure you pick your destination accordingly.
Get rid of blind clutter.
If you are standing next to a tree or sitting on a ground blind, ensure you sweep away any leaves using your boot to ensure the area is free from any debris. This also helps ensure you won’t make any unnecessary noises if you need to make a move when the animal is near.
Glass and re-glass.
When glassing using a binocular in the morning, make sure you move to your vantage point in the dark. Make sure to refocus your attention on the spaces you have checked out from time to time. The changing light might reveal animals you have not seen before or animals that have moved out of timber or deep brush.
When hunting, be open to the suggestions of locals and other hunters. With preparation and an open mind, you will increase your chances of enjoying a fun, fulfilling, and successful hunt.
Your thoughts on preparing for summer hunting?
We realize not everyone who loves the outdoors is keen on hunting and others have given some serious thought to learning the basics to get started. Do share your impressions and ideas below.