Where did summer go? The days are already beginning to cool down. There is a chill in the air reminding me that deer season is almost here.I am SO ready for it to be fall. However, I spent a little too much time enjoying the sunshine of summer time. So, now it is time to strap on my boots and prepare for season!
Unquestionably the most important factor that will determine success is how prepared you are. There are many ways to prepare for deer season, but there are a few fundamental tips that are necessary no matter where you live.
1.) Put in range time. Knowing your gear and having confidence in the shot you are making are HUGE. We never really know what is going to happen in the field so knowing your limits, understanding ballistics and practicing/ensuring lethal, ethical shots is a MUST. When practicing I like to use a bench and lead sled to get everything dialed in. I also bring along my shooting sticks to simulate a field-like situation. Not only is it important to be confident in the shot but also to make sure to use a correct ammunition /gun combination for the species you are hunting. Winchester makes this easy by designing ammunition specifically for its intended use and labeling them as such. For example: Expedition Big Game is the go-to-choice when hunting larger animals with thick hide. Deer season XP is the top choice for dropping deer in their tracks. Varmint X for lethal shots on varmint and predators.
This year I will be using the Winchester .350 Legend Deer Season XP straight-wall cartridge in my home state of New York. The .350 Legend is ideally suited for hunting deer and hogs. It has already proven itself to be accurate and lethal while I was hunting hogs this spring in Texas. The .350 Legend is a great new option for hunters in states that allow limited use of certain rifles capable of using .35-caliber or larger ammunition with straight -walled cartridges that have a minimum case length of 1.16” and a maximum of 1.8” to take deer in limited firearms deer zone.
2.) Scout, scout, scout and scout some more. I realize it is hard to find extra time between work, family and busy schedules but knowing where deer are and routes they travel will greatly increase your chance of success. If you are unable to sit back and glass an area as often as you would like, setting up trail cameras is a great option as they can do some of the scouting for you. That way when you do have time you can pull cards and scroll through photos at your leisure.
3.) Set up for success. Going the extra-mile to have setups ready will save you from making mistakes and being forgetful in the field. When preparing for the season ahead I like to set up stands and blinds in advance along with the necessities I may need. For example: I like to have bow hangers in each tree stand setup (or at least my prime spots) and I like to keep a chair in each blind allowing for a quiet entrance and easy setup once I arrive.
Not only is it important to have hunting spots picked out but to also clear spacious shooting lanes. There is nothing worse than seeing the big buck you have been after slip through the trees because you didn’t give yourself a clear lane to shoot. Remember to also clear a few viewing lanes, this allows time to see the animal and get ready before making the shot.
Preparing before the season can be really time consuming, but being prepared helps to avoid mistakes and give the best possible chance at success in the field.