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Bowhunting: Are you ready for season to start?

Thursday, September 12, 2013
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In just 17 days, those of us who have last year’s deer hunting license and an unfilled bow tag can hunt the Northern Zone.

However, this year’s bowhunting license is required to hunt in both the Northern and Southern zones beginning Oct. 1. This year’s Northern Zone season ends Oct. 25, the Southern Zone Nov. 15.

Both zones have a late bowhunting season. For complete hunting dates and regulations, refer to the “New York Hunting & Trapping 2013-14 Official Guide to Laws

& Regulations” which is available from any license-selling agent.

Are you ready?

Good hunting preparation is a major key to the hunter’s success in the deer woods, and if you’re like most, you haven’t done any yet. Here’s a preseason bowhunting agenda I began Tuesday, and actually will help me when the firearm season begins.

Bow/arrow

Do not assume because your bow worked fine last year that it will this year. And if it’s been a few years since being tuned by a professional, take it to your local bow shop now.

Bowhunting is enough of a challenge without having to cope with bow problems when that stately 10-pointer is standing broadside at 20 yards.

Arrows also require annual maintenance like checking the shafts and fletchings and replacing when needed. Broadheads, depending on what you use, will require

sharpening or, perhaps, blade replacements. Make sure those expandables expand.

And speaking of broadheads, I saw something new that impressed me — the Toxic Broadhead by Flying Arrow Archery. The broadhead is six-bladed, and uses a coring action to produce a large, devastating wound channel in the shape of a clover leaf or biohazard symbol (toxic). Check it out at www.flyingarrowarcheryusa.com.

Practice, practice

Most of us haven’t touched our bow since last season, and those muscles that used to draw and hold those 60- to 70-pound draw weights need to be worked.

Don’t worry about those three-shot, four-inch groups right now. They’ll come when those muscles are back in shape. Then you can go for real accuracy. I prefer a regular bullseye target at 15 yards to begin, then work my way out to my limit, 45 yards. Work to whatever your limit is.

When you are shooting those good groups and are confident again, head for the 3D range at the club. There, you’ll experience a more realistic hunting environment, shooting from different angles, positions and distances. And while you’re there, practice some distances in between the pin site distances you have set on your bow. For example, a 23-yard or 37-yard shot.

Scouting

This is probably the most difficult for most due to work, family commitments, etc., but things do change in the deer woods, and deer that were visiting that back-40 cornfield last year may not be coming there this year, and even if they are, their entrance timing and entering location may have changed.

With the introduction of the trail cam, there’s no excuse for not finding out this information. I truly believe that any hunter who uses a trail cam is increasing his/her

odds of success at least 50 percent.

These units offer 24/7 infor­mation on a deer woods without your being present.

They’ll tell you the type of vis­itors (buck and/or doe), time they were there and, sometimes, which way they entered the area. With this information, it’s possible to not only pick out a buck, but where you should be place a tree stand/blind.

Tree stand

Speaking of tree stands, be sure you check any permanent or portable ones you left out all year. Remember, they’ve been exposed to the elements all year and things can rust, loosen or break.

Don’t be climbing up into a stand that hasn’t been sat in since last season while it’s dark on opening morning. And don’t forget to clear out those shooting lanes.

Tree stands are obviously the best place to hide when deer hunting, but deer do look up, and when sitting in a stand for hours or all day like I often do, legs and butt get a bit stiff and require moving. More than once I have moved my legs or butt a bit and alerted a deer.

To cover dancing legs, feet and butt, I have a four-foot by eight-foot piece of camo burlap I attach to the stand railing that covers my front and sides. You can buy these in a number of stores and attach them using zip ties.

And I shouldn’t have to remind you to always wear a safety belt in a tree stand.

Clothing

Obviously, camo is a must, and I prefer to use my turkey-hunting head net. The net is also good during warmer early-season days when the bugs are still around. Most importantly, when it comes to clothing, pour on the cover scent. Whitetails’ major defense is their nose.

There are many opinions on this, but the one fact I’m the most impressed with is the olfactory receptors system comparison of humans and deer. We have five million olfactory receptors; deer have 297 million.

Use the scents

This is why I douse my clothes, including the bottom of my boots, with Hunter Specialties Scent-A-Way before I enter the deer woods.

Be prepared, get in there early and don’t forget Buck Tales. Send me all the information on your deer kills this season. Include your name, city of residence, where you were hunting, tree stand, blind, shot distance, buck (number of points), doe, the weight and any other info you think would add to the tale.

Good luck.

 
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