Pre-Season Scouting – Reaping the Benefits

noahs outdoors

It’s just a little over a month and a half until the beginning of bow season for whitetails in Ohio. By now you should have reviewed hundreds of images captured with your scouting camera and decided on the best place for your stand. Before opening day, however, there are other preparations to make.

First, check your archery equipment and become extremely familiar with it. Familiarize yourself with all of the different accessories. If you’re hunting whitetails in the Midwest, you will probably be limited to shots within a 30 yard range. Mule deer in the western states, on the other hand, may require shots of 40 to 50 yards. At that range and in open country, distances can be deceiving. You might want to purchase a good rangefinder. In either location, a good set of binoculars will be a great asset. A general rule here is to get the best optics you can afford. The benefits of improved resolution and light gathering capabilities are well worth the expense.

Spend some time tuning your arrow rest, sighting in your equipment, and making sure your bow is as quiet as possible. You will also want to be confidant in how your arrows fly with broadheads. It will often be a little different than the flight of an arrow with field points. As the season gets closer, it’s also a good idea to wear the clothes and gear in which you will be hunting during your practice sessions. This will help with the set up of your gear when you’re in the stand. The last thing a hunter wants is to have an opportunity slip through his fingers because the bowstring gets caught on his binoculars or grunt call. To paraphrase a successful athlete: Practice until you get it right every time and then practice some more until you can’t get it wrong.

In our family the youngest hunters, boys ages 9 and 7, are eagerly waiting for the beginning of hunting season. They had a “guy day” last week and visited the local sporting goods store. Hunter, the older of the two boys, used some of the money he earned this summer to purchase a peep sight for his compound bow. His younger brother, Chase, bought crossbow bolts.

Since their purchase, the first question of the day for Dad has been “Can we go out back and practice with our bows?” Chase proudly exclaims that he is accurate to 31 yards. Hunter’s compound bow is only a 27 to 40 pound draw, so he won’t be able to use it to hunt deer, but he is able to practice proper form that will serve him well with a heavier weapon.