Post-Season Chores for Deer Hunters
Posted by Jay Everett on
Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? This basic quandary seems simple enough. We have all likely heard this phrase uttered on multiple occasions throughout our lives, and although sensible in nature, we often find ourselves taking the opposite approach on a day-to-day basis. It is simply human nature to wait until the last minute to tackle a task that could have long since been completed, had we taken the initiative.
However, this principle does not just apply to household chores and honey-do lists. Often, we as hunters, find ourselves pushing a number of our pre-season chores off until a later date, thereby putting ourselves in a bind as time carries on. Procrastination is the worst enemy of a bowhunter, as it compounds issues to the degree that the overlooked tasks of yesterday, become the problems of tomorrow.
Although September and October archery openers seem as if an eternity away, it is never too early to get a jump start on the season ahead. In fact, the months directly following season’s conclusion offer a wonderful window of opportunity to tie up loose ends and prepare for what is to come. We often find ourselves in a lull between the closing of deer season and the arrival of spring turkey season, which presents the perfect window to tackle the tasks that we find ourselves seeking to complete year after year. Here’s a look at 5 post-season chores to keep you in the game.
Seek Permission Now
We are all guilty of this one. As the opening weekend of archery season is quickly approaching, we take note of a stellar piece of ground that we would love nothing more than to have access to. A quick visit with the property owner in question leaves us disheartened as they state that they just gave permission to another individual the week before. This is the epitome of “a day late and a dollar short.” However, this does effectively make a sound case as to why we should never wait until the last minute to seek permission for land access.
As deer season draws to a close, many hunters store away their gear, giving little thought to deer hunting until the following August or September. Then, as if a switch was flipped, the month before season brings droves of hunters seeking to gain access to every plot of land 5-acres in size or greater. When this occurs, any available ground becomes spoken for in relatively quick fashion. By spending the late winter and early spring months speaking with landowners, you can typically get a jumpstart on the bulk of the competition, thereby bolstering your odds of a favorable response.
Making the Most of Equipment Maintenance
There is generally one common denominator in the planting of all food plots. The vast majority of plots are planted with the assistance of some form of power equipment. This equipment can be as elaborate as a full-size tractor and disk, or as simplistic as a four-wheeler and homemade drag. However, all equipment warrants a thorough inspection, before once again being put to work in the spring.
The winter months are the ideal time to oversee the maintenance of all equipment that is to be utilized for planting spring food plots, as this allows you ample time to tend to any mechanical woes that might become evident during inspection or service. This proactive approach to equipment maintenance also saves costly and time-consuming breakdowns when in the field.
Take Care of Bow Maintenance Tasks
The late winter and early spring months make an ideal time to tackle any items of bow maintenance. There are multiple reasons for this, with one of the most significant being that any thoughts toward equipment upgrades from the season before are still fresh on your mind. This alleviates the chance of leaving these items of concern unattended to, thereby being forced to contend with the same issues at the onset of next season.
Another advantage of handling any items of bow maintenance well in advance of season is that you will allow yourself an abundant amount of time to become accustomed to any changes that are made. This is especially of value when changes such as those of draw-weight or the installation of a new sight or rest have occurred. By allowing yourself an ample amount of time to familiarize yourself with these modifications, you will avoid any unwanted surprises when the moment of truth arises.
Make Your Move
If ever you have found yourself dissatisfied with the placement of one or more of your stands, now is the time to rectify this situation. As the thoughts of the season past remain vividly etched into your mind, you will be better able to move your stands in a manner that is conducive to improved efficiency. You are also able to rely on post-season scouting to present you with an in-depth look into how and why deer are moving about your property as they are, thereby allowing any stand movements to be conducted based on first-hand knowledge, as opposed to blind placement.
It is also beneficial to move stands as needed during this point in the year because it minimizes the pressure imparted upon the deer in a given area. The movement of stands during, or just prior to the opening of season, and the successive trimming of shooting lanes that this entails, risks alerting deer of your presence, and in turn, altering their patterns in a way that temporarily negates the benefits of your efforts. When stands are moved well before season, a minimal amount of trimming with the spring green-up will be all that is needed prior to your first sit.
Protect the Fawn Crop
As the years go by, it seems as if coyote numbers in many areas show little sign of slowing their staggering upward trend. In fact, in many areas, it seems as if nearly as many coyotes are captured on trail cameras as deer on any given card pull. This is especially troubling when you stop to consider the dent that such sizable coyote populations can make in fawn numbers. Luckily, there is a solution, even if temporary, to this ever-growing problem.
The frigid temperatures that are typical of the months following the close of many state’s deer seasons, tend to have coyotes on their feet and searching far and wide for their next meal. This sets up the perfect scenario for those looking to call crafty coyotes to their demise. By filling the post deer season void with regular predator management excursions, you will not only be giving the yearly fawn crop a helping hand for many years to come, but will have a substantial amount of fun in doing so.
Where One Season Ends, Another Begins
While the postseason is certainly a time of reflection, it can also serve as a time of preparation as well. Where one season ends, another begins, and those that shun the idea of procrastination will be much better off for their efforts. By taking a proactive approach to your preparatory endeavors, you will shape the course of the season to follow, leaving little beyond what is necessary to chance.