Opening day of bow season is fast approaching for many states across the country, sending hunters into a frenzy with time running short and a long list of chores still left to complete. Far too often, the opening morning of deer season finds us scrambling for gear and wishing we had remembered a number of things in the weeks prior. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A little prep now will go a long way to make things smooth on day one. Here’s a list of last minute chores to help you with preparation for opening day of deer season.
Treestand/Ground Blind Prep
More times than I care to admit I’ve climbed into a ground bind or shooting house in the dark on opening morning only to discover wasps had taken over the place. It’s an ugly scene and things get nasty quick. And it gets worse when you’ve got small children involved. Just ask my boy, Easton. Wasps lit him up when we climbed into a shooting house for an early season youth hunt several years ago.
Take the time to visit these ground blinds in the daylight before opening day to remove any wasp nests that may be active. The same goes for treestands that have been in place. Ladder stands are an ideal place for wasps and hornets to hang out in the off-season months. And be sure to leave a can of wasp spray in or around the blind for follow up maintenance of these pesky little suckers.
This is also a good time to make sure all your blinds are brushed in and treestands are secure with fresh straps.
No opening morning would be complete without discovering you’re missing gear after you climb into the stand. Countless hunters will be scratching their head, mumbling and cussing their situation in the dark on opening morning when they realize they have forgotten something important. This typically results from a misplaced release aid, gloves, face mask, haul line, bow hanger, or ThermaCELL. These are the essentials. Sure, you can get by without gloves and a mask, or ThermaCELL. But if you’re sitting in a mosquito-rich environment on that first morning, it’ll be a miserable sit. Don’t forget the tools to keep you covered and protected. Check, and recheck, your pack to ensure that you have these items in place and ready to go.
Sharpen The Knives
You can usually separate the killer from the wannabe by taking at look at who walks into the woods with their knife sharp and ready to do work on gutting, skinning and butchering chores. You can bet the guys that are accustom to punching deer tags will have a sharp knife handy. Make sure you’re in that mix. Get the knives sharp.
Have your butcher kit and tools at the ready. Make sure you have replacement blades if you’re using the surgical blade replacement-style knives that have become so popular these days.
Prepare the Meat Pole
Nothing kills the excitement of a successful hunt quicker than pulling back up to the house or hunting camp and realizing there’s nowhere to hang your deer up for skinning and butchering. It’ll likely be too warm to let your deer hang in the early season, so be sure the meat pole is in place prior to opening day.
It seems like every year I find myself running around the farm after that first deer kill looking for a gambrel, meat buckets and other tools for the butchering process. Don’t wait until the flies are swarming your precious deer meat to start looking for these items. Be optimistic. Make sure the meat pole is ready to roll when success comes your way.
Reactivate Your Hunting Clothes
Preparing an outfit for the big day comes second nature to lady hunters, but some of us guys often overlook the need for getting our hunting clothes in order prior to opening day. We often find ourselves digging through tubs full of camo on opening morning, frantically searching for our favorite stuff. Don’t let it happen to you. Take the time to reactivate your ScentLok hunting garments and have them ready to roll on opening day. Get your goods out of that musty smelling trunk or storage tub and get them into a Scent Crusher Ozone Gear Bag or Scent Crusher Ozone Hunter’s Closet to eliminate odors prior to hitting the woods.
Collect M.R.I. For Opening Day
It’s time to hone in on the Most Recent Information your trail cameras are providing. The days of taking inventory with trail cameras over a corn pile are over. It’s now time to get those cameras in place to set up a plan for opening day. Use your cameras to help you assess what changes in deer pattern have taken place since crops have been harvested, nuts began dropping, etc. Things change quick at this time of year when it comes to deer behavior. Make sure you’re maximizing your cameras to tell you what the deer are doing from week to week – if not day to day.
Lifelines in Place
Be sure to install Lifelines on all your treestands prior to opening day. A lot of guys get lazy and wait until the conclusion of their first sit to install the Lifeline. Don’t be that guy. Hang it ahead of time and you’ll be much more relaxed – and super safe – when opening day arrives. Remember, a treestand harness alone won’t save you. Always be sure to be securely anchored to a Lifeline from the moment your feet leave the ground, until they return again.
Opening day will be here before you know it. Make sure you’re ready. Knock out those last minute chores so you can hunt with confidence from day one.