Although summer is still here and temperatures are still high it is not too early to begin making ready for this year’s hunting seasons. Whether it be early dove or big game, which can start as early as August in some states.
The following are three essential pre-season preparations that I would recommend any hunter start looking into even now:
Proper Hunting License and Permits
If you obtained your license through a public draw, you should make sure the hunt documents required are in fact in hand and that they are correct. Meaning, is the hunt date, region and all other pertinent information, correct? It would not be the first time if you find an error.
Does your hunt require that the species taken to be “tagged” with the proper game tag? If so, make sure you have it in your possession. Failure to tag is often one of the more serious game violations in many states.
Even if you are able to purchase your license direct from a vendor, make sure you have the applicable hunt region designated, dates, and any additional stamps that may be required.
Having the proper license is your job and responsibility.
Hunting areas and Access
Scouting your hunt area ahead of time is one of the preseason tactics that most successful hunters employ. If it’s a region you have never hunted, scouting for accessible roads leading to public land areas, and private land permission is all critical to an enjoyable hunt.
Locations of water where game is likely to concentrate, good feeding areas and travel corridors are all necessary to increase your odds of success in the hunting field.
I am a bit old school and always have relevant paper maps of my hunt areas. Today with the advent of good electronic apps, a person can pinpoint key hunt zones and delineate public versus private lands which can be critical for staying within the law.
One of my favorite all time sayings for every day defensive gear is, “don’t let your equipment defeat you.” That same logic applies to your hunting gear and firearms.
As hunters we think of the gun first, and with good cause. The rifle and your ability to shoot it well is essential to success. Zeroing your rifle with the ammo you intend to use is a must. I prefer hunting rifles to shoot a minimum of 1 MOA, or a 1-inch group at 100 yards.
Critical to accurate shooting comes the optic and its mounting to the gun itself. Scope bases and rings must be set properly and screws torqued to appropriate specifications.
Many hunters have an extremely accurate and quality rifle, but are using a scope that came from the discount bin at the local gun shop. This is often a setup for disappointment and failure. A quality scope along with good rings and bases is gear you should not skimp on.
Depending on what you’re hunting and geographical location other necessary gear can vary greatly. From foot wear to camp gear to vehicle preparation, all should be considered now with hunting seasons just around the corner.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you’re using hunting ammo that is rated for the animal you plan to hunt.
The fall season is my favorite time of year. A large part of that is the hunting seasons that come with it. Being prepared in all aspects of your hunt is enjoyable and part of the anticipation. After all good planning and prep leads to success and is the responsible course to follow.
Read about my recent Barbary Sheep hunt in New Mexico, next.