The mercury may still be flirting with triple digits where you live and a pool look more inviting than a deer stand, but fall hunt seasons will be here before you know it with some set to crank up in just a matter of weeks.
In fact, for deer hunters, the first firearms deer season to open in the United States—in the South Carolina Low Country—begins August 15. Whether your favorite hunting is for the king of game animals, the white-tailed deer, or you are more of an elk, waterfowl or small game hunter, here are some things you need to start doing now in order to be ready when the season begins.
Educate Yourself—If you are a new or young hunter (or your kid is one) required to complete a hunter education course prior to purchasing a license, sign up for a course now. Seasons will be here before you know it and as it gets closer to key opening dates, classes tend to fill up quickly. The last thing you want is to miss out on the first weeks of the season just because you still need to fulfill this prerequisite. Tip: Even if you completed hunter ed a long time ago and are an experienced hunter, if your kid or a friend needs to complete the course, do it with them. It will make it more fun for them and you will be amazed at the things you relearn that you maybe haven’t thought of in a while.
Get Your License—Don’t wait until the night before the season to buy your license. Particularly if you have to actually go to a store to buy it. Lines will be long and you’ll be eager to get to camp and get ready. If your state sells licenses online (most do these days) take advantage of the convenience and get your license(s) now. It will be one thing you can check off the list. Tip: If going to the sporting goods store just before season is an annual ritual you don’t want to give up because you enjoy shooting the bull with other hunters, don’t. Buy your license online and stop by the store just the same. At least then, you can leave when you need to and can still avoid the lines.
Check Your Gear—The stuff you tossed in a tote or piled in the back of your closet at the end of last season may still be sitting there. Time to go through and itemize calls, knives, optics, clothes, etc. and make sure all of it is in good shape and good working order. Work your calls and replace any that don’t sound right. The reeds in grunt tubes or other mouth-operated calls can dry out so check them carefully. Check for worn out camo and replace it. Faded camo can get a whitish look that stands out in the woods. Sharpen knives and replace batteries in radios, GPS units, flashlights and other electronics. Check ammunition and replace any that may look damaged or stock up on what you expect to use the entire season. Tip: Take a bug-out bag mentality to prepping your hunt gear. Organize the principal items you will need on a hunt in a single pack so when it comes time to head out, you simply grab your gun and pack and go.
Look for more preseason tips next week.