Every year whitetail hunters look forward to getting out into the woods during deer season. However, we feel that the off-season is just as important to the overall hunting experience. The off season allows hunters to prepare for the season ahead. In this article, we will discuss some things you should do during the off-season to ensure you are ready for deer season. This article has a variety of links to videos and products that we feel will help you get ready for the season ahead.
Scout Potential Hunting Areas
One of the most important things deer hunters can do during the off-season is scout their hunting area. This means spending time in the woods, looking for signs of deer activity for the year before, setting up trail cams, and identifying potential hunting spots. This helps you get a better understanding of the terrain and help you determine where to place your stands or blinds come hunting season.
Check Your Gear
Before the hunting season starts, it’s important to check all of your gear to ensure it’s in good working condition. This includes your firearm or bow, ammunition, clothing, boots, and any other hunting accessories. You don’t want to be caught with faulty gear when you’re out in the field, so make sure everything is in top condition before you head out.
Start a Workout Routine
Hunting can be physically demanding. Whether you’re walking from your vehicle to your stand or hiking up mountains, with all the gear you bring along it can take a toll. We aren’t saying you need to hit the gym every day, but start off taking a walk every week can help build your endurance. From there, you can start walking farther, turn those walks into runs, start carrying your hunting pack with you, etc. By building up your stamina during the off-season you’ll notice a difference come opening day.
To be an effective hunter you need to be a good shot. That means practicing your shooting skills during the off-season. Whether you’re using a firearm or a bow, spend time at the range to hone your skills. One thing to try is to practice shooting sitting in chairs (if you hunt in a ground blind) or even up in our treestand to simulate how we would be lining up our shot out in the woods. This will make you more comfortable during that moment of truth and increase your chances of making a clean and ethical shot.
Create and Manage Your Food Sources
For those hunting on a deer lease or your own private land, creating and maintain a feeding program on your property can really payoff. It doesn’t matter if your food source is a food plot, protein blocks, a free choice feeder or a timer feeder, a constant supply of food will keep your deer in better shape for the entire herd and also keep them in your area.
Learn About Deer Behavior
Deer behavior is complex and can vary depending on the time of year, weather, and other factors. During the off-season, take this time to learn more about deer behavior and how it relates to hunting. Putting out trail cameras is a great way to do this. Trail cam photos will help you understand when and where to look for deer, the deer’s pattern, and help you plan to encounter that shooter buck.
Hunt Other Species
Just because deer season is over, doesn’t mean you can let your hunting gear collect dust! There are most likely plenty of hunting opportunities year round across the country and in your area. Most hunters turn their sights to turkey hunting in the spring. Turkey hunting is a great way to keep your woodsmanship skills sharp. It is also a great way to get out and scout for areas that hold deer.
Plan Your Hunts, Put in For Tags, and More!
Finally, use the off-season to plan your hunts for the upcoming season. This includes determining when you will hunt, where you will hunt, and what equipment you will need. Being more organized and prepared when hunting season arrives, allows you to focus on the hunt rather than logistics. This is also a great time to put in for special hunts that require you to be drawn for a tag. This can include hunts in your local, state or in other states.
In conclusion, the off-season is an important time for deer hunters to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. By scouting your hunting area, checking your gear, practicing shooting, learning about deer behavior, and planning your hunts, you can increase your chances of success and have a more enjoyable hunting season. So make the most of your off-season and start preparing for your next hunting adventure today!