I love football, mostly of the collegiate type. Like many sportsman I look forward to the opening weekend and the start of the football season. Every year we see supposedly superior teams upset by upstart or "inferior" teams. It has become predictable that some ranked team will be surprised by a team that just wasn't supposed to compete with them. I attribute the upsets to some good luck, but also the ability of the underdog team's coach to make a great game plan and for the opponent coach and players to take for granted that they will win.
To me hunting is a lot like planning for a football game. A great game plan will provide you with the opportunity to potentially "upset" your foe and help make for a great season. I suggest you go into the hunting season with a game plan that will make you a winner.
Offense: A great offense provides the opportunity to look at your opponent's defensive weaknesses. Setting stands or blinds where deer travel increase the odds that you will find and see your quarry. Selecting trails to and from your hunting areas will ensure you don't cross well used trails or place you in bedding or transition areas where deer may reside as you move to your stand. Being willing to make long sits potentially offers you the opportunity to catch deer movement when your fellow hunters are on their way back to camp and who can potentially move deer in your direction. Knowing when to expect the best movement periods (the pre and post rut, feeding times and locations) increases your odds that you will have a successful hunt. Knowing when to use scents and calls greatly improves your chances of catching that buck of a lifetime when he is at his weakest.
Defense: A great defense also puts you in a position to improve your chances to score. Practicing good scent control greatly increases your opportunities to see your foe, an opponent with one of the best noses in the wild. Hunt the wind to improve your chances and keep your clothes scent free. While I typically "spray down" with a scent control spray, many people I've hunted with never use anything other than clean clothes and a clean body to improve their chances of seeing and harvesting their quarry. Comfort is important to any hunters defense; make sure you are comfortable enough in the stand to limit body movement. Wear clothing appropriate for the weather and temperature; too heavy clothing will make early season hunting miserable and you will sweat constantly during the hunt. Too light clothing in cold weather will cause shivers that will prevent you from staying focused on your hunt. Cover up as much as possible with face masks or camouflage grease, keep your hands covered and don't forget to ensure that anything "shiny" is prevented from being exposed to the sun. Deer have great eyesight and a faint glint off a pair of binoculars may send them scurrying to the next county. Wear appropriate footwear; nothing drives a hunter back to camp more quickly than cold feet!
Special Teams: Special teams make up an important aspect of your game plan. Making sure you have all the appropriate "equipment" can help you immensely. Check to ensure you have the scents and calls you need for the various parts of the season. Carry extra gloves and face masks in case you happen to drop one or the other while getting situated in your stand. Take appropriate beverages with you to stay hydrated, particularly in the early season. Take a snack if you plan to hunt longer than usual.
A great game plan allows teams to be more competitive against stronger foes, and periodically create that great "upset". A great hunting game plan also sets up the potential opportunity for us to score on that buck of a lifetime.