Can you believe it's already deer season?
Summer has slipped by, leaves are beginning to change, and (so far) temperatures are starting to cool. We've had some great, late summer rain in Georgia and the woods are green. I'm sure by now you've put in your fall food plots, checked your stands and hopefully have gotten in some time " on the range" with your bow. Hopefully you've had a chance to do a little scouting and have seen good sign that will help you select where you'll be on opening day. If you haven't already done so (through deer shows,advertising circulars, etc.) you've done an inventory of your gear and are in the process of completing your shopping for that first weekend of deer season.
I'm sure you've checked your bow to ensure it's in tip-top condition, with no string fraying, or excessive noises that will give your position away when you are ready to release that first arrow of fall. If you've been watching the outdoors shows prevalent on TV this time of the year, you've seen all the new and "improved" gadgets that have been introduced. If you've missed all this (where have you been?), I've got great news for you. Your local outdoors shop, like Academy sports, will be stocked with all the necessities for this season's opener.
Here is my shopping list for early season bow hunting:
a. Bug spray;wow, this is a no brainer. Whether you use spray, lotion, or electronic devices to keep away the bugs, don't forget them. When shopping for sprays or lotions be sure to look for those that do not have any odor. The sweet smelling sprays marketed for home use don't do well in the woods with the smelling capability of deer and other wildlife. If you use electronic devices make sure you pack an extra supply of whatever energy source they use and the repellent that makes them effective.
b. Light hunting wear; wow, another no brainer. Dress light to reduce the amount of sweating you will do getting to your stand. Even if the mornings are cool, dress down for your walk in and don your outer wea rafter getting situated in your stand or blind. I always found it most comfortable hunting in the mornings in early season as it somewhat limited the amount of sweating I would do getting to my stand. I still enjoyed afternoon hunting, but found it much less comfortable getting to the stand and the time it took me to finally cool down.
c. Speaking of cooling down, make sure you take cold beverages with you to help your body "chill" and to help in your hydration efforts. Nothing seemed to help me more in cooling down that having a cold bottle of water to sip on after getting to my stand. A small towel placed in a ziplock type plastic bag, and soaked in ice water, can also provide a much welcome relief from the heat. Placed on the nec kit will cause evaporation and will send a "chill" down your spine.
d. Deer scents/calls; I had a lot of success in early season with acorn type sprays. I tried to match up my spray with the area I was hunting and more than once had deer respond looking for those nice "tree nuggets" they find essential to their diet. I also had great success with the use of a"fawn in distress" type call. Deer of all shape and sizes typically respond to this type of call. I've also had coyotes and bobcats also respond, so if you use one, keep your eyes and ears open.
e. Scent killer spray; I don't really know how well they work, but using non-scent sprays on myself gave me confidence that I was doing as much as I could to limit introducing human scent in the area I was hunting. I likewise dressed in scent limiting clothing to improve my chances of seeing game. Again, don't really know how it works, but it gave me confidence and I will admit, increased my sightings of deer in the early season. Don't forget your boots also. I have worn rubber boots for many years, even through cold weather. Again, a confidence booster for me as I believe with the feet being the closest to the ground, they are the likeliest to leave scent as you walk to your stand. (It's a good idea to thoroughly clean your footwear before season to remove any scent they may have picked up during the off season.)
This is my short list of "necessities" for early season bow hunting. All the items I've listed are easily found at Academy sports and you likely will catch them on sale if you watch ads closely. Remember, there are many other items I know you will choose to take to the woods with you when season opens and I hope you will take the time to inventory and clean up your gear before leaving for the woods. If you don't, you likely will forget something.
Get up, and get going, deer season is on!! Good hunting and don't forget to include family in your outings.