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Team Renegade Outdoors: The Hunting Season Is Near

For many of us alike, our favorite season of the year is quickly approaching – hunting season.

Preparation for start of hunting season.
Preparation for start of hunting season. (Photo: J.D. Santi)

The season that we anxiously wait all summer for. Hunting isn’t just grabbing the rifle and heading into the woods; there is a lot involved with the preparation of hunting before we actually get to sit in the stand and wait patiently.

With the start of fall semester classes, many of us are consumed with homework and exams or even tailgating for the first home football game with our friends. However, making time to get home for the weekend to set up and get ready for our favorite time of year is never an issue because the desire to get back out in the woods is a strong one.

Preparing for hunting season comes with many tasks that need to be completed to make the season successful. About a month and a half prior to opening day, it is vital to plant food plots to sustain the deer through the winter. By doing this, it especially gives the younger deer an opportunity to survive the winter with the proper nutrients and supplements. Here near the Eastern Shore of Virginia, wood lots are more abundant than agricultural land leaving less sufficient supplements, some main causes due to the unfortunate urban development encroaching on their habitat. Therefore, replacing the lost agricultural land with nutritious food plots are very helpful for the population of deer and making sure the whitetail being hunted have access to nutritious food.

Off-season bow practice (Photo: McLane McGuire)
Off-season bow practice (Photo: McLane McGuire)

It is illegal in the state of Virginia to hunt over bait. Nearly two or more months prior to the opening season, some hunters will place corn or a type of mineral supplement near a game camera to see deer activity. Placing these minerals early before the season gives hunters the assurance that remaining minerals will be soiled or gone by opening day, providing that no laws are being broken.

Another preparation for hunting season includes placing game cameras on hunting property to get some insight on the variety of deer activity in the area – not only the activity of bucks but any deer liveliness. Having an idea of when the deer move back and forth to bedding helps give a better understanding of the timing they are usually walking around. This does not only mean specifically placing various cameras throughout the area, but this includes scouting the property for any paths transitioning from one area to another, possibly giving an opportunity to set up a stand or blind along one of popularly used passageways by the deer.

Along with scouting the traveled trails developed by deer, it is also important to make paths for the hunter, especially if using an ATV to travel to the destination of the hunt. Ensuring a cleared pathway of branches, woodland debris, etc. helps with a quieter, easier and safer entrance into the location of a hunt on the first day.

Blood trail during early bow season (Photo: McLane McGuire)
Blood trail during early bow season (Photo: McLane McGuire)

One can assume that with all that comes with preparing the woods for the season, it is easy to forget to check hunting gear, to ensure it is still functioning properly and ready to go for the season approaching. This means sighting in guns and bows prior to hunting with them. It is vital to ensure a clean shot and proper location of a sight on an animal when it is being harvested. This can help prevent wounding or missing an animal, to make a fair and successful hunt – which is the primary goal of respectful hunters as ourselves.

When it comes to checking gear, other objects to check can include making sure the deer stand and straps to the safety harness are not rotted, flashlights are functioning, and scent products, ropes and clothing are in good condition. All of these help to prepare a successful and firm start to the season.

With all that is going on in the lives of college students, these preparations may seem time-consuming, considering upcoming exams and school occupations. Though, as young passionate hunters and dedicated students, we have developed a good habit of time management, and these obligations will not prevent us from achieving a fun and successful season, as well as an “A” on that exam.

Stay focused and prepare the season to be safe and enjoyable. Whether we harvest that monster buck or not, if we got out in the woods and experienced God’s Graces once again, it was a victorious season. Good luck this season to all my fellow hunters!

Emily George wrote this column for Team Renegade Outdoors, republished with permission. For questions, contact teamrenegadeoutdoors@gmail.com.

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