Whether you’re hunting deer, bears, moose, birds and other wildlife? There are some things that you can do in the off-season to improve your odds of getting your prey and become a better hunter. Although the off-season provides some extra time to catch up on projects around the house and watch your favorite football team try to make a run for the playoffs, it doesn’t mean you’re happy to see it come to an end, especially if you struck out.
There are some things you can do in the off-season to prepare yourself for the next hunting season. If you’re someone who’s always thinking about sitting in a tree stand with a bow or rifle in your hands? Here are three steps you can utilize to become a better hunter.
Step 1: Post-Season Scouting
As soon as your hunting season comes to an end, do some post-season scouting of your prey. Post-season scouting isn’t something that a lot of people don’t take the time to do. For the simple reason, they’re still going to end up empty-handed for the season, and very few hunters take the time at the end of the season to learn as much about their prey as they can, which greatly increases their odds the following season.
This is a great time to take the dog for a walk and scout your hunting grounds. Following the trails of your prey and seeing where they go can unearth a mountain of information. Bring a notepad, draw a map of their trails, take pictures, and write down certain areas where they tend to go for food sources like apple trees and wild-berry bushes. You can use this information to find a great advantage point for your tree stand and increase your odds of filling out your tag for the next hunting season.
Step 2: Keep Your Aim
When your hunting season comes to an end, it’s not a good idea to hang your rifle and bow back up on the rack, and forget about them until the next hunting season comes around. There’s no doubt that your form will slip, and you’ll be rusty when it counts the most. The off-season is a great time to join a shooting range or archery club. You may find some of your friends already there or you may make some new ones? Often times friendly competitions are held strictly for bragging rights; however, this keeps your accuracy on point.
Competitions and simulated games can deliver the same peer pressure as it does in the field when it’s time to take the kill shot. Archery clubs will often include games where tree stands are used and targets of different sizes and distances are placed in various locations to test your skills. They also have professional archers who may be able to show you a few pointers to improve your shot. You can even set up a simulated hunting game on your property, and you should practice your shot at least weekly or biweekly to keep your aim.
Step 3: Organize Your Trail Camera Pictures
If you have a trail camera like a lot of avid hunters do, the off-season is a good time to store and organize all of those pictures and videos you captured during the last hunting season. Most hunters download pictures and videos onto their computers, and they don’t bother to go back and organize them by the time stamps. It’s also a great time to keep the files you want and delete the garbage files.
When you save your files, set the folder up by the weeks and location. This may seem a little mundane at first; however, it makes it easier to go back and view them during the next hunting season. This is important because animals are creatures of habit, and they tend to go back to the same locations within the same time frames during the following year. Additionally, this also allows you to see when their activity peaked and any patterns they may have changed.
Following these three simple steps greatly increases your odds of tagging your prey, and it will make you a better hunter. Not only for the next hunting season, but for future hunting seasons as well.