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How To/Pro-Tips

Checking The Stand

For most modern deer hunters, both archers and gun hunters, tree stands give the hunter a great tactical advantange. But, they must be treated with respect.
Inspect your stands before the season. Replace lost or corroded parts and make sure that the stand is as functional as when it was brand new. (Other than adding manfacturer-approved accessories, never modify a commercial stand.)
With permanent stands, check for rotten wood and for natural loosening of the stand caused by the wind. Never climb into an old stand you find in the woods.
Whenever you are in an elevated stand, wear a properly adjusted safety belt. Wear the belt while climbing as well, and properly "tie off" before shifting or settling into hunting position.
"Climbing" stands require agility and practice. Practice climbing with your stand, particularly a new type, before the season opens.
Do not climb when fatigued or on medication that makes you drowsy. Always make your stand positions known to others and leave word when you expect to be back.

Summer Scouting

For bowhunters, right now is not too early to start your scouting for the upcoming bow seasons. The early archery seasons are just around the corner. When the season opens, deer will still be in the same pattern as they are now

Practice Makes Perfect

You haven't started shooting your bow yet? Shame on you. Good practice is the basis of good bowhunting. It's like the coach always told you, "The way you practice is the way you play."

Some think that bow tuning should be the first step toward a new archery season. Not so. First get the rust off your shooting form. It is highly probable that some perceived mechanical flaw with your equipment is actually a fault induced by your out-of-practice form.

Start simply and with short sessions. Don't expect to pick right up where you left off last year. Avoid making rusty form worse by over-shooting to the point of fatigue. You've got to re-tune your muscles at the same time you are re-tuning your form.
Once you are back in your shooting groove, critique your equipment's performance. Good bow shooting is part physical, part mental and part mechanical. All of these factors must be brought to the same level of play for things to work out right.

Start Now for Opening Day

Stand-site selection should be a key component of your summer scouting. That means actually picking a specific spot and putting your stand up early. Deer, particularly bucks and most particularly big bucks, are very sensitive about the areas they call home.
A lot of human activity, whether it's last-minute scouting or the necessary disturbance of stand installation, pruning of shooting lanes and so forth, occurring just before the season, hurts your opening day chances.
Do your scouting early. Find the sign that signals a good stand site and then go ahead and put up your stand. Make whatever habitat alterations, such as cutting shooting lanes, that are absolutely necessary but try to keep the disturbance to a minimum. By starting early, you can get away with more activity. It gives the deer and the area a chance to settle down.
You should be completely done with an area at least two weeks before the season opens. Then stay out until you're ready to hunt.

Pre-Season Bow Check

With opening day fast approaching, is your bowhunting gear ready to go? This means a thorough check of your critical archery gear.

Inspect your bow. Look for bent bow-sight pins, broken arrow rests, frayed cables, a frayed bow string or any cracks in the handle, wheels or limbs. Check limb bolts and sight attachment screws for tightness. Lubricate wheel axles to prevent creaking and groaning.

Two or three twists will shorten a stretched bow string by about 1/8 of an inch. Wax the string at least once a month throughout the season. Replace excessively stretched or frayed strings. Look for frayed or broken strands under the serving at the nocking point. It's a good idea to replace bow strings every two or three seasons.

Check all arrows, points and nocks for straightness. Any of these arrow elements that is more than a few thousandths of an inch off perfectly straight can greatly diminish accuracy. Replace or straighten bent shafts and square up heads and nocks.

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