Sep 10, 2014

Maximize Your Bowhunting Adventures                                          

By: Marc Drewek

As I celebrate twenty plus years sitting in a tree stand, hunting blind or on a spot and stalk hunt, one thing I have learned is to enjoy the hunt and take advantage of my opportunities. I have been truly blessed to have traveled across the country to hunt. From hunting the Laramie mountain range in Wyoming, the foothills of the Rockies, to the cedar swamps of Langlade County, I have discovered a few tips that have served me well over the years. The one thing I can share is that if there are mistakes to be made, I have made them.

The first tip I would like to share is prepare for your hunt. This could mean a variety of things such as researching the area you plan to hunt. Today, we have all sorts of ways we can scout an area. You can use topographical maps, scouting cameras and of course Google Earth. Back in the early days, we just headed out to the woods and explored, by the way this still works. Knowing your area in and out can make or break a hunt. For example, if you make a shot on an animal and you have to track it in the dark, knowing the terrain and landmarks can save you from getting lost. Another key point is to let someone know where you will be hunting and when you plan to return. If a situation should occur and you don’t make it home at a designated time someone will know where to start the search. Many of us hunt out of tree stands and we all know accidents can happen. This leads me into my next tip, always, I mean always wear a safety harness when hunting out of an elevated stand. Too many hunters have been injured or worse by falling out of their stand. Don’t take that chance, spend the money and get a safety harness; it will save your life. I always keep my phone in my jacket pocket and not in my pack; it won’t help me if I can’t reach it.

When it comes to hunting itself, one thing I have learned is to be patient. On too many occasions I have moved to quickly and was busted or rushed the shot and missed, or even worse, made a bad shot. I still get an adrenalin rush when animals get close. I pay more attention to my movements and focus more on putting the pin on the spot and squeezing the trigger. The day I stop getting excited is the day I will take up stamp collecting or knitting. Another important aspect is to believe in yourself and your equipment. If you second guess yourself on anything, your confidence will suffer. Every time you pick up your bow and head to the woods, maintain the attitude today is my day to be successful. Scent control is always important but hunting the wind is even more important. If you like a particular area, hang multiple stands so you can hunt it with different wind conditions. Keep checking the wind; it can change in a matter of minutes. I have left great sets just because the wind has changed. When October rolls around and the rut starts, plan to hunt all day if possible, anything can happen at any time. Sitting all day can be tough, but staying quiet and still can be an even bigger challenge. Game can come at any time from any direction so keep tuned in to your area.  Watch for slight movements and listen to every noise, most of the time its squirrels but sometimes it’s a deer. The last two things I would like to share are know your distance and practice at those distances. We all have our comfort levels at which we like to shoot so become proficient at those yardages. Spend some time at your local indoor or outdoor ranges and use you rangefinder. It’s a good idea to range trees, rocks or whatever landmark is available where game may pass thru.

For those of us who love the fall hunting season make 2014 a safe and enjoyable hunt. Remember it’s about the journey and adventure not just the kill; we are the stewards of the outdoors. Take the time to share your passion for the outdoors with someone it will make you a better person. Now get out there and Hunt.