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Deer Season Prep Checklist

Eight easy steps to get you ready for the deer hunting season.

There’s lots to enjoy about the summer season: from camping to fishing trips, we can appreciate the break from hunting that we get while the weather is hot. But let’s be honest, these are just distractions from a season we’re passionate about. So while we anxiously await the start of deer season, channel some of that passion into preparing yourself for the hunting season(s) ahead. Below, you’ll find a checklist to better prepare for deer season.

1. Plan Your hunt

Nothing ruins a hunt like tripping over red tape. Be sure to review the most up-to-date regulations for your hunting area and purchase your license in advance of opening day. If you’re going to be hunting out-of-state, you’ll want to get familiar with the application process and its deadlines well before the hunting season you hope to participate in.

2. Do Some Scouting

Scouting is one of the most overlooked hunting season preparations, but the knowledge you can gain during preseason scouting is invaluable. While the bedding and movement patterns of deer may change when it’s finally hunting season, scouting helps you direct your efforts. You’ll want to take stock of the deer population in your hunting area, noting the movement of both bucks and does. After all, where the does go, the bucks will follow. You can scout with trail cameras or binoculars, but trail cameras have the advantage of providing 24/7 monitoring with little human intrusion. Meanwhile, binoculars are more mobile. If you’re just getting started with trail cameras, check out our blog on how to strategize their placement.

3. Set Up Your Spot

Whether you will be hunting from a tree stand or ground blind, it’s important to establish those spots early. You’ll want to allow some time to conduct your scouting before deciding on a precise location, but once you do, setting these up allow deer to become accustomed to their presence in their surroundings. If you have left your stand out all year long, make sure you double check that it’s structurally sound. Closer to the start of the season, you’ll want to return to your stand or blind and check for any shooting lane obstructions or objects in your path to and from your stand. You can quickly and quietly clear obstructions with a portable hand saw.

4. Check Your Equipment

Take some time to do an inventory of your equipment—making sure that you have everything you might need for your hunt. It may be time to upgrade anything that’s old or worn out, and those purchases can take time. Once you have all the gear you’ll need, get super familiar with its function, so that you’re comfortable when it’s time to use any of it under pressure. Finally, for the gear that you use year after year (especially your weapon), check that all its components are in good working condition. That last thing you want is for your equipment to fail you when it really counts.

5. Conceal Yourself with Camo

Camouflage is your main advantage when it comes to concealment, which is why DSG Outerwear has invested in significant expansions of its gear each season. If you check out the latest releases, you’ll find some update favorites (like the Bexley and Kylie sets), as well as new camouflage patterns (including Mossy Oak® Obsession® and Mossy Oak® Country DNA™). From base layers to drop seat bibs, we’ve had the outdoors woman in mind when designing each of these pieces. For the gear you’re still using from previous years, note that the best way to prolong the longevity of your gear is to wash it periodically, following the care instructions on the tag. You might also consider using a special detergent that eliminates scent from the clothing while washing it.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes time to take down an animal, you’ll want to be able to make a good, clean shot. The best way to set yourself up for success is to get a lot of practice in during the summer months—we’re talking hours of practice. Make sure that you can take shots with your firearm or bow at random ranges and from different angles. Then, stock up on ammunition and sharpen your broadheads. The more you practice with your weapon, the more comfortable and confident you will be when it’s time to take your shot.

7. Shape Up

It might not be the most fun part of getting ready for deer season but putting in some physical conditioning can be helpful when it counts. Even just incorporating more walking into your daily routine can help you get into the shape and achieve the stamina you may need for drawing back your bow or removing a big buck from the woods. Worst case scenario, you want to be able to drag a deer from a ditch, and hold your bow for as long as possible.

8. Make and Maintain Food Plots

There’s a lot of work that goes into establishing a food plot, but luckily, we’ve already compiled a blog post to get you started. If developing a food plot is something you have the space to implement, review the tips found on that post and get started on it as soon as possible. Providing adequate nutrition for your deer population with a food plot will help those bucks to grow larger antlers before hunting season.

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