As bow hunting season draws closer, now is the time to start preparing. Maybe archery piqued your interest during the off-season, and now you want to give it a shot for the first time. Maybe you are already familiar with rifle hunting, but want to put the gun down and pick up a bow and arrow instead.
Regardless of your experience, now is the perfect time to get started. Of course, you need to prepare for bow hunting season adequately ahead of time to guarantee the smoothest experience when you go outdoors. Here are some things you can do now so that you get the most out of your first bow hunting experience.
Find or Buy Gear
Besides a bow and arrows, you will also need a release aid, spare bows, bow sights, and hunting gear. If you already hunt using a rifle, you may have the appropriate outerwear. If you’re a complete beginner though, you need comfortable camouflage gear appropriate for the time of year. Typically this will include a shirt, pants, hat, and a jacket or coat.
Locate a Place to Hunt
Before fall hunting season begins, find a place to hunt. If you’re a gun hunter, you will probably already have a favorite hunting spot. If so, make sure that there are no restrictions to you hunting with a bow and arrow instead of a rifle.
If you’ve never hunted before, you want to seek out public land. While it’s possible to hunt on private land, you typically have to have connections as well as permission to do so. You can focus on this as a goal for later hunting seasons.
Hunting with a bow and arrow is not the same as doing so with a gun, because there is a completely different technique to master. The only way to get good at bow hunting is through practice. If you can, get outside daily and spend considerable time getting comfortable with shooting an arrow.
Eventually you can move on to dummy targets, and then actual targets. It may take some time for you to get the kind of perfect shots you’re hoping for, so be patient with yourself along the way.
Find Other Hunters
By finding a crew of others who enjoy bow hunting, you get a host of benefits. You and your new friends can introduce each other to new hunting spots, and if they’re more experienced hunters, they can give you pointers on how to improve. While hunting is mostly a solitary experience, going out with a group can also be safer; especially your first time out.
Check Your Gear
After you have completed your first bow hunting season, it’s crucial that you check your gear. Check your bow string for damage, and replace it if you need to. Doing so now prevents any breakage when you’re in the middle of a hunt and need to rely on your gear the most. For more gear tips, check out our blog on Basic Bow String Maintenance.
You also want to take a look at your arrows. Depending on the kind of shafts they have, they can curve after enough use. If your arrows are not completely straight, you might want to discard them.
Replace Old Gear if Necessary
Other parts of your gear may have experienced wear and tear during bow hunting season. Consider replacing your cover scents so they are more effective, and get new arrows. Even if they haven’t curved, arrow points can lose their sharpness.