The 2020 bow season was phenomenal in Southern Ohio, or at least it was for me. The COVID lockdown led to much more time for preparation and more time to hunt. I logged close to 40 hours in the woods from season opening in September to November 13th, when I killed my buck. 40 hours may not seem like much to a professional hunter but for a beginner with a full time job like me, it is.
Finding the time to get out and hunt during the season is tough for guys like me, that’s why they call us the “Weekend Warriors”. There is a very small population of hunters that call themselves “professional” and are able to make a living from hunting. Don’t get me wrong, we need those guys, and girls, to be out there everyday, learning the best ways hunt, testing the best equipment, and filming it all so we amateurs can make the most informed decisions on tactics and what equipment to spend our hard earned cash on. Without the valuable information from hunting professionals I wouldn’t be where I am today in my hunting life.
Keeping Focused During the Summer
Personally, I was so pumped after last season ended to start preparing for this season, yet as the weather became warmer my excitement waned. Before I knew it the summer sun was baking me as I tried to keep up with the yard work, the garden, and daily chores on the farm. After finishing a long, hot Saturday of riding the mower and the never ending weedeating I was left with no desire to unpack my bow and practice shooting, I wanted a cold drink and air conditioned house instead.
On top of all the work around the house I also had two sons who were in the midst of baseball. As all baseball parents soon find out, what free time I used to have was soon sucked away by the constant practices and games in the evening and weekend. I also still had to contend with a full time work schedule, taking up each weekday.
So how do you keep your hunting focus during the dog days of summer? This is a question I can only partially answer because I am still learning how. Keeping the fire burning on my desire to hunt isn’t the hard part, it’s the work involved to keep your muscles, mind, and equipment ready for the upcoming season.
The Foundation to a Successful Season
Keeping a constant bow shooting practice schedule is key to a consistent and accurate shot placement when the pressure is on and the buck is in your sights. Make that bow and release become an extension of yourself. Get to know the minute details of your bow, this will come in very handy when something is “off”, keying you in on what needs fixed quickly, before it ruins your shot on that cool Autumn morning when the monster buck you’ve been watching on your trail cam steps out exactly where you thought he would.
Not many YouTube hunter pros will take the time to explain that shooting practice is the most important factor in getting a deer on the ground. Instead they will spend much more time on how to summer scout, where to place trail cams (and which ones to buy), and how to set up food plots. Again, don’t get me wrong, all these preseason preparations are important. Knowing where that big buck lives, what he eats, where he sleeps, and how to get him on your property can be the finishing block you lay on your Buck Killin’ Castle, but the foundation blocks are laid long before, during shooting practice.
Let me give you a quick scenario:
—It’s October 22nd and you’ve hunted your tail off. You’ve seen some great looking bucks but just haven’t been able to close the deal. But today a cold front is moving in and you just know for a fact that the big boy will be up and moving. You know this because you have scouted his bed in the sweaty slogs through the woods last August when you saw his bed and old rubs. You also saw him in velvet on your trail cam you set up right where it needed to be. So you are 100% sure he will be walking on that one particular trail on this particular morning.
Finding the time to practice shooting took a backseat this year, yeah you know it’s important but you got busy with real life stuff, like work and kids activities, a legit excuse. There were days in the summer where you may have been able to slip in a half hour or so on training, but it was so dang hot… oh well, you shot about ten arrows in the early fall and they grouped well so that’s good right?
In the cool, crisp morning of October 22nd you’re decked out in your nice new hunting camo, scent free activated charcoal that you kept in a air tight tote just like Jon Eberhart told you to do. That huge toad of a buck that just stepped out of the brush right in front of you doesn’t see or smell you…he’s only 25 yards away… with shaky hands you slowly pull back on your bow and look through your peep sight… and see nothing. You look at the peep again and see that it is twisted a quarter turn and facing the wrong direction! You hurry to let your draw down and twist the peep, then quickly draw back. This time you see something, but only brush and trees, that buck is long gone, never to be seen again.—
Don’t be that guy, get those reps in whenever possible and continue to lay those foundation blocks to your next successful season.
Check out my short YouTube video here
I plan to list my “Beginners Guide to Bow Hunting Equipment” on my next blog post.. stay tuned0