The first day of archery season is approaching fast. Are you ready? Right now is the time to make sure you have everything in order. Starting with the elusive whitetail’s feeding and bedding patterns. The beginning of the season is the best time to hunt whitetails on their normal travel routes. When the rut arrives, that all goes out the window. If you’re in a state that does not allow baiting, I recommend you set your trail cams on trails, not bait. The bait will pull them from their normal travel routes. In Pennsylvania, you have to stop baiting 30 days prior to the season. If you stop baiting, the deer simply find other areas to feed.
When you find a buck you want to take, try to pattern him. If you’re getting the buck on your trail cam in the dark, or real early in the morning, move your trail cam to an area where you think he might be in the daylight. Once you’ve located this, that’s when you make your game plan.
Finding the buck is only a small part of the hunt. We owe it to our prey to be the most efficient killing machine we can be. That starts with keeping our equipment in tip top shape. This includes our bow, release, arrow rest, arrow shafts, arrow vanes and our broadheads. If you don’t pull your bow out until the morning of first day, there is no way of knowing if you have issues. Hence practice is not only a must, but it feeds into our responsibility to be efficient harvesters. If your release is rusty, or the strap is tearing, or the trigger is not smooth, these are all things that can affect our shot and keep us from making a quick kill. If you have vanes that are torn or missing, your arrow flight will not be on its mark. If your carbon arrows have splinters, that is not very safe for the shooter. If you have aluminum arrows, a bent arrow can take you way off your mark. We shoot razor head broadheads for a reason – they cut on impact. Our goal is to do as much damage to the circulatory system as we can. Using dull or chipped broadheads will make it harder to make a fast kill.
So as you make your way in the woods this year, make sure you have all your equipment in order. We have enough organizations out there attacking our hunting rights, lets not give them any more reasons to come after us. Be an efficient and well practiced hunting machine!
Hunt safe, but hunt hard!
Ken Baney is a Western States Sportsman Pro Staff member and experienced hunter and outdoorsman.
Photo: Clinton and Charles Robertson