Preseason Fitness, Scouting, Keys To Hunting Success



Archery deer season is right around the corner, starting on Aug. 24, in the units along the Mogollon Rim.

This is a three-week season where an over-the-counter purchase of an archery deer tag of $34.75 will put a hunter in the woods, pursuing big game with a bow.

That deer tag can be used again on Dec. 14 until the end of the calendar year, that is, ifo deer was harvested in the early season. This is a generous hunt and a bargain for any outdoorsman.

Some hunters will purchase an archery deer tag as an excuse to get away to the woods for a few days and enjoy the hunting experience.

Others may take it a bit more seriously and spend countless hours in preparation.

If you want to improve your odds this fall or winter, here are three areas you can work on now.

Keep in mind, even with ample preparation, the deer will win the contest most of the time.
A simple walking program and a little exercise can take you a long way in making your archery hunt more enjoyable and possibly more productive.

Toning muscles and making your heart and lungs respond to a workload will pay big dividends in the mountainous terrain of the Rim Country. I may sound like a broken record, which certainly tells my age, but get fit for the fall hunts now.

Start gradually with a mile in about 15 to 20 minutes, at least three times per week.

The optimum would be a five-day workout where you are eventually walking at least 2 miles per session. The keys are to start gradually and be consistent in the walking program.

The second area of emphasis should be target practicing with field-tip arrows that weigh the same as your broadheads.

Even with the weight, calculated broadheads will fly a bit differently than a field-tip arrow.

I have asked the question of many accomplished archers, "How many arrows per practice sessionre enough?"

The most common answer is somewhere between 10 and 25 total shots before fatigue settles into the shoulder and back muscles.

As the body gets into shape pulling a compound bow will become a normal range of motion and the number of shots will likely increase.

I might add, it is necessary to practice the distance you plan to shoot during the hunt.

My comfort and confidence zone is 20 to 40 yards and that is the distance where most of my practicing takes place.

There are numerous archery hunters in the Rim Country who are confident out to 100 yards.

They accomplished this by knowing their equipment and shooting at that distance.

The third and final point is to hunt where there are animals, which means preseason scouting.

The August to September hunt is predicated by available water sources and trails to the bedding areas. Spending time checking tracks is critical to the location for future archery hunts. With the trail camera,unters can determine deer use in an area, as well as the size of any local bucks. I know of hunters who have held off from shooting a good buck, knowing there is a great one nearby, because of a photo from a trail camera.

If you actually put into operation these three points, your chances of harvesting a deer in the archery season have improved. Remember, there are so many variables that come into play and any of them tip the scale in favor of the deer. Archery is great way to see wildlife up close, give it a try.

Enjoy your hunting season in God's creation.

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