Countdown to Opening Day


Think of your opening day hunt as a Google Earth search: Whether you’re after whitetail deer, elk, antelope, or other game, begin with the big picture and work your way down to the arrow’s release. Houston, we have launch in:

SD Deer Oct 2011 41110. Locate game by general scouting. Use trail cameras, binoculars, and spotting scopes to locate where the big ones live. Talk to the mail carrier, UPS driver, hikers, and farmers about game they may have seen.

9. Learn the lay of the land. Before you put boots on the ground, know the boundaries, the prevailing winds, where crops have been planted, and places that will make good bedding.

8. Select multiple stands. The best time to hunt a stand is the first time, and hunting your best stand when the wind is wrong can be a huge mistake. Select stands for wind direction and morning or evening potential.

7. Test all of your equipment, especially broadheads. Be sure your bow is tuned, you limbsaver-crossbow-rail-lube-crossbow-209827lar[1]can cock your crossbow consistently, your tree stands are secure, and you can handle your safety harness in the dark.  Make sure your strings are waxed and rails lubed.

6. Do a sound check. Use your cell phone and record your release. If the sound is sharp and abrupt, consider string leaches, a sound-reducing stabilizer, and other sound-reducing gear.

Truglo products 0025. Hang your gear outside. Scent-elimination gear works from the inside out, and allowing your outer layer to smell like the woods is a great idea. Use a backpack like a desk organizer, with specific gear in specific pockets. Store your gear in a plastic tub on the way to the hunt.

4. Take a shower. Use scent-elimination soaps and be sure you’re as clean as possible before you leave. Be sure to fill your gas tank the night before the hunt so there are no last-minute scent bombs.

3. Arrive early. Whether evening or morning, arrive earlier than you think necessary. Sitting in a stand and waiting for first light is pure heaven, and afternoon stands can be successful before prime time.

August Products 2011 1362. Check the wind. Despite all of your scent elimination preps, you can’t cancel all human odor. Select a stand that gives you a favorable wind.

1. Stalk your stand. Finally, approach your stand quietly and as downwind as possible. It’s worth walking an extra half mile not to scent-spook the area you’re hunting. Arrive quietly, ascend silently, hook up your harness, and let the magic happen. Good luck!






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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.