Click to view my Twitter profile

Click to view my Twitter profile

I spend a lot of time lurking on Twitter and FaceBook.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m almost always doing other things too, I just keep the feed running and try to spot photos and key words that I’m interested in. (For me, that’s anything related to: hunting, fishing, archery, firearms, physics, climatology, astronomy, history, the film industry, books, and cooking. Yeah, I stay busy.)  One of the repeated themes I’ve seen, year after year, is the ‘countdown to hunting season!’  I even have a widget here on the page that I sometimes use to count down to the next shoot, or Turkey season, Deer season, etc.

It occurred to me the other day that this isn’t really the right mindset.  I was reading something  Mark posted over at Wired to Hunt , and shortly after that I saw somebody post how many days until the start of season, and I thought ‘wait, that isn’t right, we’ve got so much to do between now and then to get ready for season, it’s like season never ends.’   That’s when I decided I was going to make a list of things that needed done, by month, to get ready for the HARVEST season.  You see, we can scout, plant food plots or keep feeders full, place and move trail cameras, etc. all year long (depending on your state, or your location in the state, some places feeders are illegal, etc. CHECK YOUR LOCAL REGULATIONS) so we’ve moved from being seasonal hunters to a more farm-like mindset.  End of season scouting tells us how the ‘livestock’ have fared, collecting sheds gives us an idea of the local population of bucks, planting food plots or feeding through the winter helps the herd survive, practicing our shooting skills through the spring with 3D shoots, etc.

So, while not finished, here are my monthly thoughts on ‘what to do through the year.’  Keep in mind I don’t HAVE a piece of property to put a food plot on, at this point I am hunting on public land almost entirely.  Also keep in mind that I shoot 3D both as a pro-staffer for Hips Archery Targets and as a Gable Sporting Goods staff shooter, so nine months of the year, ‘shoot 3D tournaments’ is on the list.  Also, this isn’t a comprehensive list, I thought of this yesterday, and literally made decisions on what goes on the list as I sit here in front of my computer.  I’m sure I’ve left things off, and keep in mind that this is MY list. If you have hunting property, you’ll need to add in working on food plots, or moving stands, etc.  I don’t have a need for those items, because I have to pull my stand out every night on public land.

January:

  • End of season, look at trails and consider needs for the coming year in terms of gear and property.
  • Look at the gear I have, make repairs and decisions on replace or discard various damaged pieces of equipment.
  • Watch for clearance gear from various sources (including social media.)
  • Reset bow for 3D tournaments, shoot 3D tournaments

February:

  • Archery 3D season picks up, practice form and shot sequence, continue to shoot 3D tournaments
  • Scout local Wildlife Management Areas while small game hunting. (DID NOT DO, meant to, just didn’t get out and do it.)
  • Shed hunt local Wildlife Management Areas.

March:

  • Continue to shed hunt
  • Continue to shoot 3D tournaments
  • Talk to various people regarding finding hog, turkey, and deer hunting opportunities
  • Turkey season starts, note down deer and hog sign while turkey hunting

April:

  • Continue to shoot 3D tournaments
  • Evaluate my firearms – are there any that I can sell or trade, do I need to purchase more ammunition
  • Be aware of deer and/or hog sign while turkey hunting*
  • Continue to look for property
  • Fishing for stripers on Lake Allatoona
  • Continue to hunt turkey and make notes

May:

  • Continue to shoot 3D tournaments
  • More fishing
  • Continue to look for property
  • Plan trail cam use for summer, write down a plan
  • Turkey season ends, check notes for possible trail cam locations

June:

  • Scout local Wildlife Management Areas and check turkey hunting notes for likely trail cam use
  • Continue to shoot 3D tournaments
  • Place trail cam (I am very leery of this on a WMA, I have ONE trail cam, and I don’t want to have it stolen.)
  • Double check climbing harness and climbing stand for damage.
  • Make tentative plans for using vacation in the fall
  • Apply for quota hunts with the Georgia DNR
  • Make a calendar of important dates for various seasons and hunts on public land

July:

  • Check trail cam, move if warranted.
  • Continue to shoot 3D tournaments, shoot the state championship
  • Scout more Wildlife Management Areas, talk to rangers if possible.
  • Continue to look for hunting property
  • Check firearms for accuracy, sight in again if needed, double check ammunition
  • Discuss hunting trips with my hunting friends

August:

  • Check trail cam, move if warranted.
  • Small game season starts, leverage small game hunting to scout for big game
  • Make plans for the opening of archery season
  • Firm up vacation plans for hunting season
  • Check supply of scent free products
  • Set up hunting bow, shoot season-prep tournaments

September:

  • Archery season starts
  • Continue to scout for firearm season while hunting
  • Continue to look for property
  • Re-examine gear to determine if any changes are needed
  • Check trail cam, move if warranted
  • Note acorn development, discuss with other hunters

October:

  • Continue to bowhunt
  • Note down any turkey sign or encounters for spring turkey season
  • Check trail cam, move if warranted
  • Take notes of any hog sign
  • Take notes of rub lines or long distance deer sightings

November:

  • Check notes so far for the year, try to develop doe patterns for the rut
  • Check trail cam, move if warranted.
  • Take notes on movement, look for the beginning of the rut.
  • Note down any turkey sign or encounters for spring turkey season
  • Hunt the rut.

December:

  • Hunt the end of the rut and post-rut
  • Check trail cam, pull it after the last day of hunting
  • Note down any turkey sign or encounters for spring turkey season
  • Examine notes and list from the year, make changes if needed for the next year.

 

This also isn’t meant to be some obsessive/compulsive “Oh, DARN, I forgot to do X!” list, it just breaks down what I would (or should) do for the months.  For example, EVERY YEAR I say I’m going to small game hunt through February, to scout, shed hunt, and put some squirrels in the freezer.  I never do. Ever.  Because 3D season is in full swing, and if I’m not at a 3D shoot, I’m planning to run one, practicing for the next one, or saying ‘Screw it, it’s raining, I’m going to watch The Avengers again!’  I’m just glad nobody’s grading me on it. 🙂

This squirrel approves

This squirrel approves

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