Six Things to Do While You’re Waiting for Next Deer SeasonPosted on: May 18, 2020 By: FHMD
With the summer months just around the corner, one thing on most deer hunters’ minds, other than how soon they can get back in their tree stand, is the buck that slipped out of bow range or the one just across the fence line during gun season. Never mind the hardships and anticipation of deer hunting, here are some activities to pass the time that might help make you become a better deer hunter for the upcoming season.
Set your goals for the 2020 season. If you want to shoot bigger, more mature bucks, learn to let the smaller deer walk. Hopefully your neighbors will do the same, allowing those young bucks to live to see another season. Goals cover what, if any, sacrifices you are willing to make to have better deer hunts. However, if your enjoyment of the hunt is tied to filling tags each season and you’re not worried about inches of antler, then have at it. In the end, setting goals helps get you back out there to share the traditions that hunting offers.
Know Where You Are Hunting
Scouting an area can mean the difference between coming home empty-handed to putting meat in the freezer or hanging a trophy on the wall. Hunters are often “outsmarted” by deer because the animal is in the constant state of remaining in his/her habitat. In simpler terms, it can be compared to having the home-field advantage in sports. Smart deer hunters use the land and terrain to their advantage. During the summer, hunters should take advantage of reviewing maps and scouting areas where they want to pursue deer. A great way of finding out what deer are doing is by using trail cameras to take note of the activities conducted and at what time of day those activities occur. Realtree has a great article to help select the best location for your camera to optimize use. We also want to remind you to be responsible and respectful when placing trail cameras and be sure to have permission if you are accessing private land.
Every hunter struggles to make the shot sometimes. Hunting can often feel like “all the planets have to align,” whether you’re lining up a 20-yard pin for a shot at a doe or trying to maintain slow breathing while waiting for an opportunity to bag a monster buck tailing a doe through the woods during the rut. Bowhunters typically practice more because they practice shooting at various distances and angles. However, the trick of becoming more precise is through taking fewer shots at a time, setting the bow down to take a break and then continuing your practice later. How this technique transfers to hunting is, he/she is not taking countless shots. They are planning to take his/her best shot. Be sure to check out this article which teaches how to create a backyard archery paradise. Avid gun hunters should also check out the target that shows what the shooter is doing wrong with an accurate gun (pictured below).
Knowledge is safety. Hunter education can instill responsible behavior, improve skills, increase knowledge and encourage the involvement of beginner and veteran hunters. Responsible, ethical behavior and personal involvement are both essential to the survival of hunting. Proper techniques and best practices can save lives, either through wearing a safety harness when climbing and sitting in a tree stand, practicing gun safety, or knowing what and when to shoot. Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has an abundance of information on the importance of hunter education. As well as a variety of videos on hunter ethics, tree stand safety and other topics, provided by the International Hunter Education Association.
Create your hunting bucket list. Where would you travel to hunt if time and money weren’t a factor? Or, more realistically, where can you go and what would you like to hunt for? Maryland offers many very desirable species, such as the sika deer, black ducks, and snakehead — which is actually a very doable slam. Find out how you can complete this slam and whether you need to use a guide. Fish & Hunt Maryland has a huge list of guides for locations across the state.
Start out by emptying the freezer in preparation for the upcoming season. For a delicious venison steak recipe with fresh parsley and pepper, check out this venison steak with chimichurri video. Looking for something spicier? Prepare this peppered venison tenderloin recipe. Looking for something to do with the last duck breast forgotten in the freezer? Try this grilled breast with red currant sauce recipe. Since Bluefish are abundant during the summer, try this smoked Bluefish pate recipe. Get creative and have fun with it!
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has compiled a FAQ list per Governor Hogan’s policy during the current shelter in place order. If there are questions, please check the site for the most up-to-date information from the Governor’s office.
In need of additional inspiration? Check out Fish & Hunt Maryland’s latest articles written by fellow sportsmen and local partners.
When it’s time to travel again and you’re planning the next trip, check out the Plan Your Trip section of the Fish &Hunt Maryland’s website to find lodging, fishing charters/guides, and outdoor retailer options.