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Deer hunting preparation checklist

Updated on August 21, 2012

Deer Hunting Preparations begin

Aerial maps, game cameras, moon phase charts are all part of the early process of successful deer hunting.
Aerial maps, game cameras, moon phase charts are all part of the early process of successful deer hunting.

Deer hunting preparations are year round

This mineral bed attracts deer year round. It's placed between a bedding area and Ag field, where we know deer always travel.
This mineral bed attracts deer year round. It's placed between a bedding area and Ag field, where we know deer always travel.

Locate your whitetail bucks early

By preparing in advance you'll know where your trophy deer and you can develop a game plan for hunting these deer. Mineral beds that are put in in May or June will get you good looks at deer on your trail cams come August or September. Food plots and feeders will keep the does coming and during rut where you find does a buck is sure to follow. Deer are creatures of habit, keep track of them early, learn their travel routes and bedding areas.

Nocturnal buck

Hunters haven't even hit the woods yet but the bucks are still nocturnal. This will change when the rut kicks in.
Hunters haven't even hit the woods yet but the bucks are still nocturnal. This will change when the rut kicks in.

Successful hunters are prepared

Have you ever noticed that the same hunters always seem to bring home game, while others are seeing very little action. You think that they are just lucky, well it's not luck they are well prepared long before season ever begins. They've had their equipment ready for months, rifles sighted, trails scouted and deer located. Many hunters spend twice as much time preparing for the season than they actually do hunting. Much of our scouting comes when we go out turkey hunting in the spring. Without leaving the comfort of home you can, check moon phases, weather charts, purchase a hunting license, study your game cam pics from last season. There's also studying aerial maps, predicting your rut and scheduling vacation time around it.

Deer hunting never really ends

Serious deer hunters are always looking ahead to the next hunt, even if it's 6 months away. As soon as deer season ends, another begins you should be preparing for next season. During spring turkey season you should begin scouting for sheds, preparing mineral beds, feeders, food plots, etc. There's always something that should be done, even if it's just getting your hunting camp ready. Start by making check list such as the one below, if you think of something, add it to your list. These are items we typically do every year.

Hunter's to do list:

Secure hunting property [permission, pay lease, management permits]
Purchase hunting license Hunters safety or management area courses
Camp maintenance
Hunting stand maintenance
Feeders, food plots, mineral beds and trail cams
Get in shape for those long hikes thru the woods
Sight-in rifles and purchase ammo
Topo & aerial maps
Preseason scouting and trail trimming if needed
Schedule vacation

EQUIPMENT AND GEAR CHECKLIST:
Rifle, bow, muzzleloader and ammo
Compass, flagging tape and gps
Flashlight and batteries
Binoculars, spotting scope or range finders
Sharp knife
License holder with pencil
Drag rope
Topo and aerial maps
Orange vest
Whistle
Hand and feet warmers
Safety belt for climbing
Calls and scents
Spare gloves, socks and warm hat
Lighter or matches [dry]
Water and snacks
Rain gear
First-aid kit
Disposable gloves

Early prep lets you enjoy hunting

Instead of doing a lot of last minute preparations, you can sit back and enjoy watching wildlife with little worries. If you're not hurrying thru hunting season unprepared, you'll see more game and have the chance to relax and enjoy it. Our biggest advantage over deer is your mind, learn as much as possible early and use this knowledge to your advantage. I keep a deer hunter's journal and put together a plan before each hunting season begins. Looking over aerial maps, tracking deer with game cameras, using mineral beds and feeders to monitor deer, it's all part of our early preparations.

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