Crossposted from Preparing Your Kill Zone at Grow the Hunt
– By Brandon Wikman
Many archery enthusiasts are gearing up for the cherished opening whitetail weekend, which is mere weeks away. I am as well! Last weekend I made it a clear objective to wrap up my hunting checklist. I’ve been finishing last-minute touch-ups near my hunting site; I’ve been on the mower clearing trails, sawing shot-blocking limbs and hanging sets of stands like mad!
I consider mowing a timeless way to ease the mind and get some serious cutting done. Considering that I’ve put off mowing for several weeks, the grassy weeds are as tall as I am. Yesterday I started my tractor, popped in my iPod ear buds and ventured to the woods.
My family farm has several ATV trails that meander across the agriculture fields and through the forestland into the swamps. It takes a solid day to cut down the weeds that choke the small alleyways of woodland intersections.
I like to mow because it makes getting into my stands and trails much easier, quieter and stealthier. Instead of swimming my way to stands, now I can simply jump out of my truck and ease my way carelessly to my stand without worrying about blowing any game out from senseless noise.
I’ve always been a concrete believer that you should have your stands in the woods and attached to a tree a solid month before hunting season arrives. After I finished mowing, I threw a pile of stands onto my ATV and got to work hanging my perches. Hanging stands in the summer is obviously no walk in the park. The combination of sauna-style humidity, scorching heat and a bombardment of mosquitoes make it a miserable time in the forest.
I’ll typically try to hang stands on a weekend when rain is in the forecast. I do this for a number of reasons including lower temperatures and a quicker scent wash as the rain will help eliminate your foul human odors.
I’ve had several friends miss incredible opportunities at giant deer due to their forgetfulness to clear shooting lanes. I’ve been super fortunate to never have that problem because I’ve witnessed too many others in that predicament. All it takes is a simple pole saw and elbow grease to clear a few shooting lanes from your stand. This can be done in a matter of minutes.
Clearing underbrush and limbs away from your stand will not only enhance your shot opportunity, but also provide you a silent entry and exit route. There’s no need to worry about getting an eye poked when walking to your stand in the dark. You will be glad you took a few minutes of your afternoon to do so come deer season.
As season approaches, we must be ready for shooting X-rings, but not forget the little things like a weekend’s work finishing last-minute touch-ups at our hunting sites.