What to Do After Deer Hunting Season Ends
It’s finally that time of year again when deer hunters across the nation leave the woods and fields, start weeping, and sadly retreat to their couches; especially if they weren’t lucky enough to fill their bow tag. What time of the year are we talking about? The end of deer hunting seasons, of course. Sure, it might mean more time for football and catching up on projects around the house, but that doesn’t mean we’re happy to see it go.
If this description fits you, you’re in luck. Just because it’s the end of deer season doesn’t mean you have to stop being a hunter and learning about your prey. There’s lots you can still do to celebrate your favorite obsession, even if you’re not perched high in a tree stand with your bow in hand. Let’s take a look at a few things you can (and should) be doing.
First, take time right after your deer hunting season ends to do some post-season scouting. Most people might not think of doing this after the season, because it wouldn’t improve their chance at getting a deer this year. But they’re truly missing out and could be hurting their chances of doing so next year. Simply lace up the boots and walk around your hunting property, following deer trails wherever they lead. You’ll often find new food sources, bedding areas, or great stand locations that you can use next season. Take good notes and pictures so you can develop a solid hunting plan next summer and fall. You’ll learn a tremendous amount about deer activity and be that much more likely to fill your tag next year.
Next, take advantage of your newly-found free time by cleaning and organizing your hunting gear. There’s no better time to do this because it’s all already spread out in your living room or garage anyway. And unless you’re a fan of throwing money away, clean gear will last a lot longer than gear covered in mud and blood. After cleaning each item, assess your hunting gear organizational system. If it consists of throwing it all in a pile in the closet, you need to rethink your approach. Buy some cheap holiday totes from the store and organize your gear by deer hunting season or species. Larger items like your Bone Collector Clothing Early, Mid, and Late Season Systems or G5 Outdoor Bow Accessories should go in first. Clearly label each plastic box so you don’t have to go digging through the pile next fall. Include smaller items, like your Knight & Hale Da’ Bone Deer Grunt Call call, in smaller boxes so they don’t get lost within the larger tote.
Following that organizational tip, now is a good time to organize and store all those Bushnell Trail Camera pictures you got throughout the last year. If you’re like most hunters, just keep downloading the pictures to the computer during the season as you most likely don’t have time to organize them at that point. But after the season closes, you’ve got all sorts of time to delete the garbage pictures and save any of the keepers. Set up folders on the computer to organize the pictures by location and by weeks. This might seem a little obsessive, but it sure makes going back to them the next year easier. You can quickly see when the deer activity peaked and how bucks changed their patterns at each hunting location, which could be your secret weapon next year.
When deer hunting season’s over, don’t just hang up the Hoyt Bow either. You’ll get rusty and your form will slip over the winter without practice. Now is a great time to join a local archery league or club. They often get together to shoot throughout the winter months, which helps pass the time between seasons. Having some peer pressure to keep shooting well will push you further as an archer and may even slightly simulate the adrenaline rush you get in a tree stand. If you don’t have access to an official league, simply get a buddy to join in on the effort and meet every week or biweekly to shoot some practice arrows. There are plenty of archery games you can try out too to keep the challenges fun.
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to stay active and continue your deer hunting passion throughout the year. Don’t just surrender to the couch, however tempting it may be.