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Getting Ready for Hunting Season...

As we inch closer to fall, the time of year that all hunters dread is upon us. But, we all have to do the things that must be done to get ready for hunting season. I have been to the hunt camp twice and still need to go a few more times to get prepared for what I hope is another good year pursuing the game I target.

I usually start by making a list of what needs to be done so I don’t forget something. When my list is complete, I break the duties down in the order of priority.

I usually check my existing stands to be sure they are still there and determine what maintenance needs to be done for the upcoming season. I look for things like worn hardware and torn skirts and make sure a storm has not dropped a tree or big limb on one of them.

A big tree fell on one of my ladder stands last year and was still leaning against the stand when I went to check on it. Boy, what a mess that was!

A big pine tree had fallen across the stand, bending the shooting rest and ladder. It took me several hours to cut the tree away from the stand and remove the stand from the tree it was attached to, followed by several more hours to fix the damaged parts before I could strap it back to the tree.

This is just one of the problems with leaving stands in the woods after hunting season is over.

Next comes trimming the new growth that is now in your shooting lanes. For this you might want a chain saw, pole saw and a machete. When I do the trimming, I like to get in my stand, with my buddy on the ground, and tell him which brush and limbs need to be trimmed. Then we do the same thing at his stands.

Once I have all of the new growth removed, I like to fertilize all the areas where I want to plant food plots. I use a soil tester to test the soil before fertilizing and liming the ground to be sure I am putting down the correct nutrients.

After the ground has had time to absorb the fertilizer, I then till under all of the old growth until the ground is nice and soft. I tried spraying vegetation killer on an old food plot once to kill all of the old vegetation, and I am pretty sure this was a bad thing, as I think the deer could smell it. That year I did not have any deer come back to that spot.

I till the ground at least twice more before planting the new food plot to be sure all of the old vegetation is tilled under. I usually buy several types and brands of seeds for my food plots and mix them all together so I will have a variety of plants for deer to eat.

I have tried several different ways to get the seeds buried in the soil. What has worked well for me is to drive over the seeded area with my four wheeler until the tires have driven over the entire food plot. This seems to push the seeds just far enough down so they can germinate.

Most of my stands have paths leading to them, and these small paths or roads are great places for smaller food plots. These areas are usually not very wide and are easy to till and plant. These little paths lead right up to your stand, so why not plant something on them that will attract more deer?

At the end of last season I found a new place to put a stand that has several crossing paths leading past this area. I needed a stand with a swivel seat so I could see all of the paths without moving around in the stand.

After some research, I purchased a Rivers Edge Spin Shot. I needed one that had a large wrap-around platform, was heavy duty (because I am just a little bit larger than the average guy), had a nice 360-degree swivel seat with a backrest and a shooting rail that was high enough and went all the way around the stand.

When it arrived, I took it in the garage and started to assemble it. To my amazement, all of the nuts and bolts had the same size head. If you have ever put one of these together, you know that you usually need a half dozen different size sockets and wrenches.

The assembly was easy, and the instructions were easy to understand. Once I had it together, I found the stand to be heavy-duty and the padded seat and back rest to be very comfortable. This stand has a real big platform with enough room for me to sit comfortably or stand and have plenty of room.

If you are in the market for a new stand, you might want to check this company out. In addition to the Spin Shot, they make a bunch of other styles. If the rest of their product line is as nice as the Spin Shot, you won’t be disappointed.

I also purchased a Universal Treestand Canopy RE750 from them, and I love it. It also was easy to assemble and attaches to the tree with ratchet straps.

This provides a roof to keep the sun and rain off of me. I hung some camo cloth from it so I will be completely concealed from the game. I think I’m going to like this!

When I got all of it put together and attached to the tree, I sat up there and immediately noticed what a different feeling it was.

It was like being in a little house up in a tree. I liked this so much that I purchased one for each of my other stands.

Cameras: I started a little early putting my game cameras out this year, but I usually like to have them up around the first of July.

I usually put out 5 to 6 of them around each stand, facing different directions, so I can try to pattern deer movement around the stands.

Game cameras are something I have never spent a pile of money on because if someone decides they want it, I will not be out a bunch of money.

One camera that has worked well for me is the Wild View Easy Cam. It has a bright flash, accepts SD cards, has a range to around 60 feet, is under $50 and takes pretty good pictures with time and date stamp. I do have a few pretty nice Moultrie cameras, but these were way more than $50 and do not see the woods until the season starts.

Feeders: This year I am going to do something new – start feeding the deer earlier. On my last trip to the hunt camp, I set out one feeder. When I go back in a week or so, I am going to set out three more.

I’m hoping that by putting out corn this early, I might be able to condition the deer to visit the feeders on a regular basis. I have also already put out mineral and salt blocks near the feeders.

I am concerned that I might be attracting more pigs, and this is not what I want to be feeding.

Scouting: Now is also a good time to walk around and scout for new areas to hunt. Look for well-defined animal trails and try to see the footprints of what has been traveling these trails.

Look for bedding areas or an area that has some natural food, like blackberries. You might end up finding an area that is better than some you already have. I am sure I have left out a thing or two that needs to be done before the season starts, but if you get out there now and get some of the work done, you will have most of it knocked out before the season starts.

Here is a copy of my list that I hope will help you in preparation of yours:

• Chain saw,

• gas and oil for chainsaw,

• pole saw, machete,

• WD-40,

• spare nuts and bolts for stands,

• rope,

• bug repellent,

• wire ties,

• string,

• snake boots,

• extra change of clothes,

• cordless drill,

• extra battery for cordless drill,

• drill bits,

• screwdrivers,

• ratchets,

• sockets,

• wrenches,

• cooler with ice and plenty of Gatorade and water,

• tick remover,

• extra ratchet straps,

• pulley system for hanging feeders,

• extra hardware for hanging feeders,

• corn, fertilizer,

• lime,

• salt and mineral blocks,

• extra camo cloth for stands,

• duct tape,

• electrical tape,

• game cameras,

• batteries for cameras,

• SD cards for cameras and anything else you will need.

I hope this will help you in your pursuit of your quarry.

I acquired another black gun last week and will be telling you about it in the next month or so.

Shoot Straight, Shoot Safe and Remember: If all guns were treated as if they were loaded, there would be NO MORE accidental shootings.

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”