Outdoors with Forda Birds—By John Andreoni
The archery deer season opens in a week and most hunters are making final preparations if they haven’t already. For the most part, archery hunters have been getting ready for months, and the really serious bow hunter never stops. He’s probably thinking about bagging a trophy buck constantly, and why not since he can hunt in Ohio over five months a year plus an additional month or two if going out-of-state is included in his agenda. While a good number of bow hunters are looking for the big rack, most will still be trying to put some venison on the table. Either way, bow hunters need a certain skill set if they intend to be successful, and when the moment of truth comes around, that’s when all of the preparation pays off.
I never morphed into a serious deer hunter, so my experiences are limited. However, I think I have enough common sense to know what needs to be done to bag a deer. For example, how does one find private land to hunt? In this area, most of the good hunting spots are spoken for in one way or another. First, there are pieces of private ground where hunting will never be permitted. Every hunter knows where these spots are located and will eagerly share the information. In some case, the information may be reliable. On the other hand, it’s quite possible the person talking to you was turned down and doesn’t want to see someone else get permission. If you have the gumption to approach a property owner without the fear of being rejected, go for it.
When approaching a reluctant property owner, there are certain tactics that work better than others, however, none of them are guaranteed. Understand that it makes much more sense to approach a property owner through his values rather than yours. He could care less that you saw a big buck going into his woods and you wanted to hang the antlers on your den wall. He might listen more if you let him know that you understand why he doesn’t want hunters on his land. Let him know you learned his reasons from property owners who let you hunt. This works well if places you hunt happen to be respected neighbors. Inform him that you respect the property you hunt and expect to get thrown off if the trust is violated. Also, let him know that owners who allow you to hunt are comfortable in knowing that you will police and protect the property. You will get rejected, but at the same time, you could find an exceptional place to hunt.
The other day, I shook the dust off my old bow and attempted to draw it. I was close to having one of those “agony of defeat” moments. I haven’t shot for years, and it shows. It may be a little late now, but make sure you’re shooting a few arrows every day. Most bow hunters know practice is a must, but there are still those who take everything for granted and forget that they’re a bit older each season. You might be able to pick up a bow on a nice warm day and shoot it comfortably. It might not be as easy on a cold morning when you’re cramped up in a tree stand. I imagine a deer would get the hint if you drew your bow and let out an involuntary groan. Of course, when that happens it’s a signal for some to switch to a cross bow, and that’s okay. Regardless, all forms of hunting take a certain amount of strength and stamina, and that’s a preparation hunters tend to ignore.
I have had enough experience with proper weight and exercise to know that both are beneficial when taking part in any outdoor related activity. I figure I’ve lost and gained six or seven hundred pounds. I’ve exercised with enough regularity to know that when I stopped, I got sluggish and started to live in a recliner. It’s important to set aside a physical training time which includes both strength and cardio exercises. I have the tendency to spend a lot of time on a treadmill when I get to the gym and ignore the weights. The way it was explained to me why that’s wrong is treadmill time might prepare me to catch the bear. Strength will keep the bear from eating me once I grab it.
All hunters know that last minute preparation is important. Long-term preparation is even more important, especially as we grow older. I hope you’re ready to enjoy the hunting season regardless of what you’re chasing. That’s when you reap the benefits of getting ready.