April snow brings May showers for NE Ohio and much of the country in 2018. In spite of the alternate weather narrative, there is still plenty to do to prepare for the 2018 whitetail opener.
Organize your Deer Gear
May is the perfect time to inventory your gear and organize for the upcoming season. We have all had those moments at 4 AM during the rut: “Where did I put……”? Take the time now to organize and prepare for the upcoming season.
I created a series of lockers that house my gear. I like to take this time of year to organize this area and check the status of my gear. Early on, I want to know what I need to buy/replace. Knowing before it is needed, I can look for sales and deals on gear to save some money as well as be prepared once the season arrives. Preparation of my gear in May affords the luxury of knowing what I have and what I need and my focus shifts to the hunt come October.
Items I like to check:
- Fletchings, arrow shafts, and broadheads to ensure I have enough and they are in good condition
- Tow ropes, and clips
- Safety harness and lineman’s belts
- Boots and clothing
- Batteries in my rangefinder, headlamps/flashlights, and other devices
- Ground blinds for wear
- Scent control sprays
- Stands and climbing sticks
- Firearms and scopes
Plan the Pack
I like to pack and re-pack my pack during the rainy days in the spring. Finding just the right place in my backpack for all of my gear and knowing where things are, helps me to control what I can control when chaos ensues around me while I’m in the stand. I lay out my gear and plan where each piece will go and in what order I will use it. In my mind, I rank each item as to its use and purpose and organize these into groups. Then, I pack it all in the backpack looking for efficiency. I go so far as to unpack each piece to determine if it is in the right spot and gauge effectiveness of my placement choice. Ultimately, this is all part of my plan each and every season. I want to minimize movement in the stand and knowing where things are in the pack makes life simple.
Scouting is a recurring theme for this series. This May, the soft ground provides a unique opportunity to look for tracks along ag fields, trails, edge cover, and creek crossings. I look for the direction of travel as well as the overall size of the tracks and take notes on my findings. I know that things will change come fall, but I am looking for an overall understanding of the property and how the deer use it.
While there is much debate on whether or not you can determine the sex of the deer by its track, I frankly do not care. One thing I am sure of is that big deer make big tracks. I focus on looking for the largest sets of tracks on my property and then develop a plan for my trail cameras around those tracks and trails. It is a blend of old school woodsmanship and modern technology. This can be useful in all areas, but especially states where you cannot put out minerals or bait in front of your trail cameras. It is also useful on new ground and on public ground where you need a starting point as your formulate your plan for the upcoming season.
May is upon us and the Ohio opener is less than 5 months away. It will be here before we know it. Take the time NOW to set yourself up for success Later. You will be glad that you did.