The thrill of the hunt, especially for the real trophy’s that sometimes give us the slip, keeps our minds on hunting throughout the year. Though it’s disappointing when the hunting season ends, this gives us the time to start preparing for our next amazing hunt. The time leading up to your next hunting season is an opportunity to prepare and plan for your best hunt yet. From doing more research about your favorite hunting area, to putting in a little more practice time with your bow, or your rifle, to seeking out and finding the best new hunting gear to improve your chances of success in tracking down that next huge trophy that fills your mind.
Seek Out Some New Hunting Grounds
If you had a disappointing hunt, whether the success rate of your hunting group was lower than previous years, or if your hunting grounds were burned up in the many fires throughout the country, or if you are just looking for a new area, the best time to look is to start now. You may want to take a look at your state wildlife websites for maps and other information on new public lands that you may want to try. Some good areas to focus in on is some out of the way Wildlife Management Areas that may have some legal hunting areas nearby. National forest areas, and BLM lands, that are away from major cities that get less pressure from other hunters. Out-of-the- way WMAs or state forests in rural areas have less pressure than popular areas near cities. Once you find the area you want to target, you can take a look at sattelite view on search sites like google, or with apps like onX Hunt. Here you can zoom in to investigate the lay of the land, identify any property boundaries to look out for, and find areas that may hold deer. You can also spot good areas for the animals to get good access to food, water, and dense brush that they may hold up in to hide from hunters.
Reconnaissance For The Hunt
It’s a good idea to put some time in the field scouting your hunting area during late spring or early summer, to hone in on where you want to spend opening weekend of the hunt. This is ever more important now than ever as many hunters were surprised that their hunting grounds were destroyed by fire before the season. This far before the season you aren’t necessarily looking for signs of deer or elk or your game of choice, especially since many of the big game hunting species migrate throughout the seasons. You are really looking for great sources for water and food, for when they are there during the season. Hike the mountain ridges and the creek bottoms. Use your binoculars to zoom in on the tops of oak trees to look for clusters of green acorns growing towards the tips of the branches. Seeking out areas that you can tell they will travel through on their way to their bedding areas, or on their way to get food or water. This will give you the edge up from other hunters that will go in blindly hoping that the area will be just like it always has. Using the acorn example, a big crop of acorns that will start dropping in September will draw in and concentrate does and bucks in the timber. So, when you find the area with the best crop starting to grow, you will be able to find the best place to set up your hunting blind near the oak ridges and in nearby creek and river bottoms. If the acorn crop isn’t strong enough to entice big bucks to congregate in the oak trees, you may want to focus on the edges of thick brush and woodland openings. Try and find some pockets of thick brush where big game can hide in to provide themselves with good cover to stay hidden. Take a walk along the creek bottoms, fingers and pockets of trees, and other nature made funnels that could give you some insight into where your game may choose to make trails in between food, water, and bedding locations. The food and water conditions on the ground will change a bit during the seasons up until hunting season starts. This is the best time to walk as much of the area as you would like, because at this time, you are not too worried about spooking any animals, as hunting season is month’s away, and any pressure you put on during the off season is soon forgotten.
Upgrade Your Hunting Gear
In preparation for your upcoming hunting season, it’s a good idea to add a little bit each year to your hunting gear. Whether it’s upgrading something old with something new, or something of less quality with an upgrade to better quality, or buying something that you have always wanted, now is the time to start looking for exactly what you want.
Sleep time is scarce when you are out hunting, going to bed late, waking up super early, which makes it all the more important to be comfortable to get the best sleep in what little sleep hours you have available. Upgrading to a heavier sleeping bag, with a sleeping pad, or a sleeping cot, is a nice investment to improve the quality of sleep you get on your next hunting trip.
Lighting Upgrade for Hunting
With today’s modern style rechargeable battery style lanterns, and the superb light output with a high lumen rating, it’s time to leave the liquid gas behind, and the expensive propane bottles, and upgrade to a high lumen rechargeable LED Lantern. The new LED flashlights and headlamps are also a nice upgrade to give you great visibility in camp.
Cozy Warmth Upgrade for Hunting
Nothing like coming back to camp after a hard day of hiking to put your feet up by the campfire and gaze off into the ambient lighting and warmth that a nice campfire can provide. These Camp Fire Pits are a really nice upgrade. When you have to leave the warmth of the campfire and get back into your tent, a nice tent heater will do the trick. I like to start my tent heater up before I go to bed to get my tent warmed up for when I come in and get ready to go to sleep. Warmth, when you are on a week long freezing cold trip is something you may not appreciate when it’s over a hundred degrees back home when you are packing for your hunting trip, but once you get there and it’s icy or a few feet of snow on the ground in your favorite hunting grounds, you will be so happy you made this upgrade. Last, but not least in the cozy warmth category is a nice quality camping stove to heat up your coffee and cook your meals on a nice camping stove that can get the job done even in the wind and high altititudes.
Power Upgrade for Hunting
Being in the outdoors with all your hunting gadgets, your cell phone, GPS units, battery powered lanterns, and other electronics, a nice upgrade for your power is to get a power bank to keep all your electronics and lights fully charged. There is also a model that you can use to jump start your truck if one of the kids accidentally leaves the dome light on over night. If you want to kick it up to another level, a nice quiet camping generator will give you extra power for adding conveniences like a microwave to the mix. Talk about all the comforts of home, being able to fire up the generator, and pop a microwave meal into the microwave, and dinner can be ready in minutes.
Upgrade Your Hunting Gear
Upgrade Your Hunting Optics
Upgrade your vision, and your accuracy. When you look through your Binoculars, your rifle scope, spotting scope, or your laser range finder, you have may only have a few seconds to bring your game into view, and make split second decisions on whether the game your are looking at is a shooter, and one for the wall. The high end rifle scopes have built in illumination, and calibration markers to help secure that perfect shot.
Upgrade Your Hunting Bow or Rifle
The new compound bow’s are lighter weight, are extremely fast and accurate, and have a high letoff so that you won’t shake while taking the time to aim for that perfect kill shot. Go for stealth during rifle season (or archery season in areas that allow it) by buying a high tech crossbow for the ultimate in stealth and accuracy. Add a steady shooting tripod to your gear this year for those long range shots to keep your aim steady. Also, don’t forget a new lighter weight, extremely accurate hunting rifle and a new gun safe large enough to keep it all securely locked up at home, because you deserve it!
Storing and Preparing Your Game Meat After the Hunt
Now that you have found the perfect hunting spot, and upgraded your camping gear and hunting gear, you know you have a very good chance at a successful hunt, so it’s time to upgrade your field dressing supplies to clean your game up and get it ready for cooking it up. To make short order of the task of cleaning up your game meat, it’s important to have sharp and high quality knives to do the job. Check out these great hunting knife sets.Once you have a great knife set to field dress your game, make sure you have high quality big game bags. These reuseable, washable, large, and durable Big Game Bags will keep your meat protected from pesky bugs and keep the meat clean. They can be machine washed, and used for your future hunting trips for many years to come. Get yourself a good vacuum sealer, to keep your frozen meat air tight. Don’t let that freezer burn set in and ruin your meat. A new larger ice chest to keep it all cold and fresh.
Cooking Upgrade for the Hunt
Once the hunt is over, and you are back at home with a freezer full of big game meat, now you get to reap the rewards of your hard work and cook up some delicious meats. How about a nice upgrade to your BBQ Grill or Smoker? With advancements in technology you can now have the best of both worlds with a combo smoker pellet grill. These latest style of grills can work off of hardwood pellets to give you the best smoked flavor, and your friends will give kudos to the chef.
Wood Pellet Grills to Cook the Meat from the Hunt
Experience the evolution of fire with Traeger’s next generation of pellet grills This new lineup brings unrivaled wood flavor to the table, unlocking your food’s true potential. No matter which grill you select, Traeger’s 6-in-1 ability means you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and bbq with pure, hardwood flavor. Next Article: How to Improve the Taste of Your VenisonAbout The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Hunting Gear Shopping Experience Awaits!