Did everyone get enough rain? Over 6 inches in our area; we should be good for a while but I’m sure in a couple of weeks the coffee shop talk will be “Boy it’s getting dry!”

There  are still some doves in our area, if you can get to them. I know Houston and Slade Cathey are getting their share! Deer season is just around the corner and now is certainly the time to get ready.

The majority of hunters start with deer hunting. Some never strive for big game hunting and remain avid deer hunters their whole lives. If you’re interested in taking up deer hunting as a sport or passion, there are some essential steps to getting started. We will get you started with the basics.

 Get your license, sounds silly but folks sometimes forget. Don’t let red tape ruin your hunt. Get your hunting license well in advance of opening day. If you’re traveling, allow plenty of time to apply for an out-of-state license—every state handles hunting licenses differently. Don’t get stuck waiting by your mailbox on the first day of deer season.

Hunting regulations can vary from season to season, and certainly from state to state. Double-check season dates and bag limits.

Seth Cathey’s deer from 2017

If you use private land, don’t take it for granted. Try to maintain a relationship with the landowner. Stop by for friendly visits well before the season starts. Offer to do chores, share your meat—whatever it takes to keep your spot. Be straightforward with the owner about your intentions for the season—no one likes surprises. If you’ve got a lease on the land, make sure it’s up to date and good to go.

If you are hunting public land make sure to do your homework. Chances are topographic maps and aerial photos of your hunting area are available online. Use these resources to look for natural funnels, possible deer beds and escape routes. Don’t forget to prepare for the biggest public hunting challenge—other hunters. Scope out the edges of your hunting area to see where other hunters will likely enter the field; this will help you predict where deer will move when pressured.

If you have that special spot on private land then you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to attract and hold deer in your area.

Nearly 75 percent of the average deer’s diet consists of natural vegetation. Planting and maintaining a food plot on your hunting land can lead to success during deer season. Placement is key. Set up an area—about a ½ acre to 2 acres at most—within 100 to 200 yards of a deer bed. Plant a mix of vegetation that can survive in all seasons—especially sugar-rich foods that deer flock to in the fall and winter. Make sure the area offers a prime spot to set up your tree stand.

Hopefully your trail cam pictures look like this!

   Set up trail cameras on strong, healthy trees about 10 to 15 feet from the deer path. Place the cameras near food plots, feeders or anywhere where deer are likely to pass by. Conceal cameras enough to keep them from spooking game. Ideally, you’ll have one camera for every 50 to 100 acres of land. Try to create and monitor a list of potential deer you would to harvest during the season.

If you’re hunting with a firearm, zero-in your gun from a distance that makes sense for the type of hunting you do—100 yards is a common choice. Try to zero-in in weather that is similar to your hunting conditions, as changes in temperature can affect accuracy.  Remember to check for loose screws, especially on scope mounts and rings.

Another tip is make sure you have plenty of ammo to last the season, make sure you use the same type as when you sighted in your rifle.

If you bowhunt make sure to give your bow a thorough check-up. Strings and cables stretch over time, causing cams and nocking points to move. If you don’t want broken strings and cables to ruin your hunt, replace them every few seasons. Sight-in your bow with field points, and take a couple of extra practice shots with broad-heads to make sure you’re still on target.

Use the knowledge gained from scouting and set up your tree stand accordingly, as high as possible and downwind to conceal your scent. Clear any limbs that may obstruct your shot.

Deer hunting doesn’t have to be a chore.

This may sound very simple but some folks forget! 

There’s nothing worse than taking down a buck, only to have your short-lived elation obliterated as you try to field dress the carcass with a dull knife.

I hope these tips help, and for most of you this information may seem redundant but it never hurts to go over the basics! It also gives you more reasons to get out and enjoy your Oklahoma.

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