How to Beat the Dog Days of Summer as a Hunter
It finally struck me that we are mired in the absolute dog days of summer.
It may be more comforting to look at your calendar knowing that September is not that far away, but that archery season opener for my home state of Ohio sure looks incredibly distant. Yes, some of you guys are lucky enough to start hunting again in August. Still, the fall hunting season looks distant. Meaning that it can be easy to get bored at this time of year.
We're currently staring at a forecast loaded with chances of heavy rain and high humidity here in Ohio, so it really got me thinking about where we are at in the annual timeline. Thinking as an outdoorsman, of course. Pondering how I can productively invest some of my free time into preparing myself for the fall hunting season ahead.
Summer is good and great, but it can be hard to enjoy June, July, and even most of August when your primary hobby or passion in life doesn't really get going until September or October. The withdrawals are real.
Nonetheless, you can beat the dog days in a myriad of ways. I needed some motivation for this rough forecast ahead, so I figured that it might be a good time to spitball some mid-summer activities to keep the eager hunter within all of us satisfied.
Summertime is Scouting Time
It's true, summertime is scouting time. Just look at this recent post we did discussing some low-impact scouting tactics to help put you close to big deer this fall. There's nothing better than glassing some farm fields or checking trail cameras in the summer months. Also, don't discount the amount of scouting we can do directly from our computers and smartphones. If you have access to Google Earth or any of the great hunting apps available today, you can scout from the comfort of your recliner. It never hurts to study the topographical features and the lay of the land from the sky. Especially if you're taking a DIY trip, leasing or hunting new ground, or simply looking to catch up with that mature buck this fall. Summertime is a great time to scout for whatever game you intend to hunt.
Jump the Gun, Hang a Stand
We discuss the pros and cons of hanging your stands or setting blinds in THIS article, so definitely approach with caution. You might be better off hanging your stand after all of the summer scouting is officially complete. At the same time, you can relieve a ton of intrusion and pressure on the deer by jumping the gun and getting your hunting location prepped early. If you know of a spot that is absolutely lights-out, go for it. You can absolutely pick out the perfect tree in July or early August.
SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!
I know that we declared summertime is scouting time, but summertime is also shooting time. If you're not shooting your bow or hitting the range with some firearms, do you even hunt, bro? There's nothing better than flinging some arrows or burning some powder during the off-season. It feels like you're just having some fun, but you're actually making yourself a better hunter along the way. Well, that is if you are practicing properly. We shared a few thoughts on developing a summer archery training regimen in THIS article. You can take a lot of the pillars from archery and transition to your gun. Practicing your marksmanship is great, regardless of how you are doing it. Just don't be the guy or girl who is kicking dirt on opening day of bow or gun season because your weapon is not sighted in. You should have taken the time to practice with it at length. We owe it to the deer, elk, or whatever you like to pursue. Ethical hunters are accurate hunters!
Mark Your Calendar
Nothing gets the juices flowing for hunting season like marking your off days for your upcoming hunts. While it would be great to hunt every single day, most of us cannot make it happen. We all have some kind of life schedule in 2018. Thus, we need to map our hunts out according to off days and vacation time. Smart hunters know those annual periods in which the hunting is best. Now is the time to put in for your vacation in the second week of November, cross those days in September off for an elk hunt, or plan that family outing for gun season.
Update Your Gear
I have to admit that I am a major gear guy. Less now than in my younger days, but I am still a sucker for new gear. Whether it's a new bow, gun, or a simple piece of hunting clothing, I love to try out new gear. At the same time, there are certain pieces of gear in my kit that I will ride until the wheels come off. If you are the kind that rides until the wheels come off, it may be time to do an overall gear check during the dog days of summer. This is a great time to find those pieces of gear that could use replacement. You still have plenty of time to break in any new gear that would need it, and you also have a ton of time to get that package from Cabela's or Bass Pro.
Watch Some Hunting Shows
Nothing gets me fired up for a new deer season like watching all of the hunting shows debut their brand new seasons each July. There is just something about seeing new hunts from my favorite hunters, new gear, and beautiful footage from across whitetail country. Luckily for us, there are a number of great shows on the air this summer, including Mass Pursuit TV! MPTV has debuted several new episodes in its second season on Pursuit Channel. They are top-notch folks with an incredible passion for bringing you real-life hunting action, so definitely give them a watch. If you look at my personal DVR, you will see a list loaded with hunting shows. It's the perfect time to take some refuge from the summer heat to study up on what the best hunters in the industry came up with over the last year.
Take a Break
If you are as passionate as we are about the outdoors, there's a good chance that you put a strain on the other aspects of your life. Being passionate about hunting or fishing often means time away from the family, less money in your pocket, and even periods of feeling burnt out. The last thing we want is to feel burnt out heading into a fresh fall hunting season. If you have things in order, it's a great time to catch up on those other aspects of life. Spend more time with the family, catch up on work, or simply enjoy some time with your feet kicked up. Hunting and the outdoors are supposed to be fun. While we may despise the off-season, it makes opening day and our fall rituals that much sweeter. Enjoy your off-season and embrace the other aspects of life until the season arrives.