With the archery seasons starting in West Virginia on September 25th, my backyard has been the local hangout for young archery hunters and my son who was practicing archery. . I am always amazed when their energy changes from fishing to hunting. The transition is very noticeable – shorts, flip flops and river clothes are quickly replaced by camouflage and hiking boots. Their conversation ranges from surface bait and smallmouth bass to surveillance cameras, planting food plots and placing trees.
I love the energy and anticipation towards the opening of archery seen through the eyes of young people. Each new season brings an increased level of anticipation as this year can be the year to cheat a mature buck in the arching lineup.
Whether you are an avid archer or a newbie to the sport, I offer the following as a resource in anticipation of the opening of archery (plus I’m excited too!).
Pre-archery season checklist
1. Re-establish relationships with landowners – It is never too early to get written permission for this year’s season. Remember, the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the keys to the door. Often the difference between a lifetime’s money and a scrub is to hunt where they live. A few hours of homework now may pay off later.
2. Get out and scout – Look at topographic maps for natural funnels, sleeping / feeding areas, and travel routes. Locate tree poles and areas where deer move between foraging and sleeping areas. With apps on your phone like onX Maps, getting a bird’s eye view of your hunting grounds is easier than ever. Plus, hooking up a few track cameras early to identify which tracks deer use at the start of the season can pay big dividends when the season opens.
3. Inspect your bow and get it tuned – Replace frayed strings, mufflers and realign sight. The strings stretch and wear out, so visit your local archery counter and take a tune-up. Believe me, this is money well spent, and finding a good shop technician is priceless.
4. Perfecting a Ritual Before Shooting Through Practice – Field points are great for setting and the initial aiming process. Shooting broadheads and numbering arrows by putting the best aviators in your hunting quiver will dramatically increase your chances when shooting counts. Buy your broadheads now so you won’t be able to find the ones you want to use this fall. We all know it’s hot, but practice the same way you are going to play. If you prefer to hunt from raised platforms, hang a stand in your garden at the same height as your tree stand.
6. Inspect permanent and portable trees – Examine the general condition of the structure, nails and bolts of your tree. Make sure everything is secure and quiet.
7. Buy the necessary licenses and labels – Don’t wait until the last minute and be caught blurring the lines the night before.
8. Make a plan to take a kid or someone new to the sport hunting this season – Open a door behind you for the next generation of hunters and shooters. It’s time well spent and perhaps the most rewarding days of this season.
Hope this helps you prepare for the next archery seasons and adds to your fun on the field. West Virginia’s archery season for deer, wild boar and bears opens on September 25. See WVDNR regulations for more details.