Any serious hunter has been there. It’s a lonely place filled with unprecedented longing, sadness and a restlessness. It tends to hit sometime between the end of the previous deer season and the beginning of next year’s deer season. And it hits hard. You know it hits when your wife tells you to “Shut up about deer season already”, your last ten YouTube searches are hunting related, and you spend your workday pondering what stand you are going to sit opening morning.
I know how you feel. Here are ten things to do when you can’t stop thinking about Deer season in July.
Scout, Scout, and Scout some more
If you are this excited about the upcoming season you want to make sure your odds of arrowing that bruiser are as high as possible. Set up trail cameras, check out new areas, and try to get a better understanding of deer travel patterns. It will pay off big time during the season.
This one is fairly obvious, If you can’t hunt you might as well wet some lines! Hit the local lake or river with some buddies and make the most of it! I have spent many days on the water solely to curb my desire to hunt.
Spend time with family
You and I both know that come October and November we are going to be spending the vast majority of our free time on the stand. Spend plenty of time with them now, and they may be more likely to allow you to skip “Date Night” once or twice.
Bad shots happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t hunted for very long. Preparation in the off season will help prepare you for that one shot where it really matters. Practice year round to ensure you are ready when that buck steps out opening morning! Remember to practice with broadheads before season opens! I am still shocked by the number of people who never shoot a broadhead before shooting one at a deer. Regardless of if the package says “Flys like a field point” make sure you shoot them a few times beforehand. Don’t wait until the last week before the season to do this.
Have a favorite spot that you always seem to hunt year after year? Build a blind! It isn’t hard and it allows you to hunt more comfortably.It also allows you to introduce kids to the outdoors as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a heated blind come December?
Plan a youth hunt
More kids should be introduced to the outdoors, plain and simple. As technology advances the number youth involved in hunting decreases. So many kids spend hours on videogames, texting, social media, and online that they never get an opportunity to take in nature. Use the youth hunt as an opportunity to introduce the next generation to the outdoors. Don’t make it a last minute thing either. Plan it in advance and give them something to look forward to. Be sure to have them shoot their gun/bow regularly so an ethical shot can be made.
Don’t bring a rangefinder. I use 3D shoots as practice judging distances in a natural environment. Shooting a 3D deer in the woods at an unknown distance is way more effective than shooting a target at marked yardages. Bring buddies and make a day out of it. It is a blast!
Getting outdoors in general is a great way to unwind. I go on a handful of camping and backpacking trips to remote areas annually just to get away from the stress and noise. For me it is just as peaceful as a morning on stand. Plus, if you are exploring a national forest there is a good chance you can find a new hunting spot!
Fine Tune your gear
Remember last year, when your boots never kept your feet warm, your pants were too noisy, or your arrows never grouped right? Now is the time to change that! Look into new gear, figure out what works for other hunters, and make sure you are well equipped to hit the woods this fall!
Knock on some doors
Contrary what a lot of people will tell you, door knocking is not dead. What do you have to lose? Knock on some doors and politely try to gain permission to hunt. Many will say no, but most will be polite and cordial about it. The ones that say yes will be well worth it! Many of my best producing properties came from door knocking!
Filming hunts is growing all over the world. There is no problem with filming the hunt and calling it a day, but there’s no better way to tell a story, than to SHOW it!! So if you’re one that wants to take your filming to a whole new level… Here are 10 of the most important aspects to filming your hunts.
#1 Steady, smooth video.
Steady and smooth is key to having a great film. So many people just bring out a camera and free hand it, which ends up making the video very shaky, and a headache to watch. A good camera arm and fluid head are KEY!! Yes, you can go to your local hunting store and buy a cheap 30-40 dollar camera arm, and it will do the job. But that arm will only last a couple hunts before the squeaking and stiffness starts and it just becomes a hassle. I prefer Muddy Outdoors camera arms. They are by far the smoothest arms hands down, and with a good fluid head, your hunts will be steady, smooth, and enjoyable to watch!
#2 Learn to be the cameraman before the hunter.
If you want to be able to produce the best video you can, you have to find that balance between cameraman and hunter. It's true with both solo hunting, and being a cameraman. When solo hunting, you have to learn to make certain movements at certain times. Like when that animal is coming in, video first, but once you see the animal is committing, grab the bow, and keep filming. Some people get so caught up in the moment that their brain shuts off from being a cameraman and their hunter senses kick in. That's when it usually creates bad video or no video of the kill at all.
#3 Let it go
Solo hunters really don't have to worry about this since at the time of the shot, their hands are on the weapon and not the camera. But this is crucial for being a cameraman. When the shot is about to happen... Let go of the camera arm or camera. What this prevents is the cameraman shakes at the point of the shot, which can make the impact not clear or even visible. So when the shot is about to happen, think of the movie Frozen, and LET IT GO!!! And once the shot is fired, grab the camera and follow the animal.
#4 Never enough
You can never get enough film. All it can do is make your video better. Which brings us to #5
#5 Be Creative
When taking different shots, think outside the box, and think of different ways you can make a unique shot. Wide view cameras like go pros are really good for different angled shots. DSLR cameras are really good for focus shots with incredible clarity, but for the average guy with the average camera, just find the little things that not a lot of people film and make it your own.
#6 Forget the camera is rolling when you talk. (for both hunter and cameraman)
It takes a while to feel comfortable talking around a camera. But everyone loves to see true personality, especially when adrenaline is flowing and all the emotions come out. Act like there is no camera there and just celebrate. Let whatever you feel come out!
#7 Always be prepared.
Filming can take a lot of equipment, make sure you have extra batteries, extra memory cards, something to cover your camera up if it rain/snows. Maybe even bring an extra camera if your camera malfunctions. You never know when the hunt of a lifetime is going to happen, and there would be nothing worse than missing it, so ALWAYS be prepped.
#8 IGNORE the industry
The hunting industry has commercialized hunting. DON’T do that to yourself. Forget obvious product placement and telling others what type of broadhead is best. At MWP we have relationships with products we use and love, preferably local Michigan relationships. Ignore the slogans and overdone reactions that the pros often show. Your reaction is different – and remember when you kill a whitetail in Michigan on film…celebrate any way you want. Your viewers will enjoy it!
Everyone wants to see your animal! Film all the emotions of following the blood trail, finding the animal, field dressing, and bringing the animal home. It will add a lot of emotion, personality, and sometimes comedy to your video.
#10 (MOST IMPORTANT) Tell a Story.
Just like I said earlier, film everything. Nobody likes a "there's a deer. Boom. Look at him. The end " hunt. We want to see everything that goes on, from deer camp to driving there, everything that happens in the stand, to driving home with a Mack daddy buck in the back of the pick up truck. Talk like there's no camera, just you and your buddy having an awesome time in Gods creation.
- Blake Ledger, MWP Prostaffer