Keeping the Hunting Spirit Alive

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Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America

By: Doug Bermel
By: Doug Bermel

As I stare out the window at the barren snow covered woods with freezing temperatures, deer season seems a long ways off.  With my mishaps last year and not being able to get out hunting much I was starting to get the hunting fever.  But it is the middle of a cold, lonely, Minnesota winter and deer season is months away,  so how do you keep the spirit alive?

 

The first thing I look at is equipment maintenance.  Check on my crossbow.  Wax the string, lube the rail, tighten all screws and bolts and just clean everything up.  Next I check on the broad heads.  Replace and resharpen as needed.  Look over the arrows. It is surprising why I carry arrows that are no good, but I guess that is what winter is for. It gives me a chance to get rid of the bad ones and repair the ones I can.

Then onto my pack.  It’s amazing all the unnecessary things I acquire through the season. Sometimes you even find that special item like the peanut butter sandwich I couldn’t find last year.  So I eliminate the unnecessary things and add a few things I just can’t hunt without.  Check on my hunting clothes. Sew on new buttons and repair the tear on the sleeve I made when I got too close to the fence.  Then I wash everything in scent free soap and store in an airtight bag.

Next I look at what to do about my food plots.  How and when do I get them ready for spring planting?  Do I need to put down lime?  What do I plant?  I look at what I planted last year and see what worked and what didn’t.  I figure out what kind and how much seed to buy.  Are there any new spots to set up in?  What little thing can I do to enhance the plot to make it more attractive to deer?  One thing I have learned over the years is to start working the plots early before the grass and weeds start to grow. If you wait too long then you have to spray the fields first and that’s an added expense.  So work the ground early and try to stay ahead of the grass and weeds. Do some research to find out what seed works best in the climate you are putting your plot into. After experimenting a couple of years, I have found what the deer like and what didn’t work.  So after evaluating all my options I can make educated decision and be ready for this year’s planting.

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Thinking back to last year, were my ground blinds in the best position or do they need to be moved?  Were the deer just a little out of range?  In all my scouting were there other spots to try?  Make sure you pick the right blind for each spot and select the best way to enter and exit each blind.  Also there may be blind repairs to be done.  Sometimes the hubs poke out of the bottom and need to be sewn up and the rods always seem to break and need to be replaced.  And there are always tears that need to be repaired and sewing up a blind with needle and thread is not an easy proposition.  Just get a big needle, strong thread and a pair of plyers and patch up the blind.

Two years ago I found another hobby, like I needed another one.  But here was a chance to get out and hunt in the spring and turkey hunting fit the bill. So here was something else to get ready for. As a disabled hunter I constantly have to maintain a mental checklist of all my equipment so I don’t forget anything.  Once I am set up it is too hard to go and get any forgotten items.

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I have to start practicing with my bow.  Finding spots to hunt.  What equipment to use.  Check out the decoys and get them ready for spring.  Pull out the calls and start practicing with them.  Of course, I can only practice when my wife is not home because no matter how seductive the call, it still is just noise to her. I guess she will probably never be a turkey hunter.

If you are considering any out-of-state hunts, now is the time to do some research.  Pick what species you want to hunt and what state and see what outfitters hunt the area and game you want to hunt and, if they cater to disabled hunters. If they can handle a disabled hunter make sure the accommodations fit your needs and are accessible.  Make sure to talk to the outfitter and go over thoroughly what your needs are and what physical condition you are in.  I have found that handicap accessible is not the same as wheelchair accessible.  Be sure to check the outfitters references and see for yourself if they are able to handle all your needs.

Hopefully this list will help you over the long, cold winter and maybe as you go through the list you will be inspired to keep the hunting spirit alive.  So just sit back in your favorite chair and dream about the next hunting season..  Maybe this is the year you get a chance at that trophy of a lifetime.  With all your equipment ready and proper planning you will be ready for exciting and successful year.

For more please go to: Disabled Archer