For some of you guys, the season for hunting big game has already started. Here in Washington State loads of hunters are already in the field in search of black bear. Deer season is just around the corner on most states, as well as elk, pronghorn etc. Now is the time for preparation.
Scouting should have been going on all along. You should already have a solid idea of where you will be hunting. Now is the time to check your field gear, everything from clothes to firearms and make sure the rest of your season will go smoothly.
While early season scouting and prepping your hunt areas with time in the field, learning the lay of the land, getting directionally stable in case of inclimate weather, and knowing the paths and patterns of the game you are hunting cannot be underestimated, making sure your gear is ready to go is every bit as crucial.
Clearly, your main hunting tool is your rifle. It must be properly functional, cleaned, prepped and zeroed. If you are using optics, make sure your scope is still hunting at point of aim that the distance your zeroed the scope. You are also wise to take a few shots closer in that you think be normal for you, as well as a hundred yards or so beyond as well, just for confirmation. If you shoot iron sights, and yes there are a lot of people that still do, make sure that you are still as proficient as you once were.
I know that none of us like to admit that our skills are dimninishing. when we advance beying 45 or 50 years of age, our eyesight can degrade rapidlly. While I have learned from Bob Jones, AR15 iron sight guru, that many things can be done to help correct front sight, or target fade, we must face the fact that it mae be time to graduate (in some cases screaming and kicking) into some sort of magifying optics.
Next; clothing and survival gear. Even in well known territoty when mother nature gets evil, it can be easy to lose track of your location. Getting lost for most people is nothing more than a longer than normal inconvenience, it can also mean several days in the field without access to qualioty food and shelter, or worse. It is for this reason that we must always go prepared for three days in the field. Hunt with friends and partners and share the load. If you are more than 100 yards off of a main trail or logging road, each of you needs a three-day pack. One with food, another with inpromptu temporary shelter and another with water. A GPS is certainly not a must, but a huge benefit. Warmth gear, dry gear, first aid kit are staples. Also make sure you have not only a good hunting knife for skinning and boning, but also the group will also need a qualoity survival knive or cutting tool.
First rules, never hunt alone and always tell someone exactly where you will be hunting.
Be safe, and have fun. Remember, we ant your photos for the site!