I certainly am interested in seeing how well I do too! I had little idea how much knowledge is required when bow hunting.
I should say it wasn't like I was clueless about bow hunting but when I started my research on the web I was amazed at how much information was needed (and out there).
I still don't have all the necessary info needed for a successful hunt and that won't come from just reading books, forums, blogs etc. The time in the woods will be the best teacher I am sure. But, I am positive I will not be lacking when in comes to preperation and confidence.
I know I am missing something but here is my "checklist" thus far:
But camo just isn't camo anymore. Scent control camo, buzz-off camo, and lately I am hearing about UV and your camo.
Patterns. Do I use mossy oak, leafy, 3D, real tree? Gloves, hats, face netting, face masks.
I have to also plan around the weather pattern. My hunts can be 90 degrees way down to 40 (the rest of most everything I have to plan for revolves around our weather patterns) and I can have a monsoon one minute and blazing steam bath followed by who knows what after lunch.
From what I have read and heard rubber boots not leather are the way to go. But I also need swamp boots that our snakeproof and not cook my feet with 1000 g of thinsulate as well as to try and maintain some resemblence of a budget.
I can't and won't even begin to list out all this. The options were numerous. The factors in choosing the right cam, style, draw, manufacturer, sights, release, etc. This was the better part of my initial research. Even the arrow type. The arrow heads.
Sometimes I wondered if too much knowledge was dangerous. Not only to my brain but my pocket book. I did decide early on, on a budget, and tried to remain within. I remember my cousin when he started bow hunting (successfully) years ago with a simple recurve, tennis shoes, jeans and grey hoodie. Along the way I figured I with my budget I would try to at least give myself the best opportunity possible, not jut for me but the animal as well. But I digress.
This was easy. I will be hunting public land, nothing permanent allowed. Long hikes in the swampy woods. Have to be a light climber and my wife saw the Summit Viper and said "I think that one looks nice". Decision was made. Sometime later though I started thinking "Hmmm, what about a ground blind??" [&:]
I chose something I thought would suit my needs and scenario. It was an wasy to access chest pack.
But what would I put in it?
Binoculars, a range finder. Map, compass, gps, lanyard, thermacell, knife, hatchett, butt-out, gloves, grunt tube, scent spray, attractants, I might need a bigger pack. And as everyone knows the above list is but a small one and the choices within them are numerous!
So the internet has now provided me with my clothes, my bow and arrows, my stand, all my gear and still I am not ready to go into the woods???
As I have mentioned I am hunting public land in FL for the first time. I have no knowledge of the area I am hunting other than the terrain. Flat. Flat. Flat with trees and scrub. More flatness followed by swamps, and some hammocks (cypress and oak).
I did what the books suggested and scoured the aerials, topos, anything that would assist me in finding my spots.
Each part of the nation has their own unique features. NY may have hills and moutains, midwest with it's praries, others with farm lands and fence lines, and Florida has its too. But an interesting thing about Florida.
We get fires. Some prescribed and many not. Aerial maps available now may not be exactly what you find when you go into the woods (as I have been finding out).
We also have great periods of drought and other times of extreme, ideal watery conditions that promote growth.
It is amazing what you think you are going to find and what it is actually like when you get there. "That looks like I'll just follow the clearing along the treeline to get to that funnel" Only to find out the tclearing may now be blocked or clogged with freshly growing THICK saw palmettos. or weeds so thick and so high you'd be better off going through the thick woods**, or even new woods in the clearing!
But it's not just a matter of finding the ideal spot to scout and hunt (I am told the deeper in the swamp/woods the better for the mature bucks), it's also access.
If I find the spot, I have to know how and where to hang my tree stand. I have to account for wind direction, I have to have some deer activity nearby. Scrapes, rubs, trails, bedding area's.
I have an area, great, how do I hang my climbing tree stand on one of the thousands of live oaks?????? All my research puts me on the perfect spot and there is no way climb a live oak [:@]
Well maybe I can use one of those pine trees?? Right I can't cut any branches on public land. I can't clear any shooting lanes with a saw. Hmmm. Maybe that palm tree will work, I could possible get up it. Sure they have no root base and the coral snales only occassionaly reside in the fronds. I could try it??
Of course I am giving worse case scenario's on everything, but these indeed are factors I will encounter at one time or another or perhaps all at once I just have to be prepared right?
I do have to remember when scouting a potential stand area that I have to take in account for scent control and wind direction, sound and the deer movement patterns. So I'll have to have proper access** come 5 a.m. If I have to hike from the south 1/2 mile through crunchy, thick, saw palmetto's then I better allow for extra time. Maybe I can come around from the southeast and hike the 3/4 mile through the swampier watery area to get it. I certainly hope I don't find any orange tape when I get there.
I think I am getting this all worked out now. Potential areas, access, environmental factors, man, deer and will.
I am ready to scout!!
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."