Well if you read my review of the GlenDel target, you know it's time to be practicing! There are about hundred, thousand things you should be practicing right now to get ready for the upcoming fall. Whether that is shooting your bow, building up arm strength for long holds, waiting on that perfect shot or just practicing your patients, practice takes on many meanings as a hunter.
You may have left your stands hanging since last season, go out and check cables/straps or even chains and locks for damage. Don't assume if you left it there it's still there. I don't know how many times my stands have “disappeared” over the years. Go ahead and trim up some shooting lanes right now while the vegetation is in full growth. It will help minimize the time you have to spend there just prior to season “working”.
Check your steps, screw in or strap-on. If they are strap on steps, check the straps. The sun, rain and squirrels can weather/damage these quickly, causing them to “dry-rot “or just be chewed up. Check the screw in steps- check for cracks and bends that weaken the integrity of the step. If you’re still playing the “old school” game and have permanent stands built, check the integrity of the stand; without climbing on to it first!
These last few “practices” have been safety issues; you need to practice safety for yourself as well as for your friends and families sake. Find a safety harness that you feel comfortable in. Practice putting it on, shooting out of it, hanging from it so when God forbid; you fall you know how to return to your stand, be familiar with your stand and harness.
Practice in your early season clothes, early season gloves, facemask ECT. Make sure nothing is going to impede that perfect chance; it may be the only one you get. Also, you need to be in the good practice of being stealthy. Any wild animal you encounter, treat it as a world record buck and try to avoid “it” knowing that your there!
Go out and practice good relations with the owner of the land you hunt, whether you lease it or it is hunted for “free” make contact and insure your hunting is still allowed and understood to be taking place. Now we need to practice the concept of breaking old habits. How many times have you hunted “that one stand”? You know the one closest to the truck easiest to get to and you sit there seeing squirrels and birds maybe even a coyote wow great “deer” hunt!?
Now make the vow that you will hunt harder, farther, deeper from the truck in, “that place” that the deer know you don't venture, opening day will be amazing I promise. You should be having practice shots in your dreams. Practice on your lunch break. Just take a sandwich to work with you; you can make it until dinner, I promise. Practice shooting in odd conditions kneeling sitting on the ground, under any circumstance you may have an encounter with “Mr. Big”.
After having said that I just realized I need to practice wearing my hip waders that I will have to wear to get to my opening day stand! See the things we need to practice just keep coming and coming there is so much to prepare for! And there is always more to practice, think about the areas you’re going to hang- if you haven't already, your trail cameras. If they are already out and you’re only getting marginal pictures of the deer in odd positions, practice your positioning of the cameras.
Get those photos you can brag about, that is if you want to! Not just tips of velvet covered tines but the whole rack! Just remember practice isn't limited to the range but takes place in your everyday life. At the office, sitting in class, and sleeping at night. In the field before season and well before season, this is a must in the practice for opening day.