Whether a hunter is waiting for turkey season in the spring or deer season in the fall, it’s never too early to start planning the next hunting expedition. Being prepared in advance can make for a rewarding wilderness experience. Getting caught in the field with inadequate reloading supplies will frustrate amateur and seasoned hunters alike. Knowledge is power, and a little bit of research in the off-season can lead to a smart and successful event. The following five steps will ensure readiness for a productive hunt: taking care of licenses and permits, arranging accommodations, scheduling cleaning and repair, purchasing ammo and reloading supplies, and considering a plan “B.”
Most states streamline their license and permit procedures and applications on the internet these days, but some require additional paperwork like a training certification and proof of residence. Vermont, for example, requires a certification of a bow hunter education course or a valid archery license for a bow hunt permit. Some states have a lottery system for distributing a limited number of game permits. Applications submitted well in advance have the best chance at success and avoid the wait for papers to arrive by mail. After planning where and when you will be hunting, it is wise to arrange accommodations early as well. Popular lodges and guides are often arranged a year or more in advance. An expedition can be ruined by the failure to book a room in advance, so early reservations will assure maximum time in the field.
Hastily stored gear from the previous year should be examined well in advance of packing for any hunting excursion. Professional cleaning and repair is the best way to avoid equipment failure and the risk of injury. Weapons and ammunition not properly stored may not work, so arranging reloading supplies from a reputable dealer near your hunting zone is the best practice to ensure a successful hunt.
Finally, have a plan “B” in mind. Whether the plan is to hunt black bears in Montana in the winter, turkeys in Florida in the spring, or antelope in Wyoming in the fall, having a plan “B” can avoid disappointment if your quarry does not cooperate. Harvests vary from year to year, and knowing what else is in season during your visit can lead to a productive hunt if the right permits, equipment, and reloading supplies are packed with a plan “B” in mind. Experienced sportsmen often keep a journal from year to year, noting the locations, conditions, equipment, and other variables that affect the hunt. However, having an alternate plan can make the best of your time, whatever the conditions may be.
So, off-season preparations can avert a host of problems, from expired permits and licenses to a lack of accommodations. Maximizing safety and efficiency requires scheduling necessary cleaning and repair and the purchase of adequate ammo and reloading supplies. Finally, if you consider a plan “B” ahead of the season, you can be prepared for just about anything.