Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson about how quickly one can be killed or wounded on a hunting trip.
I was 18 and my buddy was 17. He assured me he had a lifetime of hunting and shooting experience. He wanted to go deer hunting and hopefully shoot his first buck.
He did not have a deer rifle so I loaned him a 30-30-caliber rifle. I had it sighted in and on opening morning told him that the gun was dead on. Just aim and pull the trigger were my instructions.
We had only taken a couple of steps from the pickup when the ground literally exploded around my feet. The so-called experienced hunter had loaded the rifle, then as we walked, pulled the trigger to make sure the safety was on.
The 30-30 round would have blown my leg or foot off if it had been pointed a couple of inches to the right or left. A higher aimed rifle would have meant you would not be reading this column now.
The point is, you still have time to prepare your firearms for deer season. Now is the time to sight in that rifle and make sure all equipment is ready. Make sure you don't loan a friend your extra rifle unless he has had some time on the range for familiarization.
IS YOUR DEER RIFLE READY? The first step to that all-important one shot kill is practice with your deer rifle.
Letting a deer rifle set from season to season is dangerous and wrong. Your sights can get knocked off center meaning wounded deer.
Make sure that rifle is ready. You can start this by practicing at a firearm range or a safe area. Make sure your bullets are hitting at different ranges and from different angles.
Try shooting from a sitting or off handed positions. The key is being ready for any situation.
Scoped deer rifles may need adjusting. Ask your sporting goods dealer or the range master how to do this important task. But keep in mind that the range master is extremely busy this time of year. So you would be better to approach a dealer.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY Deer have a remarkably keen sense of smell. I always hunt the wind, but this isn’t always possible. You can’t possibly cover up all human scent from deer or most animals, but you can help.
Try scent free laundry detergent and human body soap. They even have shampoo. This may not eliminate all scent, but it will help.
A biologist once told me that deer can break down scent in different categories. Human scent definitely is filed under danger.
Don't fill up with gasoline on opening morning. Those smells will stay with you in the woods and deer are not used to smelling unleaded products. Make sure you fill your gas tank the evening before in different shoes than you will hunt in.
MAKE A CHECKLIST Don't be afraid to make a checklist of items needed for the hunt. Have all permits, binoculars, orange vest and hat, scents and other required items ready to go a day or two before.
Many years ago a hunting buddy forgot to bring his ammunition. He was shooting a different caliber so my ammunition would not help him. He got mad and slept in the pickup while I hunted.
I did wake him up later to help drag my buck out of the woods. That did not help his mood. Make sure you include ammunition on the list.
Have a safe deer season and I hope you get that big buck.