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    Post Season: The Work Begins

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    Michigan’s deer season may have come to an end for 2020, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. Successful bowhunting year after year requires a commitment like few other activities. I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are taking a little time to relax and decompress after 3 months of chasing whitetails. Knock out those chores around the house, catch up on sleep, and spend some time with your family. After that, it’s time to get back to work. Let’s talk about what you can do to wrap up your 2020 season and prepare for 2021.

    Analyze Your Season

    Hopefully, you have been keeping a journal or some record of your hunts throughout the season. Now is the time to go back through the season and honestly take stock of how it went. Take note of what worked, what didn’t, and what you forgot to try. If you can’t find a list of things to improve for next year then you’re not being honest enough with yourself.

    Tinker With Your Gear

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    I strongly advise most hunters against making any major changes to their hunting set up during the season, especially any changes to their weapon. Postseason is the perfect time to experiment. Try out that one pin bow sight you’ve been curious about. Buy a saddle and start learning to use it. Test out a new caliber for your rifle. Any significant changes to your gear that you want in place for next season should be implemented as soon as possible. This will ensure that you are comfortable with the new equipment before October of 2021.

    Keep Hunting

    Don’t stop hunting just because deer season is over. While target practice is great, you need to be a killer to be a great hunter. This means hunting as much as possible and honing your kill shot on live game. Squirrels, rabbits, spring turkey, and spring bear are all great hunts and will keep you motivated and in shape between deer seasons.

    Get In The Woods And Scout

    Now that you don’t have to worry about spooking deer for 10 months, it is the perfect time to get in the woods and gather some info. Get out now while it’s winter and try to locate those winter bedding locations. This can give you valuable info on where the deer go when it’s cold for late-season next year. As the snow melts in April, get in the woods again and take advantage of the chance to spot deer trails, rut bedding spots, and travel corridors. There will still be plenty of signs left from last fall and while you can’t necessarily rely on those exact spots during next season, you can get a lot of information about how deer are using a particular property. Shed hunting is a great way to get out in the woods in the spring while scouting and it can be a great activity for your whole family.

    Train, Condition, Prepare

    I cannot stress enough the importance of improving and maintaining your physical conditioning, regularly shooting your weapons, and strategizing to keep your mental focus. So many hunters just hang up the bow in January and don’t get it back out until September of the next year. Don’t be that guy. Use this winter to get in the regular habit of shooting, working out, and planning for next fall. It will pay dividends during the 2021 hunting season and rapidly speed up your improvement as a hunter.

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