Learn the quarry you pursue

(This column was written by Jerry Smyly for the Demopolis Times.)

It’s getting so very, very close to fall and hunting season. However, the heat really makes it tough to get excited. After spending a weekend at the Buckmaster’s expo in Montgomery, it’s safe to say I am feeling a little more invigorated. The Montgomery Convention center was chock full of hunting gadgets and gizmos. New stands, optics, clothing and even seasonings for your meat after a successful hunt could be found. Outfitters and food plot seed producers were on hand as well. Also, as usual, there were the snake oil salesmen; peddling their latest concoctions. These latest potions when applied here or there will make any big buck walk straight to your stand, put up his hooves and yell “shoot me!” There is no substitute for scouting and woodsmanship; I encourage everyone who wants to be successful afield to get out and do plenty of scouting. Learning the animals you pursue will make you more successful, not the latest lure that smells like a urinal on a Monday morning at Talladega speedway.

There was also an archery contest during the expo, I’m no Robin Hood but I do thoroughly enjoy archery hunting for whitetail. Despite the heat, it’s time to pull out the bow and do a little practicing, if you haven’t already started. Remember to start slowly at first, building muscle tone and memory back are important in developing consistent arrow groupings. Always quit before fatigue sets in, continuing to practice after becoming tired can cause bad habits and poor shooting.

My friend and I have recently begun discussing departure times for our hunting trip out of state. Whether to hunt rut or pre-rut, as well as moon phases are all being considered. Another trip to Pike County, Illinois is on the calendar and we’ve been trying to work out the details. This has also aided in getting me jazzed for the upcoming hunting season.

While most hunting seasons are a ways off, dove is just right around the corner. Many people let the dove season opener to kick off their hunting season each year. We’re also amidst the various gator seasons. Different zones have different dates. There were some nice lizards taken, but nothing enormous.

However you spend these hot summer days, be sure to spend some time learning the quarry you intend to pursue. It’ll pay off this hunting season, I guarantee it!

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 21 issue of the Demopolis Times.)