Setting Yourself Up For Hunting Success

Photo by: M&R Glasgo

Hunting season is just around the corner. Heck, squirrel season has already started here in Indiana. Many people grab their gear and hit the woods with little prep. They will be the first to complain that nothing was moving around.

I always laugh in my head when I see one of my buddies in oil drenched coveralls they worn to work coming back empty handed. What do expect if you just grab your gun and hit the woods unprepared, wearing what you came home from work in!

Here we are going to cover some things that will help you set yourself up for success the next time you hit the woods no matter what you are after.


Some know this but most either don’t think about it or are too lazy to do it. I can’t stress this step enough if you are serious about hunting. Scouting your area starts at least a month before the season starts. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting deer or squirrel, you need to know where they are.

Just taking walks through the woods can teach you a lot of what’s going on, what is around and what you can expect to find. From seeing squirrel running around to finding paths of deer tracks to heavy food sources.

Once you find what you think is a good spot, throw up a trail camera and see what is hanging out or passing through.


It doesn’t matter if your using a gun or bow when hunting, this is the same for both. You need to practice shooting, adjust sights and shoot from multiple angles.


A lot of people do not have the land to shoot, so they just grab the old shotgun from the closet on the way out the door. Why is not good? Because things like sights do get out of adjustment over time when shot. If using a scope, why would you trust it if you are not testing it to make sure it is still accurate?

Even when you are using open iron sites, things get bumped and get out of whack. Besides those points, do you know that different types of shells shoot different? Using a Remington slug will shoot different than a riffled slug.

Always, always shoot your gun before you go out, every year. If you do not have the property to shoot, there are ranges. Most indoor ranges allow most calibers.


Same as above, sights get out of whack and need to be adjusted. It is also recommended to shoot from higher positions like a deck shooting down at a target. Most people shoot level when practicing but, shooting at a downward angle from a stand is different from shooting straight. I can guarantee you that the sights will need to be adjusted.

Practicing with your bow before the season starts will give you a chance to see if it needs to be tuned up or your strings replaced. Breaking a string or finding a cracked limb in the field could be a dangerous situation.

Correct Clothing

Here is another area that people don’t think about much. Just picking something up from Walmart because it looks cool or it is camo is not the right type of thinking. Think about what season it is and what your surroundings will be in your spot.

You want to blend in with what is around you. Are you sitting in a tree with leaves still on it? My favorite is the pants and jacket with leafs cut out on it. What about winter, are you wearing green camo sitting in the snow? Look for something with white camo. The site Under The Open Sky has a good list of their choices of best hunting jackets you can check out.

When it comes to boots, again, know your weather and season. Heavy boots are good if it is dead winter but they are heavy and bulky. Hiking boots may work but not good insulation and not water proof. You want good ankle support.


I find that a lot of my buddies us scents and calls the wrong way and it drives me crazy.

For the love of the loving Lord, know the season you are in. Are the deer in your area in Rut? If not, don’t use scent, you are probably hurting your chances of luring anything in! Also do not rattle unless you are in the Rut. If a Buck is not out looking to get some tail (pun intended), they will avoid other bucks fighting. Bucks do not usually fight, only when fighting for that special someone.

During the Rut, I have found dripping some FRESH doe urine on the back of my boots before walking to my stand works great. Some will say to never put doe urine on you or you will get attacked by a buck but I have never had that problem. They may run into your scent and follow your path right to your stand.

That brings up another good point, throw your last year urine out and buy fresh. Same year urine works best and you can usually find a local hunting shot that carries it. Sure, a year or two old urine can work but why not use fresh?

Here is a good article on how to correctly use deer scent.

Here is a good read on the language of smalls from BuckMaster.

Hit The Woods Early

This is probably my biggest complaint about hunting public land.

Animals are most active early morning and late evening. Get to your spot an hour before sunrise. It gives you time to settle in, stop sweating from the hike in and the path you took to get rid of your scent.

When deer hunting I get to my parking by 4:45am and I’m in my stand by 5:30 set and ready. It never fails to have hunter come walking in right at sunrise and spooking everything. It of course pays at time if they push the deer to you but that’s not hunting to me.

When hunting small game, early is usually still better. Maybe not 4:45am early but you want to be in the woods where the game is when they are most active.

Hauling Out

Lastly, be prepared to get anything you kill out of the woods. If you are lucky enough to be able to use a quad, good for you. Most public land doesn’t allow any motorized vehicles on the land with good reason.

Have your rope, sled or dolly with you in your truck. I personally know more than one people that have left deer laying because it was too much work to get out. That is not only wasteful, it really is a jerk move.

Because I know most hunters are lazy, I go a mile deep into the woods to place my stand. That’s a long drag with a buddy, would take me hours by myself. I keep a drag sled in my truck. After field dressing, I will walk back and get the sled.

Please share your thoughts of ways that you prepare for hunting season. The list above is the way I personally prepare. I’m sure there are things I can learn from you!