About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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October 03, 2008

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Season Prep

    While political analysts chew over the up's, down's and inbetween's of last night's Biden/Palin debate, I'll merely say that I thought moderator Gwen Ifill's push-over performance was a disservice to the American voter, and move off of politics for the moment. After all, while the vice presidential candidates were engaged in debate prep in past weeks, many of us have been involved in season prep.
    Or have we? How much do you do to get ready for fall every year?
    Is there a back-to-school-style shopping trip for anything from outerwear to granola bar valu paks?
    And how about target shooting? Do you go to the range or maybe set up something on your property?
    And scouting. I know some of us take it very seriously, but do others have trouble finding the time?
    And exercise. If you have a strenuous hunt coming up (all you elk hunters), do you take time to get in shape for the season as suggested by the occasional F&S article on the topic?
    In short, how much of a nerd are you about getting ready for your season? Are you a check-list-toting hyper planner, or do you just cover the basics and take it from there?
    Also, a quick Gear Giveaway update: The first winner will be announced Friday, October 10. And I have to say, some of these prizes are awesome. I was just in touch with our blog sponsor, Filson, for example, and I'm thrilled about the level of gear they're providing. You guys are in for some very nice treats this fall! -K.H.


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I started my season prep some time ago. Had my stand hung in "The Spot" a month before the bow opener, tricked it out in some camo burlap (to help hide some movement), and tossed down a few apples for the deer to munch on. Baiting is legal in Ohio, although so far none of the deer have munched on them while I'm in the stand? I've got our property all scouted, but as far as the other places we hunt, nada. Keep saying that we'll go scout, but so far no.
I have my own archery range behind the dog kennel. Nothing fancy, just a long narrow strip of lawn with a straw bale back stop. I do have some new arrows to sight in, which I should be doing....

I do try and plan things out and keep ahead of the game, however, that doesn't happen 100% of the time. Sometimes though, I'd rather have all the luck in world than a planner filled with info.

Laura Bell

Dang it! That was me that posted that!


I did a lot of preseason prep this year. This is my first time bow hunting and I'm not crazy about tree stands so I bought one of those pop up blinds. I set that up a month ago after much scouting for what I hope is a great spot. I have a wish list of things I think I need and things I'd like to have. So I do make at least one prehunt trip to the sporting goods store.
I have been pretty good about practicing with my bow at least 4 times a week for the last month and I do target shoot with my rifle once a month. I do a lot of hiking but the Bowflex has become a clothes rack AGAIN! Today is opening day for archery and sleep eludes me :( another reason I'm not crazy about sitting in tree stand, I just might nod off.

Dr. Ralph

Went to the local outdoor archery range with 20 targets set up at random distances once two weeks ago and was about as good as I ever am. Judging distances is usually the hardest part for me, not the actual shooting.

As far as scouting to be honest that's what I use archery season for. I wander around looking for scrapes and rub lines and figure out where the deer are eating, sleeping, copulating, etc... and then figure out where I'm going to hang my stand for opening day of gun season. I've had some near death experiences trying to shoot a bow out of a tree stand so now I just scout and stalk and occasionally I get lucky.

Check out the neat McCain Palin bumper sticker my daughter put on her car. Definitely for girls only and your new spokes model is there to showcase it. Punch my name.


Pre-Season Prep: Did the scouting over the past 3 wks., hung 6 bow stands on 3 different properties, got my trusty old Matthews SQ-2 bow out, had it "prepped"....(strings waxed, new peep sight, and a new Copper John bow sight)and gave my wish list for the latest gadgets, clothing, etc. to my hubby. That took a lot of pressure off of him when trying to shop for a birthday present for me. Yesterday, Oct. 3rd, was my birthday, and I got everything on my list....so I'm ready. We have a practice range set up in the back yard and try to shoot our bows every evening.
Back to the stands.....my husband has each stand outlined, using his compass, in a "little black book" to aid in choosing which stand to hunt, and when, based on the wind direction.
Season opens here in Alabama in 2 wks. and I'd say I'm READY!

Lou Alexander

Man it seems like all we have done lately is work, work, work. But the time is finally here for us to play. Our food plots are in, tree stands put up, all of the mowing (I hope) is done, and my camo freshly washed in scent killer, so let the hunting begin.

I tend to be lazy when it comes to shooting practice. I know, it should be top priority but I just can't seem to get into it until about the time we start to hunt. That is probably why I suck at bow hunting. I think just being out in the field in bow season is what is fun for me. Shooting is just a bonus. Maybe because I know that I can make up for it in rifle season and fill the freezer with doe meat.

The times I have had the priviledge to go elk hunting, I did make exercise and shooting practice a priority well before the hunt.


Hey, Kim ... are you going to have giveaway stuff for the guys, too ... or just the women? I am fine with the latter ... not that I would have any say in the matter.

Just got back from the rifle range. Wasn't able to go as much as in the past but will go a few more times before rifle season starts - mostly for offhand practice and also to check zero on the muzzleloaders (when it gets colder). Have been taking shots every few days with my air rifle since last season. Have been shooting the bow a lot since spring - trying out new fletchings. Chose my final config and broadheads a couple weeks ago. Hopefully, the string will last through this season, unlike last year. Soon, will be trying all this out with heavy clothes. Wish we had a range with moving targets, even if just for .22 or pellet.


There has been quite a bit of pre-season prep going on at my home for this waterfowl season.

I started working out in August and am actually taking an exercice class called "Boot Camp" to get in shape for the season. And wow, is it ever a workout! And when walking my dogs, I even carry a backpack full of heavy books to mimic carrying gear. My husband and I often hike into out of the way spots, carrying a kayak, decoys, guns (of course), and waders. I didn't want to die of exhaustion on the opening day of duck season carrying all that gear. lol.

At home there has been lots of paint touch-ups and double-checking the rigging on our dekes. I also try to get to the range and shoot a round of skeet as often as possible. Unfortunately, that hasn't been as much as I had hoped over the summer. So at least I practice my gun mount and swing a few times most evenings.

And then it's scout, scout, and scout! Duck and goose hunting is no good if you're not where the birds want to be. I've hiked a lot of miles while scouting and have had a great time. Our opener is Oct. 11, so I spent last Friday night scouting. I kicked up two deer, saw a couple young raccoons, nearly had a red squirrel jump on my head, and found a GREAT out-of-the-way spot to hunt on the opener full of ducks. Now we need to go back and GPS the route in so we can find it at 4am. I think we're a little crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Yup, this sounds about right -- I figured we were a blog of planners and prepar-ers. Not bad at all.

Mike, as for your question about gear, as it looks now, all the clothing will be for women, but there will probably be some gender-neutral prizes mixed in.

And Jan: Happy belated birthday! -K.H.


my prep time was easy I went to the gas station and realized I didn't have enough money to fill up...but in the big picture I realize george bush and big oil need the money more than I need to hunt..I sill have my guns...


My preseason planning has been going on for about 12 months now. I haven't stopped checking out my spot and watching for signs since last season. I've got cameras set up so I can go in once a month and check to see what's been through. The stands were hung about a month ago and shooting continues throughout all spring and summer as always.