Deer Hunting: The Countdown to Bow Season

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Are You Ready for Fall?

It has been months since you’ve stepped into the woods with bow in hand, and you ache for the first hint of fall -- the faint, dusty smell, the crackle of dried leaves, the cool north winds. With every round of shooting practice you envision him standing there: thick neck, long bone-white tines, heavy body. You say to yourself, “This year it’s going to happen!” as you sink another arrow into the sweet spot. Every adjustment has been made and all preparations are complete; the countdown has begun.

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Image 1 of 12

1 | An Old Friend

It feels good to grab your bow for the first time since the spring turkey season. Its curves mold to your hand and you begin to reminisce of last season and dream of the next.

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Image 2 of 12

2 | Carbon Arrows

Most of today's bowhunters shoot carbon arrows (although a few holdouts still use aluminum). Carbons are light, fast and durable. 

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Image 3 of 12

3 | Early Practice

It’s been months since you’ve released an arrow, and your shots are a little, well, erratic. But you know with a few adjustments and some attention to detail you’ll be dialed in soon enough.

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Image 4 of 12

4 | Shoot Again

Draw, anchor, aim, squeeze -- every effort is made to get your body in proper shooting form. Rep after rep at the range is made, and you finally begin to feel conditioned and primed. 

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Image 5 of 12

5 | Making Adjustments

Micro adjustments are made again and again to your sight and rest. Paper-tuning reveals perfect tears. Finally, your groups begin to tighten, and your confidence soars. 

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Image 6 of 12

6 | 10-Ring

Thump! Thump! Thump! A smile creases across your face. 

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Image 7 of 12

7 | Passing Inspection

Every inch of your bow has been inspected and tuned. Every ding and scuff from the previous season has a story. You can only hope for more.

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Image 8 of 12

8 | Treestand Shooting Practice

You’re consistently hitting the 10-ring, so you throw a wrinkle into things. The steep angles from a treestand give you confidence as you envision the arrow passing through your target.

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Image 9 of 12

9 | Fixed-blade or Mechanical?

The season is closer and broadheads are chosen. Fixed blade or mechanical, either will do the job, but some are better than others. Choose wisely.

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Image 10 of 12

10 | Ready to Go

You still practice, over and over again, counting the days until the season opener. From a tree, from the ground, every shot angle is considered, and the final arrows are dialed in. 

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Image 11 of 12

11 | Opening Day

It's arrived and you can’t wait to grab your bow and head to the woods for the first evening hunt of the season. You don’t expect much to walk by; a doe maybe or a young buck, but anticipation is still high.

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Image 12 of 12

12 | Success!

But then again, opening day could be worse.

Editor's note: This was originally published August 25, 2011.

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