Hunting grounds are hallowed places, viewed with great anticipation and anxiety over the bragging, freezer-filling, story-gathering process each fall. But to be sure your time there doesn’t turn to pure anguish, here are some tips to help you prepare.
1. Zero your gun. Know holdover or dialing data at distances you expect to be shooting. Too many people spend thousands on the trip of a lifetime, but fail to fire $50 in ammo to confirm consistent hits at these distances with their particular hunting load and rifle.
2. Check your natural point of aim. Close your eyes while on target, then open them. If the crosshairs drift, change position until the reticle stays on target. Make this second-nature.
3. Get familiar with the terrain. Use topo maps or scout the area—your venison will taste better if you perform a true sneak rather than an all-out run due to desperation.
4. Do your cardio. Preferably wearing your full pack.
5. Check your equipment. Be sure your scope is properly tightened, the rangefinder has batteries, your knife is sharp, and the Snickers bar in the bottom of your pack isn’t from 2002.