Spring is just around the corner and for Oregon elk archery hunters, preparations for the early season now begins in earnest. Preparations may include physical fitness training, target practice, repairing or replacing clothing and gear, and even upgrading to a new bow. And, while it still may be a little too early for scouting, one can begin identifying areas to scout on the maps.
Physical fitness is no joke when it comes to pursuing elk in the Oregon mountains. However, the real test is when an elk is harvested and one must pack it out piece by piece. Begin strength training now using weights. Weight training is incredibly beneficial to the elk hunter, especially when training with modest weight at high repetition. When elk season is only a couple months away, start running or biking to build up cardio endurance.
If buying a new bow for this season is in the plans, now is the time to buy. Give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with the new bow and schedule in a few 3-D shoots to build your confidence with it. Starting now will allow you to make adjustments to your set-up as you work out the possible kinks or change preferences.
Hunting gear and clothing has come a long way in the last couple decades. Every year there are advancements and technological improvements in design and materials. Sure, the old stuff still works, but injecting some of the new stuff into this year’s hunt makes it all the more thrilling and much more comfortable. Some of the new clothing designs and use of fabrics can make a noticeable difference in one’s hunt.
A popular saying is, “cotton kills”. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet. When temperatures drop from an unexpected weather front, a person wearing wet cotton risks suffering from hypothermia. Some of the best fabrics for the early season are the new synthetic polyesters that are cool, breathable and are quick drying. All in all, these improvements in design and fabric add up to longer days in the field, and that brings more hunting opportunities.
Scouting has become much easier since the advent of Google Earth and similar satellite imaging services. It used to be we would scout to make our hunting time more efficient. Now we can Google Earth to make our scouting time more efficient. For all those who have smart phones, carrying satellite imagery into the field is easy with the use of mapping/GPS apps. Make use of these technologies while waiting for the snows to melt.
Plan and schedule your shooting routine from now until elk season. A written down schedule will help one keep the routine going through following months. One might even go to the pro-shop and ask for a critique on shooting form. Sometimes we start a new season with a bad habit, usually from a loss of muscle memory. Remember to never shoot tired. Take breaks during long shooting sessions. Above all, have fun.