Preparing for another archery season

Preparing for another archery season
No more than two antlered deer taken during a license year (all weapons) may have two points or less per antler present. (Andrew Aughenbaugh photo)

The heat of summer is upon us. It is hard to believe that in four weeks another deer archery season will be here. But it will.

Are you going to be ready?


This year Maryland archery season opens on Sept. 11. Here in Carroll County, which is part of the state's deer hunting Region B, the harvest of antlerless deer is unlimited for the archery hunter. As far as bucks go, the archery limit is one; or two if you use your bonus tag in archery season.

No more than two antlered deer taken during a license year (all weapons) may have two points or less per antler present. Persons hunting with a Junior Hunting License are exempt from the antler point restriction requirement. One additional (bonus) antlered deer may be taken per year in Region B.

The bonus antlered deer may be taken in any weapon season. Before taking a bonus antlered deer, hunters must first purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp and harvest two antlerless deer in Region B. These antlerless deer may be taken in any weapon season. Persons exempt from needing a hunting license do not need to purchase a Bonus Antlered Deer Stamp but must harvest two antlerless deer in Region B with any weapon prior to taking a bonus antlered deer. Only one bonus antlered deer may be taken each year.

In Region B, including Carroll County, deer archery season is open on Sundays — Oct. 11, 18, and 25, and Nov. 1 and 8.

Realistic Practice

The scouting is done, the stands are set, and the bow is a fine tuned shooting machine, but are you ready? A little effort with some realistic practice will confirm that you are ready for the opener.

I'm not going to get into the debate on which manufacture or type of broadheads are better. But I will say that the only right broadhead to shoot is a sharp one. First and foremost, make sure your broadheads are as sharp as possible. Even new broadheads straight out of the package may, and often do, require a little time on the sharpening stone.

If you are like most deer hunters and spend the majority of your time hunting from a tree stand then you should practice from an elevated platform. I've know guys to shoot from their deck or climb on the roof of their shed, while I'm not condoning unsafe practices, the shooting position from up in the tree is different than standing with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Learn to bend from the waist. Learn how to adjust your sight lines and sight picture while shooting the extreme angles of being 20 feet in the air.

One of the first things a deer hunter learns is that deer travel and feed more in the low light conditions of early morning and late afternoon. Practicing during low light conditions will help you learn how much light it takes to see through your peep sight, and when you can no longer see your sight pins.

A routine I have come up with that I have found helps with realistic practice. I hunt fairly often from the ground sitting in a chair. I don't use a ground blind, normally I just hide real well in the brush. If you hunt from a treestand, you can do the same from up in the tree.

Late in the evening, I'll set the target out at an unknown distance in the yard from my chair. I'll set my bow on the ground by my side and begin to read a book. After reading a page or two, I'll lean down grasp my bow and draw the broadhead tipped arrow and take a shot. After only one shot, I'll go back to reading a few more pages and repeat for three arrows. I'll pull the arrows from the target and move my chair. I'll repeat this scenario until it is too dark to shoot. By practicing like this it gives me a real world scenario where only the first arrow is the one that counts.

The Pack

We hunters carry a lot of stuff into the woods. Before the season begins is the perfect time to dump the packs contents on the table and take inventory. (Preferably the work bench and not the good dining room table.)

Remove the items you didn't use last year. If you didn't use it then you properly won't use it this year. In my pack is a small first aid kit that also contains things like cough drops and aspirin. They need to be replenished or replaced each year. Replace the flashlight batteries.


Most importantly sharpen that knife. I made that mistake last year and didn't keep my knife sharp last season. It was a long messy night in October last year as I field dressed a buck with a dull knife while my spare knife was back in the truck.


After spending all summer watching those mega large bucks on TV get shot in less than 30 minutes, it is easy for a hunter to get easily discouraged when Mr. Big does not appear on cue like on TV. Be realistic about what your woods holds as far as a buck's antler size potential. I feel like I should not have to say it, but I will, real life is not like TV. Instead of watching deer after deer walk by your stand waiting for that one special buck, shoot some does. The harvest is unlimited and with two or three in the freezer, you've got enough good quality meat for the whole year.