Preparation and Practice Equal Results
July 20th, 2019 by Curtis Condon

Consider target practicing with the arrows and broadheads you plan to hunt with, rather than the usual field points. It’s more of a pain to remove broadheads from targets and painful to the wallet when you lose or damage one, but it will help you make more-precise adjustments that could mean the difference between a hit or a miss when it counts.
© iStock/Stefan Malloch

What you do before the hunt can be just as important—if not more important—than what you do the day of the hunt. That’s because preparation and practice are keys for success.

With hunting seasons already open in some areas or fast approaching in others, here are six things you can do to improve your odds whether hunting with a bow, rifle or black powder.

  • Scout areas beforehand. Look for forage and bedding areas, and identify natural lanes of travel. Don’t forget to formulate an exit strategy for how to remove game if you are successful.
  • Get in hunting shape. It could be something as simple as a series of hikes or bow pulls-holds. Match strength and conditioning efforts to the terrain and mode of hunting you plan to employ. For archers, that means strengthening arm and shoulder muscles.
  • Get serious about target practice. The current term is mindfulness. Focus on each step of every shot. Use the same bow or firearm you intend to hunt with, as well as the same ammo or projectiles.
  • Do dress rehearsals. When target shooting, wear the same clothes, footwear and outerwear you plan to use when hunting.
  • Shoot all the angles. Shoot uphill and down, short and long. This will prepare you to shoot from a tree stand and in different types of terrain. Practice in different types of weather and low-light conditions, too.
  • Get a head start. If you plan to be stationary, set up your tree stand or blind at least 24 hours beforehand, if possible.

Why-Didn’t-I-Think-of-That Camping Cuisine
This summer I ran into a family enjoying what they called tacos in a bag, which can be fixed cold or hot. For hot, heat meat or beans. Prepare other ingredients, such as veggies, olives and cheese, and combine everything in snack-size bags with your favorite taco chips. Bon appetit!

August is National Picnic and Catfish Month, and …
August 10, National S’mores Day
August 31, National Trail Mix Day

Catch of the Month
Here are prime fishing opportunities around the state in August.
The Keys: bonito, swordfish, tuna, permit, snook, snapper and wahoo.
Northwest: jack, bluefish, bluegill, catfish, drum, bonito, seatrout, snapper, barracuda, triggerfish, sheepshead, mackerel, pompano, sailfish, shark, sunfish, marlin, tarpon, tuna and wahoo.
Central West: amberjack, bass, tarpon, flounder, bluegill, bluefish, drum, seatrout, sunfish, shark, grouper, tarpon, grunt, mackerel, barracuda, permit, porgy, pompano, snapper and ladyfish.
Southwest: jack, ladyfish, barracuda, bass, bluegill, snook, permit, shark, sunfish, grouper and snapper.

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Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.