Marty Fischer's Guide: Fall Hunting
For the avid hunter, fall is the best time of year. Don’t start the season off unprepared. Follow these tips from our resident hunting expert, Marty Fischer, for a successful season start to finish.
Make no mistake; it has been a long, hot summer in the Deep South. Some Southerners enjoy the heat, but for the outdoor enthusiasts, cooler weather can’t get here soon enough. The temperatures dropping can only mean one thing: Fall hunting seasons have begun.
Whitetail deer and dove hunting enthusiasts don’t have long to wait at all, since the deer season opens in the South Carolina Lowcountry region in mid-August followed by the annual dove season in both Georgia and South Carolina the first Saturday of September. The archery season for deer opens a few weeks later in Georgia.
With these hunting seasons approaching, there are a number of things that enthusiasts need to do now in order to be ready for opening day.
Check to make sure your hunting licenses are current. In most states the licenses run for a year from the date of purchase, but that is for the actual license only. Items like duck stamps and wildlife management permits are valid until the final day of a given hunting season, and must be renewed for the following year.
You may be required to pass a hunter’s safety course prior to venturing afield. A Hunter’s Safety Certification number is required for those born after 1967. The safety course is also recommended if you are a first time hunter but you aren’t required to take the course by law.
It is wise to check all of your equipment prior to the hunting season. This means checking the operation of things like your guns, lights, tree stands, clothing, boots and other accessories. If you are purchasing new equipment, make sure you spend some time breaking it in before you take it to the field. For instance, getting comfortable with your firearm is critical, so practice is a must.
If you purchase a new pair of boots, you will want to put a few miles on them to get them broken in. Rest assured that if your feet are uncomfortable, your hunt will be cut short.
The gun pictured above is a Remington 30-06. A 30-06 can be used to hunt everything from coyote to buffalo. It is considered a “Big Game” rifle.
There is no substitute for being prepared for your days afield. This means that you should take your shooting practice seriously. Whether you are hunting with a firearm or bow, you want to be perfectly comfortable with the operation of the equipment, and you most certainly want to be a proficient as possible with your shooting ability.
You should try to replicate in your practice the shot conditions you will face in the field. The best place to practice for an upland bird or waterfowl hunt is on a sporting clays course since the target variety can better prepare you for what you will see in the field. You will also want to work on your gun mounts since you will not be able to have the gun up to your shoulder prior to the start of the shot sequence like you might see some do when shooting clay targets.
If you are hunting with a rifle, make sure you practice at the distance you will most likely be shooting. If you are traveling to hunt with an outfitter, make sure you question him on the terrain, elevation and shot distances and conditions you might encounter while on the hunt. That way you will be better prepared for what is to come.
Bow hunters tend to practice often, but many of them shoot arrows only from the ground. In most instances when bowhunting, the hunter will be elevated in a tree stand. Make sure you practice for both and by all means do some shooting from an elevated position since the higher angle makes the drop of the arrow different from shots taken from the ground.
When venturing afield you want to be as prepared as possible, and making sure that you and your equipment are up to the challenge can be the difference between a successful hunt or a miserable one. •