West Virginia bow hunters will have a shorter period of preparation this year for the fall hunting season. Typically, a large number of West Virginia archers begin prepping for the season with backyard target practice in August. This year, because of a special early antlerless deer season in September, that prep time will be shorter than usual.
"August is probably the best time to start conditioning yourself,” said Scott Warner of the DNR. "With an earlier archery season this year, it’s especially important that you go ahead and dust off the equipment."
Warner, a seasoned bow hunter himself, says you’ll find yourself a little sore when you start exercising those muscles that have been dormant since last fall.
"A lot of us who are really into bow hunting, we shoot year-around," said Warner. "If you’re one of the majority of bow hunters we have out there, it doesn’t take too long to become rusty and a little out of condition."
Just like your body can become out-of-condition, so can your gear. Check everything carefully before pulling the first draw.
"Maybe equipment was working fine when you put it away last year, but this year when you pull it out, maybe the string is dry or warped. Maybe the arrows had a few busted veins,” said Warner.
He adds it would be wise to get your equipment into a bow shop quickly if it is in disrepair. The rush just before the opening of the season may put your local bowyer behind. He may not be able to get to your repair in time for the season.
Also, if you’ve been out of practice, try not to over do it on the first outing.
"It takes you a few shots to get warmed up and you pretty much know what your pattern is going to be after one or two rounds," explained Warner. "If you’re standing at 15-20 yards and shooting for more than 15-minutes to a half-hour, your muscles start getting weak and your form becomes bad and what you create is a bad habit. Then all you’re doing is reinforcing a bad habit, and you don’t want to have a bad habit when you’re standing in a tree stand and a Pope and Young buck walks under you."
The early archery season for antlerless deer fund September 14-19 in selected counties on private land. The regular bow season opens October 17.