Archery hunting season for deer, turkey officially under way

Now, I’m not meaning to rush the summer season along, but a quick peek at the calendar will surprise you to learn that the hunting season for upland game, as well as archery for deer, is upon us. I’m sure that this comes as not such great news for the deer, grouse, pheasant and other small game, but it does make those hot, humid days just a might more tolerable for those of us with hunting blood in our veins.

Bowhunters all know that they are in their fall season for deer and turkey with an archery season for both that began Saturday and will run until Dec. 15. I’ve never been noted for my abundance of patience when it comes to sitting absolutely still in the midst of the woods waiting for the right opportunity to walk on by. Add to this the fact that I’ve never been a Robin Hood with a bow and arrow and it is easy to see why I acquired skills with modern firearms. I tip the ol’ camo cap to those of you who do your hunting in this extremely sporting fashion. I admire your skill, dedication and your patient pursuit of game.

It may seem rather silly to be planning on getting ready for a season that begins in a few short weeks, as the balmy summer weather seems to extend itself longer and longer every fall. However, a little preparation now can go a long way to ensuring a successful hunting season when the leaves do turn their annual shades of red, yellow and orange in October. Pleasant days afield don’t just happen on a whim – a lot of effort must be expended to ensure a safe, productive and enjoyable time when you take to the outdoors.

If you use a dog for upland game or waterfowl, you should be polishing up his physical stamina as well as reinforcing those commands he doesn’t hear often except during the hunting season. Spending 10 or 15 minutes every day working on the basic commands they’ll encounter while hunting will make a trip afield or on the water that much more enjoyable for man and beast.

Just remember that a training permit is required to work a dog during the offseason on any land other than your own. The permits are available from the Fish and Game department in Concord.

Keep your training sessions with your canine brief during these hot days to avoid overheating, which can be fatal to an overstressed or out-of-shape dog. Avoid direct sunlight when training.

Shady spots are cooler and make things easier for you and your dog. Always keep plenty of fresh water on hand so that your dog can have a drink at regular intervals to help keep him cool and avoid dehydration.

Whatever means you use to hunt with – rifle, shotgun, or bow and arrow – all hunters have an ethical and humane responsibility to ensure proficiency with your weapon of choice in the taking of small or large game. Quick, clean kills are the only acceptable answer when harvesting game for the table.

It is a serious issue to take game as part of a consumable lifestyle, and anything less than recognition of your role in this scenario is unacceptable.

The time remaining before you take to woods and forests is a good time to sharpen your aim and make sure that your skills with your favorite rifle, shotgun or bow haven’t diminished during the offseason months.

Putting the time into bringing back your accuracy will go a long way in ensuring that your one shot finds its bullseye and takes the game humanely.

The last thing we need to look at in getting ready for the upcoming hunting season is the person who looks back at you from the mirror each morning.

Spend the time now to get your suburban pampered legs into condition for those countless hillside climbs and valley bottom stalks. Getting the legs, heart, lungs and all the rest of the body into proper shape for a season of good times will make sure that the days are spent beneath the technicolor splendor of your favorite spot and not in an emergency room with strange chest pains.

Taking the time now to begin getting ready in all possible ways will undoubtedly find you starting the season off feeling confident and good about yourself and the sport you enjoy so much.

Gordon Lewis can be reached at