Although we might not believe it, there’s more to life than bowhunting. If you’re a bowhunting junkie, what do you do after sunset on bow season’s final day?
Well, after spending most weekends and lots of vacation time in a treestand, you could devote some time to your family. They might be feeling neglected. Your spouse and kiddos might not even recognize you without camouflage paint on your cheeks.
After visiting the mall with your wife or the arcade with your kids, consider luring them into archery. Target archery can be a fun family activity, and it’s a great way to introduce people to the outdoors.
Join a League
While you’re at it, keep your shooting skills sharp. Archery leagues are a fun way to do so, and they commit you to practice. You’ll also make new friends and perhaps find new hunting partners. Leagues also provide great opportunities to try new equipment and pick up pointers from other experienced archers.
Try New Gear
The middle of bow season isn’t the best time to tweak your equipment, especially if you’ve been shooting that setup for months. But the offseason is a great time to experiment. Try a friend’s new bow and see how you like it. Try some new sights or broadheads. You never know. You might buy a new setup before next bow season.
Host a Wild-Game Dinner
Wild-game dinners are great ways to share your bounty with friends and family while swapping stories and reminiscing about hunting. Invite friends, family, hunting partners, landowners and acquaintances who might be interested in bowhunting. It’s fun to sample meats from out-of-state hunts. Taste something foreign and delectable, and you might start planning your own out-of-state hunt!
Help a Farmer
Winter is usually a slower time for farmers, but they could use your help during the spring planting season. Now’s a good time to offer your help with chores. It goes a long way to cement relationships and ensures you have places to hunt next fall. While there, share sausage or other cuts from last season’s harvest. The landowner will appreciate it.
For those who believe there’s no offseason, winter is excellent for scouting. Keep those trail cameras running to see which bucks survived hunting season. Scouting the winter woods also won’t hurt anything if you jump deer. You can learn a lot about the topography and how deer move about. It’s also a great time to interpret deer sign because you’ll find trails, rubs and even old scrapes if snow doesn’t bury them.
Looking for shed antlers, of course, goes well with offseason scouting, and you can bring your family. Finding sheds off your target buck soothes the sting of eating your bow tag. Besides, finding any shed is exciting. These antlers tell you a little about where bucks spend their time and how they travel.
If you really don’t want to quit bowhunting, you can find other opportunities. Deer season often extends longer into winter in Southern states. Or you could book a hunt for wild hogs or exotic species. And by late winter, turkey season is nearing, and bowfishing in spring and summer is a blast!
The offseason is also a great time for helping the deer herd and landscape. Consult a forester to better manage your land for wildlife. Planting food or mast trees, and thinning the woods’ canopy helps browse flourish to benefit deer and other species. Food plots boost deer nutrition, helping them add weight and grow antlers. You can also support fundraisers, volunteer for conservation projects, and donate labor or equipment to improve habitats and bowhunting itself.