Preparing For Firearms Season

November 8th marks the opening of firearms season for deer in New Hampshire.  This is one of my last chances to put meat in the freezer so I need to make sure my gear is squared away.  Not getting a deer will definitely put me behind the proverbial “8 ball” when it comes to feeding my family this winter.  If I don’t get one through no fault of my own, well that’s hunting, but if I fail because of something I did, or didn’t do, that’s a different matter.  All the more reason to dot my “Is” and cross my “Ts”.

New Hampshire is divided up into different management areas with each having their own rules.  In some areas the season is shorter than in others.  Some have extended seasons.  Some are “buck” only, some have only one day where you can take a doe and others have longer seasons where the hunter can take any legal deer.  Make sure you know the area you are hunting and all of the rules that apply to that area.

Some of the zones are shotgun only while others are open to rifles as well.  My early scouting has been in both zones, so that means preparing both my shotgun and my rifle.  My shotgun is my Mossberg 500, 12 gauge pump fitted with a rifled barrel.  I don’t use scopes, instead relying upon the open iron sights.  My ammunition for opening day will be Remington Premier AccuTip 385 grain Sabot slugs.  My rifle is my Henry .30-30.  Here again I will be using the open sights.  My ammunition will be Federal Fusion with a 170 grain bullet.  I have already sighted in both firearms so I am go to go.

Hunting gear is more than just your firearms.  Safety is always top priority so I wear a ton of blaze orange clothing.  I also carry my cell phone, though I will admit there are some places that I hunt that a cell phone is useless.  I carry it more to make my wife happy than anything else.  I also let people know where I am going and when I intend to be back, and I leave a note on the dashboard of my truck with the same info.  While I am fully capable of surviving a night in the woods, I’d rather not if at all possible.

In my pack you will find a map of the area I am hunting and a compass.  I also carry a first-aid kit and extra warm clothes.  There is also fire starting gear, water, a few The New Primal Meat Sticks to munch on and a couple Paleo Meals to Go just in case I need to prepare a meal.  Attached to my pack is my Gerber Strongarm knife.  In one of the outside pockets is a pair of Bushnell binoculars, some rope, some blaze orange marking tape, a Primos deer call and last, but not least a few tie wraps so I can put my tag on the deer.

This really isn’t a lot of stuff and that is a good thing.  I don’t sit in a tree stand.  Instead I stock, sit and wait and then stock again.  The amount of time I spend stalking depends on the amount of sign I see in an area.  Tracks, scat and scrapes will tell me what I need to know.  As I am not out for trophies, the first legal deer that comes within range is the one I will take.  If I am successful I could be dragging a 100 pounds, or so, of dead weight (pardon the pun) through the woods.  The less “other” stuff I have the better.

So there you have it.  I’m ready to get out there as there is a great deal riding on a successful hunt.  I hope that you all are successful this season as well.