Deer Season Checklist | Great Days Outdoors

Begin now to complete certain tasks to help make this deer season a success.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can crop up and throw a hunter off track. A loose screw, a misplaced release, or blisters from a new pair of boots. Many times hunters focus on the major points, but neglect the smaller ones and the season can get off to a rocky start.

Hunting is now different, which means planning and preparation—all integral parts of any operation—must be altered somewhat.

Hunters can begin now to make a checklist of tasks that may need attention before opening day. Completing these duties can go a long way into having a successful season.

Pull out a legal pad and pen or grab your smartphone and create your personal checklist.



Make a checklist of hunting gear needed well before opening day. Photo by Charles Johnson

Dress for Success

You may have several articles of camouflage that are wadded up in the bottom of your closet. Or they may still be in the floorboard of your truck. Go ahead and gather up your camo clothing and wash them. Don’t wait until right before opening day of the season and realize you are unable to locate a jacket, shirt or other item.

“I like to wash my camo clothes in scent-free soap and hang them outside to dry,” comments Andy Barker of Munford, Ala. “After they are dry, I will seal them up in plastic bags to keep other scents out.”

Before washing and packing up your camo gear, make certain it still fits properly. Extra BBQ and snacks through the summer may have increased your waistline. Try on each piece of clothing for a test fit.

Barker suggests to go ahead and round up your socks, gloves and hats. It’s a good idea to go ahead and organize your backpack, too. Dig out the raingear and stow it with your other camo essentials. And for good measure, throw in an extra pair of camo gloves along with some disposable hand warmers.


A pair of hunting boots may be in order for this season. Look for sales at local sporting goods stores. Take a pair of your hunting socks along when you try on the boots. This will give you a good idea of the boots fit and feel before you take to the woods.

“A new pair of boots may need some break-in time,” advises Barker. “If you get a new pair, wear them around for a few days to get them broken.”

Gear Tune-up

When was the last time your ATV/RTV was serviced? Go ahead now and get a service check and tune-up. Inspect the tires, electrical wires, lights and charge the battery if needed. Examine the bolts and screw that hold any rack or rails and make sure they are secure.

“Tree stands also need inspection before using in the new season.”

Tree stands also need inspection before using in the new season. Go over all the cable and stress points. Inspect the welds for any cracks. Make certain all of the bolts/nuts are tight and not rusted. For your lock-on or ladder stands, closely examine the locking straps for any wear or fatigue.

“Look at your safety harness and check all of the straps,” Barker mentions. “Make sure your tree tether is in good shape.”

Sort through your backpack or gear bag and replace the batteries in that flashlight. Check and see if your pull-up rope is there too. Make a list of any new or replacement items needed. These can include scent wipes, scent spray, trail marking tape, hand warmers, and calls. There may be other items you want to bring along, so add those to your list.

  If you are a bowhunter and haven’t had your bow checked, do it now. As the season draws near, many bow shops will be busy and it may take them several days to complete the check. Gun hunters may want to check the zero on their scopes.

Bowhunters will want to check their arrows and broadheads for proper flight. Photo by Charles Johnson

Get off the Couch

With archery season only a few weeks away, hunters should be getting out and doing a little scouting. Early mornings and late afternoons are prime times to view a buck.

You can use a spotting scope or binoculars to glass field edges or cutover borders for deer movement.

Game or trail cameras are a big asset to hunters. They can monitor your area 24/7 to capture the time of deer movement. Also, hunters can see the numbers and quality of deer in their hunting area. Scouting the area early will give hunters a chance to make a plan on where to place a stand or blind.

“I like to go ahead and get my game cameras out early,” explains Barker. “I’ll leave them up about two weeks before going back and checking the card.”

Keep a log of the photos, dates and times of the deer sights. This will help you create a game plan and be in the proper spot when the season begins.

Bowhunters may need to trim up some shooting lanes around their stand sites. Also, check the areas around permanent stands and shooting houses. Trees or limbs have probably grown some since last season and could be blocking for a clear shot. A small pair of clippers should be fine for some simple trimming for shooting lanes.

We grow older each day and our bodies can wear down. You may already be on an exercise program. If not, get off the couch and begin to get in shape for hunting season. Start with early morning or late afternoon walks. Start off with short distances and gradually increase. Getting in shape early will help you enjoy the season.

This one last item that will definitely help make your season a success. Get started early on that honey-do list and have it completed before opening day. It will help make long days afield much more enjoyable.

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