You don’t have to visit an art museum to experience the light fantastic of a Monet or Renoir. Just witness a sunrise in Kentucky’s woods during a foggy autumn morning and you’ll understand the inspiration for the masters.
October is the best time of year to watch the woods waking up—and true hunters appreciate the sensory experience as much as the hunt itself. The animals, sensing the impending change of season, shake their summer lethargy. They’re actively feeding and moving.
Hunters have a variety of game and seasons to choose from at this time of year. The special deer season for youth hunters occurs October 8-9. The early muzzleloader deer season for all hunters is the following weekend, October 15-16. Shotgun season for turkey runs from October 22-28. There also are ongoing archery seasons for deer and turkey, and several open seasons on various game birds.
Many hunters haven’t been in the woods for nearly a year. They may make the mistake of grabbing their gear from the closet without taking the time to prepare. This is a set-up for a disappointing day in the woods.
It’s a good idea to write a checklist and follow it before going afield. For starters, make sure your gun is unloaded, then clean the bore if it’s dirty. A dirty barrel affects the gun’s accuracy. Check the safety to ensure it’s working, then make sure everything is functioning correctly.
Next, spend some time on the range to refamiliarize yourself with your gun and make sure nothing was knocked out of alignment during storage. Experiment with different shells or loads to find the most accurate combination. This can make a surprising difference. Even if you don’t plan on deer hunting until the November modern gun season, October is a good month to start practicing.
If you’re using a tree stand, take it out and practice putting it up. Lubricate any squeaky areas and check all the bolts. It’s also a good idea to put on your hunting clothes and practice putting on your safety harness.
Finally, if you got new boots for Christmas and haven’t worn them yet, put on some wool socks and wear your boots until they’re broken in. There’s nothing more miserable than having blisters during a hunt.
Hunters born after January 1, 1975, must have a hunter education card. Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Department offers free hunter education courses all year throughout the state. To find the course nearest you, visit the department’s Internet site at http://fw.ky.gov.