Pre-Season Thoughts

Kids Outdoor Outpost July 2020

Joe Schuster | July 1, 2020

As we hit the mid spot of summer and the Fourth of July, my thoughts (and maybe yours) begin to turn to the upcoming deer season. As primarily a bowhunter, I begin to assess my inventory of gear. I’ll be needing about a half-dozen new arrows, new broadheads and probably an inspection of my bow at my local archery shop. Don’t wait until the week before the season opener! Archery shops will be covered up with hunters who waited and then want their tune-ups with a quick turnaround. Don’t be that hunter!

Get your gear ready now and begin your practicing, if you haven’t already. Practice a lot, especially the shots that will simulate the angle from an elevated stand. Those are crucial. Let’s move on.

My thoughts now start to wonder what impact COVID-19 will have on this deer season. I definitely think that it impacted turkey season. I think the woods were full of hunters who maybe just wanted to get out of the house after being under restrictions and perhaps even quarantine.

This deer season I believe we will see more hunters than we’ve seen in recent years taking to the woods, and I think we’ll see more does taken. Why? The cost of beef has certainly gone up lately, making just a burger on the grill kind of pricey.

As I reported earlier this year, my son, his girlfriend and I took several deer last season and donated one to a feed the hungry program. We processed the rest of the deer. It’s quite a comforting feeling looking in the chest freezer and seeing it slap full of ground venison that is cut with ribeye fat! That makes for some awesome burgers, tacos, burritos, chili, sloppy joes and more. So, I think more hunters will be out after freezer meat to feed their families.

According to statistics from DNR at, 278,000 deer were killed by a little more than 200,000 hunters during the 2018-19 season. Keep in mind that we moved to the automated Game Check system in 2016, and data is now obtained by a combination of this information and telephone surveys. But we harvest far fewer deer than during the 1990s. Why? One of the reasons is there are now fewer hunters.

If you walk into most deer hunting camps, you’ll quickly see the average age of a deer hunter isn’t exactly a young person. Over the years, younger folks have been trending to do different things with their available time. Maybe there isn’t anyone to mentor them or provide opportunities to practice shooting or teach hunting tactics. Our friends at the DNR have a great Hunt & Learn Program. For more information, visit

Non-profit groups like Truth In Nature, Legacy Outdoor Ministries, FCA Outdoors and 30-30 Ministries offer some great youth-oriented hunting opportunities, too. Google these groups and learn more.

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