ISHPEMING - The opening day of firearm deer season is but three days way and for most hunters the excitement has been building. But before hunters pack up their equipment and head out to deer camp, some basic steps should be taken to ensure that the season is productive and safe.
For example, rifles should be bored, or sighted in. Having a rifle bored in takes little time and can get the weapon back to the manufacturers settings. Bore sighting involves removing the bolt of the rifle, looking down the barrel and lining it up with a target. The target is first centered in the barrel, and then the scope or iron sights are adjusted to match the view seen down the barrel.
Zach Quayle, a sales associate at Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming, said it should usually be done a month or no before the season starts.
Scopes have been a big sales item this deer season. Upgrading optics will improve the accuracy of your shot, but only if you sight in the scope properly prior to hunting. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Seen here at Gander Mountain is a popular portable propane heater to help keep your deer blind toasty warm. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Zach Quayle, sales associate at Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming, organizes a rack of red and black plaid jackets Wednesday afternoon. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
A wide variety of targets, like these found at Gander Mountain, can be purchased to help fine tune your rifle during sighting. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
"That way you aren't worrying about it and trying to get your rifle in at the last minute," he said. "You really want to have the rifle sighted in and good to go with the ammunition you are going to hunt with."
Ammunition differs according to brands, models, types and grains. Each bullet will fire somwwhat differently and could have an effect on the shot.
Remember to wear the clothing you plan on hunting with when sighting. The change in clothing structure and bulkiness can affect the accuracy of the shot.
Additionally, the hunter should be the one to sight in their own rifle.
"You don't want to have a friend sight in your rifle, without actually shooting it, too," Quayle said.
Like clothing, body structures and holding styles can impact the accuracy of your shot.
"Everyone is going to be a little bit different," he said.
For those last minute hunters that still need to sight in their rifles, the Negaunee Rod and Gun Club is offering sight-in days from 9 a.m. to dusk on Saturday and Sunday, for $5.
Every year, hunters turn to specific products that can help increase their chances of bagging their buck.
"Tink's No. 69 and Tink's Buck Bombs have been a pretty good sellers this year," he said.
Buck bombs are aerosol cans that can be set off and release the scent of a doe in rut.
On the opposite end of the scent spectrum, there are products that can be sprayed on clothing and around a hunter's blind designed to eliminate or mask human odors. Products like Wildlife Research and Scent Killer have been big sellers this season, he said.
Clothing is another big seller during deer season.
"I think they (hunters) are anticipating a cold winter deer season this year," he said.
"A lot of guys have been coming in for wool socks and, of course, the regular good old red and black plaid wool jackets."
Camouflage clothing items are also big sellers, as are hand and foot warmers, he said.
"I always keep some of the heat packets in my pockets to keep my hand warm so I don't have to have gloves on all the time," he said.
Another way to keep warm while in the blind is with a heater. These heaters are propane fueled products that can procude warmth for some time, depending on the size of the fuel tank.
Other products that hunters have been purchasing have been new scopes, packaged guns, ammunition and boots.
Andy Nelson-Zaleski can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 256. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.