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Pre-Season Prep: 7 Steps for Success

Off-season prep to ensure a great opening day
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6. It's never too early to start scouting

You don't have to wait for the season's opening bell to start scouting for birds. In fact, a little time spent scouting in the off-season can save a lot of time come fall.

For New York hunter and Avery Pro-Staff member Mike Bard, a quick trip during the summer months to visit with farmers who typically allow him to hunt gives him an idea of what their plans are for the land. That information helps Bard make a plan of his own for fall.

"I like to know what crops are planted—whether beans, silage corn, picking corn, sweet corn, small grains, wheat, barley or alfalfa—and when they are likely to be taken out of the field," Bard says. "It gives me an idea as to when I should watch a farm or specific field within the season, based on weather conditions and the migration."

During his trips to visit with landowners, Bard also keeps tabs on the progress of locally hatched waterfowl, especially Canada geese. Based on past observations of where those birds will end up in late summer and into early fall Bard can narrow down which fields he should watch when the season opens in September.

"This is a big time and fuel saver," says Bard.

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