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With weather that has been less than cooperative, you might find yourself staring at the boat in the garage, dreaming of being on the water more than actually doing it. Those rainy days are good for preparing yourself for the upcoming fall hunting season. Here is a quick checklist of things you can do to make sure you’re not scrambling on the Friday night before the opener to be ready.
1) GO SHOOT! While this depends a little on the weather as well, we did shoot clays recently in weather that we wouldn’t have gone fishing in.
2) CLEAN YOUR GUN. You may have wiped it down after the last hunt of the season, but now is a good time to really take your gun apart and get all the gunk out of the inside. Spend some time on it, or take it to a gunsmith and get it thoroughly cleaned. They have some really great tools at their disposal to get all the residue build up out of your firearm and keep it in optimal condition to prolong it’s lifespan.
3) CHECK YOUR BOW. Make sure your bow is in good shape. Check the string and get it restrung if it’s looking rough. The last thing you need is having a string break in the field and possibly causing an injury.
4) PRACTICE WITH YOUR BOW. Of course practice makes perfect. Even if you’re a veteran, it’s always good to practice or hit some 3D courses to stay fresh.
5) BUY AMMO. We’ve all been “that guy” who’s got to stop at the one gas station in town open before sunrise and hope they’ve got a box of 12 gauge shells. Or the one who whips into the sporting goods shop the week before opener looking for the 1550 FPS that everyone else has been buying up all summer. Get it now and have it ready to go. Go through your shell bag and put away any random shells that may still be hanging around.
6) EXERCISE. Staying in shape will keep you from needing to stop and rest during a pheasant walk this fall. Bring your dog so she’s ready to go as well. It will help burn off those extra winter pounds and let you keep up with your buddies in the field. Watch the heat if you bring the dog, but make sure she gets a workout in too.
7) WASH YOUR CLOTHES. Have you ever cleaned the garage on a summer day and found your duck hunting gloves behind the workbench? Somehow they fell off and now they’re covered in dust and who knows what else? Wash them and put them in your shell bag. In fact get all your clothes washed and packed or hanging in your closet next to each other so when it’s time to load up and go, they’re all clean and in one place.
8) TRAIN YOUR DOG. Even the old dogs can use a little refresher course over the summer. They start to take shortcuts as they get older (smarter?). I’ve been in the field with guys who swear their dog used to be the best, but make excuses here and there about why the dog didn’t bring the bird back to them. Sometimes dogs get excited and forget, but a lot of that can be avoided by finding the time to work with them over summer. Just like people who shoot skeet before the season starts, dogs need a tune up too.
9) SCOUT NEW LAND. Rainy days usually keep the farmers out of the fields. Use this time to inquire about land during the fall. Or go to your land and take a look around to see what’s changed this year or see what might be different about the land next to yours.
10) ORGANIZE, CLEAN AND FIX DECOYS. The last day of the season might have found you tossing the decoys into a bag or the corner of the garage, where they might still be sitting. Clean them off, fix any heads and untangle any line. Get them put away so that once the season is here, it’s just a grab and go!
Really this is just a way to enjoy a rainy summer day when you’d rather be fishing. I can’t wait for hunting season so anything I can do to bring it closer, works for me. Plus you’ll appreciate not having to do all these things last minute.
Find a shooting park nearby, join a sporting clays or trap league or go shoot 3D tournaments. That will keep you in shape for the upcoming hunting season. You don’t want an injury or some huffing and puffing from keeping you from your limit in October!