For some of us, hunting really is a year-round pursuit. We spend the spring and summer setting up trail cameras, scouting for new places to hunt, reading tips and hunting strategies online, scouting our old territories to see how deer are behaving, repairing treestands and blinds – or building new ones – and shopping for all the new hunting gear we will get to use for only about a week come autumn time.
For others, however, hunting is only contained to hunting season every fall. These people are as diligent and thorough as any other hunter during the fall, making sure their license is validated and that their gear is ready to go. They devote themselves to the deer hunting pursuit from opening day to the end of the season, and they may even score as many solid kills as the rest of us. However, once hunting season is over, these people are ready to hang up their guns, put their gear in storage, and not worry about hunting again for the better part of a year.
We fully respect every hunter, both the passionate die-hards and the more leisurely hobbyists. However, for neither party should hunting season end the moment guns or bows are no longer allowed in the woods.
Every hunter, no matter his or her level of dedication, should have a fair level of homework to complete in the post-season months every year. The die-hard, year-round hunting enthusiasts live for this stuff, from reviewing their hunting season diary and trying to figure out where they went right or wrong to chatting with buddies about which strategies worked for them this year. However, even the more casual hunters among us need to take a day to attend to a few things that will assure that next season starts off without a hitch.
The most important piece of post season homework that a hunter can complete is the maintenance of his or her gear, and by “maintenance,” we don’t just mean cleaning your rifle, unstringing your bow, or giving your hunting clothes a long overdue wash. While all of those steps are important to take, too many hunters stop once they are completed.
Another monumentally important step is to remove batteries from all of your tech equipment, from trail cameras to hunting radios, and from flashlights to rangefinders or binoculars. Dead or near-dead batteries aren’t going to do you any good next hunting season, but they might leak acid if you leave them in your devices, and acid can ruin gear. Unless you were using relatively fresh batteries in your equipment, recycle them and plan to buy new ones next year. Even if the batteries in your rangefinder are new, take them out and put them back in the box. It is better to be safe than sorry, and you will definitely be sorry if you let leaking battery acid ruin a piece of gear that cost you hundreds of dollars.
The post hunting season stage is also the best time to repair or replace any gear that is beginning to wear or is already worn down. Holes, popped seams, fraying fabrics, separating sole on your boots: they all need to be repaired, and now is the best time to do it. Right now, hunting season has just finished (or is about to) and you know what needs to be repaired or replaced. You could forget all of that information over the next 10 or 11 months, so get everything fixed and ready to go right now.
That way, you won’t have anything but your license to worry about next fall.