Here’s every tip you need to make the most of your 2016-2017 season. Did we miss anything on this pre-season checklist? We’re all ears!
Buy Your Licenses
This is probably the easiest of these checklist items to forget. Despite that fact, it could also end up being the most costly if you get busted hunting without a license or waterfowl stamp.
Pattern Your Shotgun
Don’t be “that guy” that misses birds and then tries to claim he shot someone else’s. Grab a couple of different loads and pattern your gun, choke, and ammo combo to maximize your shots per bird.
Hone Your Shotgun Skills
It’s likely been six months or more since you’ve fired your shotgun. A few days at the local gun club shooting sporting clays will pay off dividends come opening day.
Once the season starts, your preferred waterfowl loads and shot size can be difficult to come by at the local sports goods store. Be sure to stock up before opening day.
Scout Your Hunting Grounds
Even the best of spots sometimes have slow days. Scout your standard hunting grounds in the days leading to the opener. If it doesn’t look like any birds are using the area, at least you have time to scramble and find another spot.
Renew Your Lease / Ask Permission for New Access
If you’re a private land hunter, don’t forget to pay your lease, do your chores for access, or whatever else you need to do to keep in the good graces of the land owner. Plus, don’t be afraid to knock on new doors: it never hurts to have too much access to good hunting grounds.
Clean and Prepare Your Decoys
It can be easy, after a long waterfowl season, to toss the decoys in the shed and forget about them until next year. As a result, a good majority could have moss, mud, or other unwanted muck on them. Be sure to get them out and give them a bath.
Prepare Your Boat/Marshrat
No one likes holding up the boat launch while you struggle to start the motor. Do your hunting partners and fellow boat launch users a favor by taking the time to get your boat hunting season ready!
Practice Your Calls
Keep your calls in your truck and practice while you’re stuck in traffic. This will ensure you don’t have any “What was that?!” moments on opening day.
Work Your Dog
We’ve all been around bird dogs that fail to follow commands, and it’s typically not the dog’s fault. Investing time in the off-season keeping your dog keen on his hunting commands will pay major dividends during the season.
Brush Your Blind
Save you and your hunting buddies time on opening morning by brushing your blind before the waterfowl season opener.
Check Your Waders For Leaks
There’s little worse than wading to set decoys and having that distinct feeling of cold water leaking into your waders.
Organize Your Hunting Clothes
Avoid being late to the designated meeting area because you couldn’t find the right base layer or socks. Get your hunting clothes organized at the latest the night before your hunt.
Organize Your Blind Bag
Be sure to replenish anything you depleted from your blind bag over the course of the 2015-2016 such as toilet paper, hand warmers, face paint, flashlight batteries, etc.
Review State Regulations
State regulations can change from year to year, it’s always a good idea to grab a copy of the regulations before the season.