The time is now to start getting your gear ready for next season.
While late hunting seasons may still be going on in many parts of the country, for others most big game hunting seasons have finally ended. Now what?
Well, you could get your ice fishing gear ready. Or you could get some new gear and begin prepping for next season.
It may seem early to buy some new gear, but this is the time of year to find some deals.
We know, your credit card is still recovering from the stress of all that holiday shopping. But here is why you should be out bargain hunting and some things to take into consideration in your shopping for next season.
The great thing about this time of year is that the big box stores like Walmart or (if you're in the Midwest like me) Meijer start putting their hunting equipment on clearance pretty much as soon as the season ends. Some dedicated hunting stores will have clearances too, although there may be fewer deals to be had. But if you're persistent enough, you can get some good hunting stuff at a bargain basement price.
Ladder stands, game calls, shooting sticks, blaze orange hunting apparel, multi-tools, hunting blinds, game feeders, decoys, and scent control products all get marked down by these stores. A few years back I got a 15-foot ladder stand for just $30 at the end of January.
Maybe you need a new pair of hunting boots or some field dressing gear like a new hunting knife. Those are usually available for pretty cheap too. Sometimes you can pick up cheap air rifles, arrow rests, assorted gun parts, or other hunting accessories. It really depends on the store you are visiting.
If it's been a warm winter, you might be able to pick up some cheap base layers for the next time you go hunting in a blizzard.
There are some pieces of hunting gear you may not even have to wait for next season to use. Find some cheap game cameras? Get them in the woods right away to see what survived the season. Maybe before you put away your firearms in the gun storage unit you can try to find some new rifle scopes that will up your success next season.
Whatever you're looking for, you might be surprised to find top brands like Nikon, Browning, Bushnell, Scentlok, Under Armour, Sitka, and more. This is an especially good time of year to look for new hunting clothing. Why pay more prior to next season?
The only thing we'd recommend staying away from is deer attractant scents like doe and buck urine. Sure, that stuff is SUPER cheap right now. But it is also likely to not be very effective a year from now when the next rut is kicking in.
That being said, I often buy long-lasting scent control products for hunting clothes this time of year, especially shampoo, soaps, and laundry detergent. This stuff, especially the detergent, is super expensive before the season and I've probably saved hundreds every year from digging into the clearance sales and then saving it in the closet for next season.
Review your season
Now is the time to think back to the past hunting season. Maybe there is a new spot you want to monitor, but all your trail cameras are being used elsewhere. It may be time to pick up a new one.
Maybe there is a specific tree you noticed all the big bucks walking past out of range during the season, but you don't have a treestand to fit it. Now is the time to think about finding a new setup that will fit that tree.
Is your compound bow getting too old? It might not be a bad idea to think about upgrading now. That way you've got a full year to tweak your new setup to your liking and get in plenty of practice to get comfortable shooting it. The same goes for a brand new firearm. I personally have been thinking about getting a .450 Bushmaster rifle for some time now, and I'm liking what I'm seeing lately.
Whatever you get, the earlier you get your new weapon ready, the more you will thank yourself as the season approaches.
Really the only downside to buying new equipment early is sometimes these are closeouts of old products as stores get ready for new arrivals of the latest and greatest stuff. But if you're like me, you can live with a 10 megapixel trail camera on clearance over the newer, more expensive 12 megapixel model as long as the prices are right.
Better prepared for the 2019 season
We know the 2019 seasons seem a long way off. But let's face it, they'll be here before we know it. Shopping now means you'll be better prepared in the chaos before the seasons start.
Maybe there is a specific piece of hunting equipment you need, but didn't think of it until this last season started. It may be something simple and easily forgettable like a new pair of gloves or binoculars. Don't wait until next season to buy a new one.
If you're like me, you'll easily forget over the summer months and won't remember until you're walking to your stand for the first time next season.
This year was one of the first seasons where I was completely prepared prior to the season, and it eased a lot of stress in finding time to shop for hunting stuff while fulfilling all my other obligations for the year. I literally just had to go and buy a hunting license. That was it.
When you're better prepared for the season nearly a year in advance, it also gives you more confidence heading into the woods. Better confidence means you can sit longer when the next season arrives. The longer you sit, the better your odds of bagging that big buck!