Preparation is Key: Getting Ready for Hunting Season
For forward-thinking hunters, mid- to late-summer is the time to start gearing up for hunting season. No matter your weapon of choice or your preferred bounty, hunting season kicks up in most places toward the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It usually lasts through the winter in many regions. Spend the next few weeks or months prepping for a fruitful hunting season so you can enjoy a full freezer and fewer hiccups once you get into the field.
Clean Your Weapons
Keeping your hunting equipment clean is crucial to ensuring accuracy and reliability when it matters the most (i.e. when you’ve got one shot to nab the buck of a lifetime). It’s especially important to give firearms some attention at the beginning and end of hunting season to ensure that they don’t develop any rust or permanent damage that could compromise performance. Give your rifle a deep clean, paying special attention to the bore to keep it shooting well.
Perform Routine Maintenance
In addition to a serious pre-season cleaning, your weaponry should get a good once-over before your first outing. Look for anything that’s broken, rusting or worn and address signs of wear and tear immediately. In many cases, you can repair your gear yourself. But if your firearm requires big adjustments, you may need to enlist a gun repair specialist.
Invest in a New Case
A high-quality, protective gun case can significantly prolong the life of your firearms. Swap your old, subpar case for an air-tight, water-tight case that protects your gear with a layer of foam and hard plastic. The same goes for your ammo case — you wouldn’t want to haul all your gear miles into the woods only to discover that your ammo has been ruined.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Get plenty of practice to ensure that your outing is enjoyable and as ethical as possible. The off-season should be dedicated to improving shooting accuracy, regardless of whether your weapon of choice is a rifle, a crossbow or a single-shot pistol. Practicing also helps condition the body to prevent fatigue. At the same time, it helps you get to know your weapon for fewer snafus out in the field.
Brush Up on Laws
Hunting laws are subject to change, and they do change often. Be sure to check with your state’s department of natural resources to get specifics on the dates and laws associated with hunting season. Pay close attention to bag limits, reporting requirements, weapon regulations, permit requirements and other important rules and regulations. Remember, laws tend to change from season to season.
Prepare Your Land
If you have private land, the summer is a great time to get it ready for hunting in the fall and winter. Consider putting up your trail cams well before the season starts to ensure that you have plenty of data into how animals behave in your hunting area. You can also do a bit of land management to attract your species of choice, like cultivating rich food plots. Spend time taming your land, creating paths and cutting back brush so you can get around.
Study Maps— Spending the off-season finding the best places to hunt can lead to a much more fruitful and enjoyable season. One great thing to do while you’re prepping for the season is to download and vet various mapping apps. There are several unique GPS apps specifically for hunters. These hunting apps detail important factors such as coordinates, waypoints, public land boundaries, roads, trails and more. Make sure to choose a program or app that allows you to download and access maps without cell service. You never know when you’ll find yourself off the grid.
Get Prepped for a Prosperous Season
As with any sport or activity, a little bit of preparation goes a long way when hunting. Periodic practice and a little bit of maintenance can help ensure that this year is your best year yet.