Monday, January 21, 2008

Deer Hunting Season Is Over, Now What?

© By Othmar Vohringer

It’s almost the end of January and hunting seasons in North America are almost finished or soon will be. What is there to do now?

Well there are a few things you can and should do that will ensure a successful and safe hunting season for next fall.

Right after the hunting season ends is a good time to be out and do your post-season scouting. Scouting at this time of year is especially advised if you’re looking at a new hunting property or on public land. In the winter the land is barren and the structures and deer trails can be clearly seen. On public land you can still see what the other hunters had been up to and of course the deer will still be doing what they were doing before the season closed.

This is invaluable information come next hunting season when the deer will start to feel the pressure but, given human nature, hunters will do the same things they did last season and so will the deer. You do not have to worry about spooking deer as they will have forgotten your intrusion by next fall. Do it right and all you will have to do in the pre season scouting is to check up on a few food sources and fine tune your stand location(s). Post-season scouting is underrated and yet is probably one of the most important scouting trips. All successful deer hunters scout right after the hunting season and so should you.

It is advisable to pull all your stands, climbing sticks and screw-in-tree-steps. It simply isn’t safe to leave them in the woods until next season. Before you store these items away for the year check all the equipment for wear and tear. Replace worn parts such as chains, cables, and nuts and bolts with the manufacturer’s recommended parts. Wash the stands and paint them if needed and lubricate all moving parts then cover them up and store them in a dry place like a garage or shed.

When you hang the bow or firearm up for the year check it for wear and tear. Replace bowstrings and cables if they shown signs of damage and clean bows and guns thoroughly, then apply oil with a cloth and wax the bowstring. Store firearms in a gun cabinet or in a gun case and bows in a dedicated bow case in a dry environment. On compound bows and crossbows loosen the limbs a bit so the string can relax. Caution: before you maintain your firearms and bows consult the owners manual and strictly follow the recommendation or bring the gun and bow to a licensed repair shop.

Of course if you’re like me and shoot your rifles, guns and bows all year round to stay in good shooting form then you need not store them away. Just make sure you maintain and clean guns and bows regularly.

Nobody really bothers about game calls, but believe me, they too need to be cleaned. Worn parts such as reeds need to be replaced to make sure that they sound as well as they should in the coming hunting season.

I never wear camouflage clothing and hunting boots unless I am out hunting so my camouflage and boots will be stored away too until the spring turkey season. I hand wash all my camouflage clothing in luke warm water and turned inside out to protect the camouflage print. As detergent I use mild dish soap since most laundry detergents are to abrasive on the camouflage pattern, especially the ones that contain any form of baking soda. To dry camouflage I hang it onto a washing line. Then I fold pants, shirts, socks, jackets and parkas neatly and store them in the wardrobe or in Rubbermaid boxes. The hunting boots get a good cleaning with warm water and a mild soap and when they are dry I treat them with a waterproofing and leather-preserving product before I store them away in the shoe closet. To some this might seem a bit like overkill but I have camouflage clothing and boots that are over ten years old and they still look like new.

The reliability and safety of your hunting equipment is directly related to how well you take care of it and maintain it.

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Anonymous said...

This is such a good post. It seems that I read at least one story every year about someone who was injured because they didn't take the time to properly maintain their equipment. I hope the hunters who read this post take it to heart.

Marc - Editor, NYBOWHUNTER.COM said...

Great post Othmar. Hunting season may be over, but that doesn't mean its time for us to stop thinking about hunting or too early to start thinking about next season.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Kristine – At times I am horrified when I see how some hunters store their treestands without ever checking them for wear and tear. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

Marc – You’re are so right with your comment.


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