A hunter’s pre-season checklist
Kevin Felts 09.18.13
As hunting season draws closer let’s take a few minutes to talk about a list of things hunters should be thinking about or doing.
Get in shape
For a lot of us, the only time we get physically active is when we walk to or from the stand. To make sure you have the endurance to carry your firearm and gear, assess your physical condition at least 6 – 8 weeks ahead of the start of hunting season.
Most men put off going to the doctor for as long as they can. Going to the doctor for a check up will help in your physical assessment.
Go to the local shooting range
Just as with out physical conditioning, we also need to maintain our shooting abilities.
A lot of hunters shoot their rifle a few weeks before season to make sure it is still sighted in. Then once they take their game, the firearm may get a light coat of gun oil, then back in the safe it goes for 12 months. This means a lot of hunters shoot their firearms only 2 or 3 times a year. The rest of the year the firearm is stored in a gun safe collecting dust.
Part of our duty as hunters is to make a humane kill. If you can not hit the broad side of a barn, the chances of wounding, rather than killing the animal goes way up.
Round up your gear
I don’t know about you, but some of my hunting gear is stored and forgotten about. Boots, parka, cold weather clothing, gloves, GPS, topo maps — all this stuff gets misplaced, or it gets stored and forgotten about.
Let’s not wait until the last minute to round our gear up and do a quality control check. Did your boots leak last year? Is there a tear in your parka that needed to be fixed?
Review your compass, map and GPS skills
So you have a GPS, but do you know how to use it? Do you have a topo map of where you hunt? If your GPS stopped working, could you navigate out of the woods with your compass and topo map?
Navigation is not something you “think” you know. Either you know it, or you don’t. If you use a GPS and/or compass to find your way to the stand, or back to the truck, pitch black darkness is not the time to be questioning your navigation skills.
Get your ATV serviced
Opening weekend is not the time to find out the ATV will not start.
How long has it been since the oil has been changed? What about the air filter — when was the last time it was changed? Have you checked the gear lube in the differentials lately? Brakes working ok? Does the radiator need anti-freeze?
ATV repair shops will be swamped before opening weekend. Get in early to make sure you can get the repairs your unit may need.
Round up the trail cameras
Where are your trail cameras at? Do you have batteries and memory cards for them? Do you remember how to set the cameras?
Using a trail camera will give you an idea of what kind of wildlife is visiting the area.
Personally, I like to set up a trail camera about two months before opening weekend. Then check the camera every week to every two weeks. About two weeks before opening weekend I will pick up the trail camera.
Some people leave their cameras out all season. However, I don’t like leaving my scent around the camera during peak rut.
Do you have a personal pre-season check list? If so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.