End-of-deer-season duties set the stage for next fall

Hunting season is over, at least for me, and I’ve got one more thing to do.

I’ve concluded that hunting deer from the first of October to almost the middle of December is enough for this old body, so now putting my hunting stuff away until next year becomes job number one. Someone said as you get older you get wiser, so now when it comes to storing my hunting equipment I’ve devised a checklist that makes it so much easier to get going the next season.

Like a lot of other hunters, I have various electronic items that include two high-intensity flashlights I use for tracking, a headlamp in case I have to field dress an animal in the dark, several trail cameras, and a rangefinder that all take batteries. I’ve found out the hard way that leaving batteries in any electronic device until the following hunting season is bad business because batteries corrode and can ruin an expensive camera, rangefinder and just about anything else. To prevent this from happening, I religiously remove the batteries from all of them and test the used batteries on a small battery tester. If they’re good – and most are – I put them aside and use them throughout the year as the need comes up.

Next, I wash my hunting clothing, but I’m sure to use a non-scented, ultraviolet-free laundry detergent. Most household laundry detergents contain fragrance and color brighteners that can cause you to smell like a flower and make you glow like a firefly. A laundry detergent made specifically for washing hunting apparel is the key to odorless, glow-free hunting clothing. Look for it online or at almost any store selling sporting goods.

After my clothes are washed I store them in a zippered storage bag to keep them free from household odors that can permeate unprotected clothing over the spring and summer months.

Before putting away my treestands and climbing sticks, I carefully go over all the straps that hold them in place. I do the same with my safety harness, and if a strap shows any sign of wear or weathering I replace it before storing the stand or step for the year. By doing so in December I won’t neglect or forget to replace it come next October. Safety is my number one priority because I don’t want to suffer a serious fall because of something I could have prevented. If you do decide to replace any worn or damaged equipment, now is the time to do it because retailers often discount hunting equipment after the season ends.

Finally, I’ve learned to keep things in one place so that I’m not searching for things I need before next deer season opens. For example, I keep everything I need for archery season in one large, heavy plastic bag. My lights, knife, belt, suspenders, gloves, deer calls, deer drag, rope, chemical hand warmers and other accessories are all in one place ready to go come October.

When the end of September nears, I find it’s a good feeling knowing where everything I need for the upcoming season is located and that I can get ready without forgetting anything.

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