Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Mouse proof your stored hunting gear to avoid surprises

Kristen Monroe found that her favorite pair of hunting boots had been chewed up by a mouse when she opened a plastic storage container to grab some cold-weather gear to use in a muskie tournament. Photo by Kristen MontroeKristen MonroePacking Sterilites to their maximum capacity is a regular routine for me after hunting season. Outerwear, gloves, hats and boots – it all gets packed away in plastic totes. Then, in a separate container, I put my rangefinder, game calls and other miscellaneous items. The lids are carefully shut until the start of the new season. Typically my hunting clothes bins are opened for the first time when I'm ready to do a scent-free washing in preparation for the bowhunting season. But this time I opened the containers because I needed warm attire for a muskie tournament in Iron County. The Mercer Muskie Madness Challenge (MMMC) doubles as a fundraiser for The Wounded Warriors. But this is not a story about the tournament. It involves something much smaller than that event.

I cracked the lid to the first plastic bin and gasp! What’s that? Something had chewed 3 inches off the top of my knee-high rubber hunting boot. Apparently I hadn’t closed the lid as tightly as I had thought. My anger quickly turned to disgust. I actually felt a little nauseated as I turned my favorite boot upside down to see little pieces of insulation and cat food spill onto the floor. I felt horrified. Unfortunately, being at the top of the container and already finding a mouse nest in my boot, lead me to believe I might find more on my way to the bottom of the container. Normally, I take each and every item out piece-by-piece. After many nerve-wracking minutes, I finally built the courage to check the entire container. I dumped it onto my cold garage floor and prepared myself for the worst. I expected to find the furry culprit that ruined my boot, which I had deleterious plans for. Only I found nothing, just one empty mouse nest. In other areas of the country people worry about finding scorpions. At least I’m not them. My mom once got blood poisoning after being bitten by a spider hidden in her gardening glove.

Don’t be sloppy when packing away gear at the end of the season, or you just might have a lousy surprise like I did. Then be sure to check gloves and footwear for uninvited guests.The good news? My partner Josh Lantz and I took first place in the MMMC tournament. Now I can buy some new boots, or at least some duct tape to fix the pair that a mouse chewed up.

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