Time to prep and practice for gun season
Something to remember and heed for Ohio’s upcoming gun-deer season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6: Preparation and practice means good performance in the field.
In a recent blog, I outlined the need for properly sighting in your firearm of choice, including making sure that the bases and rings for any optics are snugged tight. Assuming that you have accomplished that critical task, itself a confidence builder, move on to other also-important preps.
Topping my to-do list is making sure that the edge on my field knife is perfectly honed. A dull knife not only is the hard way to field dressing, but also is a good way to cut yourself because of having to force any cuts in the deer carcass. I pack a small folding saw with fine “hacksaw” blade for sawing open the rib cage and sawing through the pelvic bone for field dressing. Yes, a heavy knife will get the job done, but so-doing increases chances of injury from forcing blade through bone.
Take your pick on blade-sharpening kits; most of them work well if you follow directions. With a kit, the jig-system assures you put a uniformly sharp edge on each side of the blade. By all means, avoid a powered grinding wheel. Such powered units create far too much heat in the blade, often enough to take the temper out of the blade and even warp the edge. Yes, they will sharpen, but the edge will quickly grow dull because the steel has lost its hardness-temper. Take the time to do it right.
With firearm and knife attended to, start packing. Top of list – ammo. Believe it or not, several times in my 50 years of hunting-camp experience, one or another hunter has shown up with no ammunition. So, pack extra rounds and be sure.
Other must-items to pack, for me, include, in no particular order: Rain gear, gloves (including extras), latex gloves for field dressing; extra layers of long underwear and fleece (the weather forecast never is right); a collapsible lightweight three-legged seat, a low-profile “turkey-hunter” web seat (which give you a lower profile when backed up against a tree but keeps you off the cold ground); a seat pad; drag rope; license and deer permits, headlamp and small flashlight with fresh batteries and extra batteries; water bottle and jugs of water (hunting dehydrated makes you cold). Extra boots, including rubber knee-length Wellies for wet weather. A police whistle for emergencies – they can be heard much better at distance than shouts for helps. Pocket forest-aid kit.
I find I can put most items in my hunting vest (except the clothing and boots, obviously). But I also have used a small daypack instead. A set of trekking poles also helps me up and especially down steep slopes; that may not matter when you are 42 but it sure does at 72.
Of course there is more, like camp grub and field snacks as needed. You know the drill. But most the foregoing items are cannot-do-without things in my book. Don’t wait till an hour before leaving camp to prep. Your buddies may not have your caliber or gauge of ammo.