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Prepping for The Upcoming Hunting Season

With hunting season winding down for the spring, it’s already time to begin preparing for the next season. 

If you’re like me, the outdoors are always on your mind, and you’re constantly searching for ways to gain a slight advantage over the animals the next time you’re in the field.

This article will discuss the five critical things you must do to prepare for the next hunting season. This will empower you to feel accomplished and ready, whether you’re a waterfowl, big game, or small game hunter.

#1. Stay In Shape

I’ll never forget the season I realized how important staying in decent shape was for a successful trip. 

A couple of buddies and I walked ½ a mile through a marsh during an early-season teal hunt. For work, I sat in the cab of a tractor for 10 hours a day and then went home to sit on the couch for another couple of hours before going to bed. 

So even though it was only ½ a mile, the extra weight from decoys, my blind bag, and shotgun was more than I could bear. I made it to our spot, gasping for air, vowing never to let that happen again. 

I now workout regularly by lifting weights, walking, playing disc golf, and coaching youth wrestling. I’m no gym bro or fitness fanatic, but I feel a lot better now that I’m more active than I was the first few years out of college. Those long early morning walks through the woods or marshes no longer torture my legs and lungs.

Hunter aiming

#2. Keeping Your Skills Sharp

When I first learned to blow a duck call, I kept a call in my vehicle next to my tactical pen to practice while driving down the road. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the safest idea, but I live in a small town and have never had an accident while practicing. 

Not only did I go from sounding like Daffy Duck to sounding like a real duck in a single summer, but I also kept my lungs prepared to blow a duck call when duck season came around.

 One of the best things I’ve ever done to help keep my shooting skills sharp was to build a shooting range on the backside of my property. Now, I understand not everyone can make a private gun range, but we all can get off the couch, grab our gun out of the safe or off of the gun wall, and head to our local gun or bow range to punch holes in paper or ring some steel targets so our shooting skills stay sharp. For those rainy days, cool devices like dry-fire laser trainers or the AccuBow allow you to save time and money by safely practicing in your home.

These are just two of the many skills we must keep sharp as hunters. I also love hiking and trying to identify local wildlife, so my eyes stay accustomed to searching for and finding prey. Plus, the hikes help keep me in shape! Even if you live in the city, you can walk and look for wildlife while your CCW is holstered to your hip at your local park.

#3. Keep Scouting

Most hunters stop scouting once the season ends, which is a costly mistake. As an outdoorsman, I pride myself on understanding animal behavior, and this has helped me in the field more times than I can count. Scouting is first-hand observation of animal behavior, and it will help you better understand why an animal is doing what it’s doing and what it might do next so you can get one step ahead of it and have a successful hunt. 

Another reason to scout is to find new areas to hunt. I don’t know how often I’ve stumbled upon a new spot to hunt just because I’m always in scout mode. I might notice a deer on public land where I know others can’t or won’t hunt, or I see a group of ducks on a private pond, and I can pull up OnX maps to get the landowner’s information to ask permission.

Scouting doesn’t have to be fancy. I often scout while driving down the road, hiking, camping, shed hunting, or engaging in other outdoor activities with my family.

Hunting rifle

#4. Clean & Fix Your Gear

The offseason is the time to get all your gear out, clean it, and fix anything that might be broken. I learned this the hard way one season when I stepped into the cold water with my waders and felt a leak trickling down my leg and filling my boot. I was miserable the rest of the hunt and while walking back to the truck. 

On another duck hunt, I had forgotten to clean my semi-auto shotgun before the hunt, and it refused to cycle my shells, which made for a very frustrating rest of the day. Lastly, I currently own a shotgun with the choke stuck in the barrel because I didn’t take it apart and thoroughly clean it during the offseason one year. So, the choke is now rusted in place… Thank goodness it’s the size of choke I typically use!

#5. Purchase New Gear

Once you go through all your gear, you should notice some items that are broken beyond repair or realize you need some gear you don’t currently own. This is an excellent time of year to begin replacing and purchasing new gear because retailers often run specials, so you can get excellent discounts on everything you need. 

On my phone, I also keep a running checklist of things I need during the season. Otherwise, I would forget the gear I needed on each hunt and kick myself for not buying it before the season started and the sales ended. 

Parting Shots

Now that you know 5 of the most critical steps to take during this offseason, there’s only one thing left to do: begin checking them off of your list! 

I know these steps will help you because they’ve helped me throughout my years of hunting waterfowl, deer, elk, and small game animals.

Remember, the season never ends for serious outdoorsmen and women!

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