It sometimes feels like off-season is just a matter of staring at the calendar until you’re allowed to head back out again, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The off-season is the ideal time to make sure that your hunting gear is going to be ready to use when the season rolls back around again. Success in hunting is all about being prepared, and that makes off-season an essential time of year. Hunters have a lot of gear to look after, and it needs to be looked after and prepared in the right way. Here’s what you should be doing instead of staring angrily at your calendar.
Scent control is vital, and the off-season is when you should be checking and washing all of your gear from last season. You want to use a good detergent, but remember that different items of clothing will have different care needs. Check the Merino Wool Care Guide to make sure that you’re not ruining the effectiveness and protection of your best winter-wear. Remember that camo-gear will hold its colors better if you wash them inside out and that every item of clothing needs to be 100% dry before you put it into storage. Damp, musky clothing will not add to the positive experience of a new hunting season.
Your sights, rangefinders, and binoculars all need to be stored away when not in use, and they should be kept somewhere safe that’s also moisture-free. Before putting them away, give them a thorough clean. This will usually mean using an air compressor to get rid of dirt and debris and then wiping down with an optics brush or cloth. If you just try to wipe down your optics without cleaning them first, then you risk scratching the lenses, and that’s going to be an enormous frustration when you head out.
Your tree stand, blinds, and camping gear also need to be taken apart, cleaned, repaired, and then packed away. This can be a big job, so make sure that you set aside enough time to get it done right. Blinds especially can take a lot of looking after, and you must make sure that your stands and blinds are completely dry before you pack them away. Although most blinds used today are made of poly-fabrics, keeping them dry is essential, and more so if you’re still using a canvas blind. Build your blind or tree stand during the off-season and let it dry out completely, and it will be more ready to use once the season starts again.
Keeping your guns and ammo clean and fresh is often the only form of maintenance that many hunters commit to. While gun maintenance is, of course, essential, you should never overlook the importance of making sure that every item of hunting kit gets some TLC during the off-season. Hunting is all about preparation, and the more that you prepare in the off-season, the quicker you’ll be able to get to the fun when the season opens again.
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