Every hunting season, avid hunters from across the country head to the woods in search of the big game. Some of these individuals spend thousands of dollars traveling to distant lands just so they can find species not found in their locale.
While most hunters succeed in their hunting, others don’t. The latter group ends up going home empty-handed, unable to shoot a single animal. They then look for lame excuses to explain their unproductive expeditions. Common reasons include having a lousy guide or the lack of animals. While either of these reasons could be true, often, their failure in hunting starts before they even leave their homes. How? Well, failing to organize and store hunting equipment properly is one of the main culprits for unsuccessful hunting. If you embark on your hunting trip with gear smelling of human sweat, washing detergents and other contaminants, that deer will detect your presence miles away.
When organizing your hunting tools during an off-season, you should pay as much attention as you would if you were planning an actual trip. Here is a guide on how to store hunting equipment.
For starters, you should take all your hunting clothing and turn it inside out. Doing so prevents the camo patterns from fading. Considering that most hunters do a bit of deer hunting where scent-control is an important factor, one should only use scent-free laundry detergents like Hunter’s Specialties Scent-Away. If you are on a shoestring budget, there are cheaper solutions like baking soda. Baking soda is able to absorb all odors on your hunting clothes and not leave any flowery scent behind. After washing, put the clothes in a dryer fitted with scent-eliminating dryer sheets. Alternatively, you can air dry them outside.
Once dry, you shouldn’t store them alongside your regular clothes. Look for a scent-free bag or plastic tote and store in an area that’s not prone to gas odors. The ideal storage area shouldn’t be vulnerable to pest infestation either. You can add in a few natural-smelling scent wafers, pine needles or cedar chips to the clothes and hunting boots. This way, they will be encased in natural smells throughout their storage duration. If you use plastic needles or cedar chips, remember to put them in plastic bags with tiny holes punched in them to prevent them from getting into clothing.
When the next hunting season comes you should be ready to leave at any time. To be well-prepared, consider organizing the clothing into attire that you can quickly pack and haul when you have an impromptu trip. For example, you can set aside light clothing to use in the early part of the hunting season and warmer clothing for later in the season.
If there are some outfits that are torn or worn-out, replace or repair them. Also, evaluate the extent of fading on your camo. Faded camo can sometimes look whitish and this can give away your presence rather than keeping you hidden. If you have such camo, toss it away and replace with new outfits. This might also be a good time to list items that you need for your next hunting season. Have you outgrown some of the clothes? Look for bigger sizes or cut back on your weight during spring and summer. Is there something that leaked that wasn’t supposed to? Then this is the best time to replace it. The off-season is the best time to buy new hunting gear as they are cheaper than when the season is about to commence.
If you’re like most hunters, then you usually store your rifle or shotgun in your gun locker before cleaning them. Perhaps, you had every intention of cleaning your firearm when you got home, but then you got so busy that you forgot. But this should not be the case. It’s important that you examine the state of all your firearms before storing them away. Break them down and clean all the working parts including the barrels.
If there’s residue or foul in the bore of the rifle, use a small amount of bore solvent to clean. Try as much as possible not to hit the rifle or muzzle with your cleaning rod. Another trick you can employ if the barrel has excessive fouling up is to take the gun out and shoot a couple of times before embarking on the cleaning. Doing so enables the pores of the barrel to expand; thus, easing the cleaning. After removing all the grit and dirt from the firearm, apply a light coat of oil on all the surfaces of the rifle. Avoid using too much oil since this will only attract more dirt. Plus, it can gum up when you try using the rifle in cold season.
The next step is finding the right place to store your clean firearms. The best storage area is one that is humidity-and temperature controlled. If you cannot find such a place, be sure to put a bucket of DampRid or other desiccant alongside the guns. The purpose of these is to absorb moisture from the air in your gun locker.
Moreover, it’s not advisable to store your guns barrel down for a long duration. This is because the weight of the gun can cause the metal to warp over time. If you see cracks or pits in the muzzle as you’re cleaning, or experienced misfires and jamming while hunting, you should consult a gunsmith. You don’t need to wait until the next hunting season begins to get your firearm checked out.
Clothing and firearms are the core hunting gear, but there are other accessories you use when hunting. For instance, your hunting boots should also be stored properly. Wipe and clean them thoroughly to remove debris. As with your hunting clothes, find a scent-free area to store them. Do not expose them to too much heat to avoid weakening the sealed seams. It’s also advisable to replace the insoles. It’s likely that your insoles are harboring bacteria and moisture, which can be detrimental to your health.
If your boots leaked during your hunting adventure, this might be a good time to replace them. But if you’re hesitant about parting with them, then consider applying a waterproofing treatment like fabric protector or beeswax. Be sure to test them before you hit the road again.
Apart from your hunting boots, you also need to check your electronics. Is your walkie talkie working effectively? Do you need to charge your flashlight? What about your camera? If all the electronics are in good working order, remove their batteries before storing them. This step is important because it ensures that the batteries don’t leak or corrode in the battery compartment. Any optics will need to be wiped and cleaned gently, then stored in soft storage units to prevent scratching. As for the knives, remember to sharpen them so that they are ready to use when the need arises.
Latex diaphragm and tube calls have a tendency to retain moisture from your mouth. This means that they can serve as breeding grounds for a ton of bacteria. To avoid this, rinse them with cool water and give them ample time to air dry before storing them.
Before we get to the organizing equipment, you’ll need to designate a specific space to store all your hunting equipment. This is particularly so for individuals who are part of outdoorsy families. If you have one or two family members who goes fishing or hiking, you should dedicate at least one room for storage.
You can use your garage or a room that is rarely utilized in the home. If you can’t find space in either of these areas, you might have to buy an outdoor shed. This shed should be set up in a safe place or covered with tarp for safety purposes. If you’ll be keeping your firearms in this shed as well, remember to lock up.
A majority of these outdoor sheds come with inside racks where you can organize all your hunting tools. But if the shed lacks organizing compartments, here are some options to consider:
Look for a shelving system that is sturdy and spacious enough to accommodate most of your hunting equipment. Whenever possible, go for heavy-duty metallic storage shelves as they can hold a considerable amount of weight. Plus, these storage units are easy to maintain. Also, opt for open shelving or bookcases that make it easier to stack items.
This is the most common way of storing hunting equipment. Given that they come in a variety of sizes, you can store tools of the same size in one box. This way, it’s easy to access them. And since all the boxes are clear, you will be able to see what items you packed in a particular box.
If you are keeping the hunting equipment in your home, a storage bin is another item that can keep your items organized. Plus, it looks more attractive than the plain boxes. On the flipside, it’s not easy to view the tools stored in a particular storage bin. To overcome this hurdle, remember to label every bin, indicating the contents stored inside.
Even though your hunting expedition only lasts for one weekend, what happens during the off-season can significantly affect the results of your hunt. Store your hunting equipment properly and they won’t disappoint when you need to use them. Clean your clothes and hunting boots then keep them in scent-free areas. As for your firearms, double-check to confirm that they are working properly; if they aren’t, take them to a gunsmith. If you have electronics, remove batteries before storing them to prevent leaking and corrosion.