Hopefully you’re about done mourning the end of deer season and have turned your attention to small game or turkey season. Before you switch gears both mentally and literally, it is very important to take care of your deer hunting equipment. While firearm care is usually the first thought, it’s important to remember to put as much care into your camo and calls.
We don’t want you to forget anything, so here’s a printable checklist:
Caring for your deer hunting firearm is a great way to start preparing for next season. Even if you clean it after every hunt, walking through the woods, brushing up against wet leaves in the morning, and a successful hunting season will leave it needing a deep clean before storage. . Start by stripping it completely down and oiling all of the metal and moving components. Make sure you also follow any manufacturer’s recommendations. You should also wipe down the stock and outside of the barrel to keep it from surface rusting. It might look clean, but the oils from your hands can lead to rust spots after your rifle or shotgun has been in the safe for a couple months. Make sure to store your firearm away from extreme heat, cold, or moisture to prevent warping.
Scope lenses should also be cleaned and the protective cap put on to prevent scratches. Ammunition should always be stored in a separate area away from your firearm for safety.
Always store your bow in a case to keep it from being damaged during storage. It’s also recommended to wax the string before storage to keep it in good condition. Make sure to store your bow in an area away from extreme heat, cold, or moisture. Wipe down all equipment.
Wash your gear inside out using scent free laundry detergent with no UV brighteners. Let everything air dry to prevent fading and other odors from getting into the fabric. It’s best to store your clothes in vacuum bags to keep out unwanted odors and leave your gear smelling natural. You can also store it in large plastic bins or anywhere else that will keep it scent free and out of the way. Your boots are also important! Now is a great time to apply new waterproofing treatments and let them cure. Clean off any dirt or mud to prevent dry rotting and replace your insoles for a more comfortable experience next year.
Make sure to remove all batteries from any trail cameras, GPS units, range finders, or flashlights you don’t plan on using. This will keep them from corroding your equipment during storage.
Take apart your calls and wash the reeds and housing pieces. Let them air dry completely to avoid any bacteria build-up in the off season.
Now’s a great time to inspect your stand and harnesses for any wear and tear. There’s nothing worse than realizing at the start of the season you need to replace something. You can also take advantage of end of the year sales by catching repairs early!