Hunting gear is not cheap. Every hunter knows that full well. I could have bought a gun, clothes, and a treestand for what I’m paying just to get my hands on a decent hunting coat.
I was not an Eagle Scout. My dad, however, was an Eagle Scout and thus it is fitting that the Scout motto, “Be Prepared” made its way down to me. My dad did not just tell me to take care of my hunting gear, he modeled it for me.
I watched my dad time and time again wash our boat off after a long day on the lake, when I know he’d far rather have been inside resting. I watched him clean our guns if it rained on a hunt when most guys would put it off until tomorrow.
Hunting gear is very expensive today. The good news is that much of today’s hunting gear is very well made. When it comes to clothing, the technology in hunting gear is better than ever. Decoys are better, treestands are better, duck calls are better, pretty much everything is better, yet there are no free lunches. Today’s hunting gear hurts a man’s wallet more than any other time in history.
This means you have to take care of your hunting gear if you want it to last. Here are a few tips that might help you winterize your gear so that you're prepared next year.
1) Clean Your Hunting Gear Immediately When The Season Is Over
This doesn’t have to be a buzzkill. You know you need to do it, so make use of the opportunity. At the end of every turkey and duck season, I make both of my boys, Cole and Tucker, help me clean and store our hunting gear. It is a super way of teaching them responsibility and caring for things that cost money.
Seriously, in today’s world, anything you can do to teach a kid that entitlement is their worst enemy, well that’s a good thing. I want my boys to know that they are not entitled to what I provide, and therefore they must work to keep it in order.
If you wait too long, you not only give your gear a chance to rust, but it’ll hang over your head. In fact, on the last hunt of the season, I force myself to clean everything right then. It takes about 2 hours, but it's over and done. So, my rule is: get on it now and get it out of the way
2) Don’t Just Clean Your Gear, Treat It If You Can
Some hunting gear just needs to be wiped off and stored. When you can, however, treat gear that can stand it.
You can take Armor All and wipe down the boots on your waders. It preserves the rubber in them far better in the long run. If you can, store your waders at room temperature instead of the tool shed. Waders that are stored in room temp can last up to twice as long according to some research I’ve studied.
The same is true with your shotgun. My Mossberg guns are important to me. I want my grandkids to kill ducks with my guns someday, and if that’s going to happen, I have to take care of them now. Here's a really short video on an inexpensive, creative, DIY travel gun kit that will keep your winterizing gun work to a minimum.
If you’re not completely savvy on how to break down a 930 or your Mossberg 500, don't be proud. The Scriptures say pride comes "before the fall." Don't let yourself be the reason your gun fails the next time you pull the trigger. Take it to a gunsmith for a professional cleaning. It’s the best $50 you’re going to spend to have that gun and the innermost parts working well with each passing season.
This year we bought a Honda Pioneer 700 UTV. It was a large purchase for us and one I need to protect. After each hunt, I pressure wash it to get the Delta mud off of it; and, believe me, friend, Mississippi Delta mud is like glue. It’s plain awful. So, it’s got to come off shortly or it’ll ruin working parts.
I go one step further with a tip I learned from a farmer. After washing a tractor or combine, he goes through his equipment with a can of WD-40 and sprays anything that looks like it might rust or need lubrication. Listen, that’s $3 worth of prevention for $1000 worth of heartache over time.
3) Store It The Right Way
There are few things worse than getting to next year’s hunting season and wondering where you put your treestand steps or your Jerk Cord system.
Many times we store gear with a lazy attitude because we are tired and ready for the season to be over. Just remember, though, that in just a few months, you’re going to need that gear again! So don’t be lazy.
Store hunting gear the right way and you’ll never regret it.
Mossberg guns are built rugged and proudly American, but that doesn’t mean they are indestructible. You work hard for your money to buy hunting gear, so protect your investment. You deserve to do that for yourself, and for those in your family who’ll think it’s neat one day that they can use gear that has been in their family for ages and is still going strong.