It’s never too early to prepare for hunting season. Gear needs to be updated, inspected and maintained. Here are a few tips for taking care of your hunting gear.

Keep your camouflage from fading

Almost every hunter machine washes some of their camo clothing, but with the rising costs of new gear and clothing, making something last is high on many hunters’ priority lists. First, if you mush machine wash, do so on the delicate cycle if you don’t have to worry about heavy dirt (or blood). Turn your camo inside out and let the inside take the beating. Make sure to fill the washer with water before adding soap to make sure the detergent is dispensed evenly before you add your camo. Wash camo in cold water and on the shortest wash cycle possible. Several laundry detergents are specifically formulated to be most effective in cold water and will help retain color fastness. If you are not worried about scent control, Woolite has been used for years for specialty fabrics. For scent control, you can also use baking soda or specialty soap approved for camouflage washing.

Keep your calls sharp and clean

Cleanliness will help calls last and sound better for a longer period of time. If you are guilty of throwing your favorite latex diaphragm or tube calls in your vest during the off season, stop doing that. Rinse them off with cool, clean water. This will keep particles and bacteria from growing on them which can cause them to break down faster. Also, it will help eliminate odors. For longer preservation, store them in your refrigerator during the off season. Keeping them cold will also help retard any bacteria and make their elasticity last longer. A good turkey or elk diaphragm call can be used for multiple species and predators as well. Make those calls last, especially if you find a favorite.

Storage is a big deal for almost all hunting gear

Sure, you could just throw your hip and chest waders in a closet or garage, but they will develop creases and wrinkles which can make them more vulnerable to tearing. Try to hang them upside down in a cool, dry place. This will keep them straight and help maintain their shape and it will also keep any critters from getting into them.

Guns are some of the most expensive pieces of equipment that most hunters use, but even I am guilty of being somewhat negligent during storage. All guns should be properly cleaned, oiled per manufacturer’s specifications and stored in a non-airtight location. If you are storing them in soft gun cases, leave the cases slightly unzipped so that some air can reach the metal which will help any moisture to evaporate. If you are storing in an airtight gun safe, make sure you have some form of desiccant or moisture collector in there with your guns. Moisture is a gun’s worst enemy.  

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