Off-Season Tasks

SAs hunters, most of us find February to be a great lull in our yearly pursuit of all things outdoors. Big game season has come and gone in most parts of the country and turkey season seems ages away, but do not despair my hunting brothers and sisters for there is still much work to done.  Here are a few chores that I try to tackle during the off season so that I can be truly ready and prepared for whenever that next opening morning arrives.

Rotate Freezer Meat

If you are like me, you have valuable game meat in your freezer that cost way more than any grocery store meat ever has. If we add up the man hours of planning and hunting, and the gas and gear it took to get that meat in my freezer, we would be even more cautious about not letting any of it go to waste. For me, I like to go through my freezer and rotate all the older dated meat up front to ensure that I do not overlook it during the next freezer run for whichever meal we have planned. The results of consuming that tasty protein in a chronological order to prevent waste is obvious, but what do you do if you have too much meat on hand and you’re not sure you can handle it all?

The easiest route is to share it with friends of family. Sometimes it is not feasible to just give someone packages of raw meat, so think about processing it yourself. To me, making jerky is a great way to utilize older meat and it is also a great way to share. Almost everyone likes jerky, but you can also make some form of meat stick such as salami or thuringer as well. Work or church is also a great place to share your hard-earned bounty, or even better, maybe take a batch to a local farmer or land owner as a form of appreciation or introduction.

Updating Gear and Gear Maintenance

Do your treestands or ladders need bolts or screws replaced, straps mended or does their camouflage paint need touched up? Now is the time. Does your truck need a squeak eliminated or a rattle fixed? Are all of your game calls in good working order and is it finally time to replace that pair of boots or waders that you have been patching for a couple years too long?

It is also a time to let some old gear go by handing it down to someone else or to simply trash it. I always seem to keep camouflage hunting hats so long that I eventually realize they are turning white from fading and too many washes. Now is the time to also find after-season bargains so buying new stuff won’t be so painful. 

Properly taking care of game meat and squaring away gear is something that we all should endeavor to be on top of. We owe it to ourselves and to the animals we cherish.