Ready Or Not ...

If you hunt a variety of seasons, then fall might turn into a tumultuous time period as you hop from hunt to hunt. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Hunting seasons are only weeks out for many, and they’ve already started for a select few. Archery pronghorn seasons kick off in mid-August, so the ball is already in play across the country. Here are a few ways I map out my season with some preseason planning.

Gear Up
Different species require different gear. Hunting for whitetails requires treestands or ground blinds, pronghorn hunting requires optics and elk hunting takes calling competence. To ensure you’re ready for every hunting adventure, get your gear prepped now. First, wash all your hunting clothes and stash them in bags marked for each season. For whitetails, get your woodland skivvies packed away and for Western hunts make sure your sagebrush camouflage, like Mossy Oak Brush, is washed and ready. I also put appropriate gloves, face masks, hats and other odds-and-ends into the scent-protective bags.

Check and re-check your licenses. Every season and every state mandates varying licensing. Go over the license requirements, make sure you have the right stamps and assemble them in an orderly manner. After that, I put each set of licenses in a protective Zip-loc bag and stash them with the clothing or gear that will go on the hunt. If I change backpacks between hunts I’ll put the licenses in the appropriate backpack that’ll accommodate the hunt. For some of you, your billfold is the preferred location of choice. In either case, make sure they’re ready and find their way to your hunt.

Backup Gear?
You have your gear ready, but do you have your backup gear ready? What if a bowstring breaks? What if your riflescope reticle suddenly disappears? Do you have backup gear ready to go? Consider any and everything that could ruin your hunt. Now get backup plans in place with a way to keep your hunt moving forward. Last year during elk season my boots suddenly sprang a leak. Fortunately I had another pair in waiting and the next day my feet were as dry as a submarine command post.

Backup Hunt?
Have you considered the entire hunt falling apart? Maybe weather doesn’t allow you access to remote areas. Or what if disease breaks out? Maybe the hunting just sucks. Of course you could just fill your tag on the first day. It happens. But whatever occurs, have a plan to keep hunting. I always pack along gear to pursue predators for backup and upland hunting occurs almost everywhere as another option. Review the possibilities that could end your hunt early and research ways to keep on hunting.

Prep For The Worst
Lastly, assemble a list of emergency contact numbers that your family can hold in case of an emergency. Don’t bet on cell service and leave farm, ranch or emergency service contact numbers that your family can use in a pinch. You might also want to research affordable satellite phone rentals as well.

Hunting season is on its way—whether you’re ready or not. Prepare now to be sure your season rolls along smoothly without any hiccups in hunting enjoyment.

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