Ugh the lull of summer! The turkey woods have gone silent, the mushrooms are all but gone, decaying or hidden in a jungle of poison ivy and May apples. The bugs have reinforced their armies, and the mosquitoes have once again started their aerial assaults. So now what? I guess you could go fishing, golfing, or even work. But believe it or not, now is the time to begin your prep for the next waterfowl season. Now is the time to make sure you have all of your loose ends tied up. Because in a few short months, the geese will be flying and our early seasons will be cranking up. Then is NOT the time to be retying dekes, or rushing out to buy a new pair of waders. Now is the time to get your “ducks” in a row! Let’s talk about a few things that you can do to get ready for Iowa’s waterfowl season.
Get the Old Brush Off of Your Blinds.
This is the one thing I like to do early if not right after the season. I get snow covers off, or old corn stubble. Chances are, we will be hunting green alfalfa or something similar and I’m not a big fan of taking yellow faded corn off the blinds at 4:00 am and throwing it into a green field. Get all of this done now, clean out the garbage dump inside as well. The heat hasn’t really cranked up and it’s a perfect time to get the guys together to help.
Clean out the Trailer and Make Repairs.
If you have a trailer, now is the perfect time to do anything to it you talked about during the season. Fixing a tire, or putting up a wall or shelving. You have time, and the weather is perfect for messing with these types of projects. You could also add lights to the outside!
Decoy prep or maintenance.
Throughout the season decoys can get abused, shot up, thrown around, or broken. Now is a great time to fix or touch these up. Waterfowl companies are slower right now as well. So if you can call and get a few extra heads, chances are they’ll be able to help right away. Wash the dried up blood or mud off of those plastic soldiers. Blood if left on can take paint off of decoys. Take a natural bristle brush and some soapy water and get that stuff off of those decoys.
Check Your Firearms.
This is very important and I’ve been guilty as well, check out your shotgun. Make sure you have your plug back in from snow goose season. Make sure you have it well cleaned and oiled up. Check to make sure nothing is broken. Heck now’s the perfect time to go out and stay sharp. Shooting clay birds is inexpensive, and a great way to get ready for dove and goose season.
This time of year retailers will have sales on guns, decoys, and ammo. Now is the perfect time to scour those stores looking for a great deal on anything waterfowl related. Chances are stores will be happy to get rid of it, and you’ll get a stellar deal!
Practice your Calling.
So many waterfowlers hang those calls up in January and don’t look at them until August 31st. A few things happen here. One, your lungs are out of shape. You won’t have enough air to keep those moans or double clucks going. Two, chances are your cork has dried up and is leaking air. There is nothing worse than picking up a call wanting to sound like a goose or duck and sounding like a band instrument. When you routinely practice you keep that call in tune, notice little differences, and can make adjustments.
Keep that Dog on Track.
Just because you think your perfect and need no practice, doesn’t mean that hunting dog of yours doesn’t need practice. Make sure you work him as much as possible and have as realistic scenarios as possible. Create true hunting experiences throughout the spring and summer. It will only help him stay sharp for game time and will also keep your blood pressure down as well this fall.
By all Means Check on Your Fields or Marshes.
These areas change dramatically over the course of late spring through summer. Heavy rains can alter your river or marshes sometimes to the point where channels are diverted and new ones are formed. BE AWARE of this early. There is nothing worse than showing up the night before to find dry ground in front of the ramp you’ve used for years. Fields can also be affected. Just because it was beans last year, doesn’t mean it will be corn this fall. Check with the farmer, heck offer to help him out in whatever way possible.
Look and Work on New Ground.
Check with farmers now while you still have some fresh asparagus or morels to offer as gifts! A couple bags of mushrooms goes a long ways at times getting you into a good field for the fall. Check areas you’ve never hunted before. Now is a perfect time to canoe the rivers looking for sandbars, or drive the gravel looking for new corn fields. Scouting can never start too early!
Make sure the boat is ready to roll. Fix the trailer that got beat up last season. Add some new Killerweed or Realgrass to the blind now while it may be on sale. Repaint the blind so you don’t have that metal shine wearing you out like it did all of last fall. Make sure the mice haven’t gotten inside and chewed up life jackets, or wires. I recommend putting dryer sheets throughout the boat. I am not sure why this works, but it does. Also make sure you change the oil and did all of your necessary upkeep. Have those batteries ready to roll so you can hook it up and hunt.
Keep the Peace Around the House!
Spoil the significant other now and keep tabs on everything you do! From the 25 bullet point “honey to do list”, to the elaborate gifts, and the fancy dinner date you went out on. These things need to be brought up throughout the season to ensure a successful and semi peaceful season.
Limit the damage now with as much off-season prep as you can do, and you’ll spend more time afield doing what you love.