After Hunting Season has Ended

The hunting season has ended. Snow is piling up outside your home. You may think it is time to kick up your feet by the fire and reminisce on seasons’ past, but you likely have some work to do before you can call it a hunting year. Here are some helpful tips to make your next season easier, more organized, and maybe a little cheaper.

The first thing every hunter should do is unpack and inventory their hunting tools and apparel at the end of the season. This may sound like a waste of time, but it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. I have unintentionally left several flashlights and knives in the woods of Illinois over the past twenty years. Many times, I have figured that out the night before the first hunt of the new season, requiring me to make that quick purchase. Also, having picked up multiple lights and knives on public lands across the state, I know that I am not alone in this problem.

Dressers for success

First, pull out your hunting clothes, give them end-of-season washing, then put them away for the season in an orderly manner. Most hunters keep their hunting clothes, backpacks, accessories, etc…in a plastic tub. This is fine during the season when it can ride in the back of your truck, but it is not a good place to store your clothes year-round. Plus, you likely have more clothing, calls, scent spray, or other items lying somewhere in your house.

One solution is to have a dedicated dresser (or three) where you can keep all of your hunting equipment. If you have children and they have grown out of furniture over the year, you can easily move that down to the basement or garage and use it for clothing storage. A place to find a good, cheap dresser is your local second-hand store. They tend to have donated dressers that can be picked up for very reasonable prices.

Once you have your dresser(s), sort out the clothes you used this season versus the ones you did not. The first time I did this, I realized I had not gotten rid of a single item in the past 20 years. Clothes that do not fit can be handed down or given to that new or prospective hunter you know. Hand-me-down items are treasured by most new hunters. Next, after you have washed everything up, organize the dressers so you know what items you have plenty of, which could use an upgrade, and those that were lost during the season.

Next, dedicate drawers for all those extra items needed for hunting. I put all my calls, knives, extra releases, extra flashlights and bow holders in the top drawer of one dresser. This includes turkey, deer, coyote, goose and duck calls. I also have a drawer dedicated to just gloves, hats, and facemasks. I keep my ozone unit, batteries, water pouch, spare phone-charger cords, and all of my other scent-free products in another drawer. When you put these items away, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s direction on the storage of batteries. Also, dry that water pack completely or you will be drinking mold in the fall. You only make that mistake once. It cost me a day of stomach issues.

Winter work, spring ease

There are a couple advantages to having all your clothes organized. First, it makes it very quick and convenient when spring turkey comes to grab the clothes you need based on the conditions at the time. Plus, everything is in its place. There’s no scrambling for those calls that were left somewhere last spring. Second, it allows you to know exactly what items to key on during the after-season sales most retailers conduct. Since I began doing this, I rarely purchase items for full price. I am never in a hurry to buy.

Having all the clothes nicely folded and put away gives you the satisfaction that you are prepared from the next season. This allows you to concentrate on locations, stands, or other field operations. An organized hunter will outperform a disorganized hunter. It ultimately gives you the best chance to be successful when in the field the next season.