Those decoys took a beating last year, and might require some touch-up paint. Steve Hickoff photo
Plan your calendar’s hunting dates now before things get too busy. Ducks Unlimited photo
By Steve Hickoff
Last time in this space, we discussed the importance of off-season waterfowl blind building. If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, the following projects might help speed the days until the opener.
CLAIM IT: One good move these dog days of summer is to lock in hunting days. You heard me right. All of us have a calendar or two hanging from the walls of our house. But do you have one dedicated solely to hunting? This time of the year you can pick up year-end planners in the bargain bin. Do it. Then write in those September-December waterfowling days. As a dad, I also add important school dates to my hunting plan, balancing family events as well. Do that now before things get busy.
CHECK IT: If you’re like me, a serious shotshell inventory is in order, as well as a firearms off-season cleaning. Go to your gun safe. Gather all your shells. Chances are you left some there in disarray at the end of waterfowl season last year. Now’s the time to sort them out by shot size. After doing so, put them in original boxes if possible. Put random loads in small plastic bags, take a Sharpie and note the contents. And don’t forget to check the pockets of your camouflage apparel as you do this pre-season housekeeping. Next, handle all your shotguns and clean them accordingly.
CRAFT IT: How about some decoy touch-up work? Do you shadow your significant other at the craft store? Hey, there are supplies there you can use too! Go to the area where they keep felt materials. Pick up some black felt, and use it later to touch up the necks and heads of your goose decoys with a realistic look. Go to the enamel paint section. Grab yellow and green bottles and detail your drake mallard heads and bills, and also by mixing the two pigments. Pick up polyurethane spray and spot-fix your old battered decoys. Grab some white latex paint, and do detail work on your diver and sea-duck decoys.
CALL IT: A summertime calling session is always in order. You can do this yourself, or with a couple hunting buddies in your man cave. Get a recording device, and take turns running your duck and goose calls. Listen to how you sound. Is there room for improvement? Try to add a new vocalization to your repertoire. Share calling tips. Stay busy. The season opener will be here before you know it.