This is the last in a series about preparing for hunting season.
Donít forget shotgun practice
Time should also be spent breaking clays. There are many clay pigeon throwers these days, besides the hand throwers.
A buddy has a thrower he hooks up to a vehicle battery and steps on a button which makes the clay fly. This makes it possible for a person to practice alone. Of course, it is always more fun to have a buddy or two along when practicing.
Another way to practice with a shotgun, before the season begins, is to find a farmer with too many pigeons. The common pigeon is also known as a rock dove. These are also good to eat. Remember, these birds are eating the farmerís grain, so should be considered fine table fare.
The Eurasian collared dove is about the size of a rock dove and are an invasive species. There is no season or limit on these birds. But, make sure of your target.
There is a couple/friends near Hartline who has several pigeons and some collared doves, too. We help them and they help us practice.
Hunting pack examination
Each hunter should examine her/his hunting pack each year. My way of doing this is to empty mine and inspect each item. Check the knife or knives for sharpness. Is there enough rope for whatever task is necessary?
Most hunters can field dress a deer by themselves, but sometimes a rope will make the job easier by tying the legs to a nearby tree or bush. Rope is a much-appreciated tool when gutting an elk alone.
Are the raisins or candy bar one year old or five years old? Consider refreshing the snacks in the pack. Is there some type of fire-starting tools available? Yes, you are never going to need fire-starting equipment, right? Until you really do need fire-starting tools.
Shooting sticks improve the shot
A shooting stick is now a part of my hunting equipment. This tool steadies the rifle during a shot. The value of shooting sticks was proven a couple of years ago when a buddy let me use his to shoot a cow elk at 490 yards. The stick also acts as a walking stick between shots.
The old-time hunters already know much of what we have covered during the past three weeks, but there are plenty of beginning hunters who need the information. It wouldnít hurt all hunting groups to discuss this info also each year.
Good luck this year. Have fun, but be careful out there.