I think we all have dug out our decoys just before seasons starts to find them not in the condition we remembered them in. Often dirty, missing heads, feet, stakes or even worse the dreaded mouse nest and all the smells that come with it. We have found the best remedy to these issues is to take a little extra time when storing them for the summer. Where ever you are storing your gear it is best practice to clean it up and organize it so you know exactly what you have. If storing in a barn or shed try to elevate it off the ground to deter animals from damaging it.
When it comes to layout blinds it is best to strip all the brush material from the blind and clean out the inside of mud, garbage and debris and make sure they are dry. Layout blinds should be
stored in a dry area preferable hanging in the air or a garage attic. Mice love to chew and nest in blinds and I promise that smell will not come out for years! If you want to try putting dryer sheets in you blind before you store it, mice hate the smell and it can deter them.
I like to look at my gear that I actually used this past season. If I didn’t use something the entire season I often sell it and use that money for new gear next year. I always wash up my hunting clothes one last time, hang dry them and store them in Rubbermaid totes in my garage. As for my blind bag, I like to clean it out by organizing any ammo I have left storing it in a safe dry location and clean up my calls.
My Calls never get put away. I try to keep them close and stay tuned up all year. Practicing with videos and CDs in the truck. During the summer there are various calling contest all over the U.S. I would encourage you to seek out a contest to at least see what some of the best contest callers can do. I know that contest calling is vastly different from meat calling but I promise you can pick up a thing or two that you can apply to the field.
Some of our Pro-Staffers shared things that they do in the post season.
In the offseason I store my gear in my trailer, blinds stripped and decoys safely tucked away. As for calling and shooting there is never an offseason, I practice my shooting as often as possible either at the range by on shooting pigeons. My calls stay in my truck and practice with them on road trips and driving around town. Use the endless resources at your fingertips on the internet to research decoy spreads, calling techniques, new areas to hunt and any other tips you can find to help yourself. Off season is the time to learn new tricks hunting season is the time to try them. – Tom Tow | North Dakota
During the offseason, at the beginning, I like to clean out all my bags, calls and drop guns off to get a good cleaning for my upcoming early season trip to Saskatchewan in early September. I’ll also keep my Riceland Custom Calls close to me while in the truck on the road for work and give it a go every now and then just to keep it fresh. It also gets me out of the funky mood of knowing how long till it opens again. As far as shooting, I shoot a lot of sporting clays so that helps me out as to staying on target. Decoys are picked up, cleaned, bagged and stored in a conex box for the year. I also do a little thinking about what could be done better for next year that I figured out too late in the season this year. – Brady Duhon | Louisiana