It’s one month to the opening of upland bird season soon to be followed by waterfowl, pheasant, antelope, and the general hunting season. Now is a good time to get prepared. Here are a few suggestions for the month of August, but hurry, time is running out.
First clean you guns. For many of us, our guns have been in storage for too long. Dust and moisture will accumulate in our guns and in amounts that can really cause us trouble. This pre-season cleaning should be very thorough, I mean every nook and cranny. Use good cleaning solvents, oils, and patches. I suggest bore guides for your rifles and brass or carbon fiber rods; good jags and bronze, not steel, brushes will get that barrel really clean. Finally run a patch with a drop of oil down the bore. Be sure to also clean your stock. I use a clean cloth with lemon oil extract; it really makes my stocks look great.
Secondly go to the range. If you are a shotgunner, pattern your gun. I am amazed at how many, in fact the majority of hunters never do this. Although it is a boring exercise, you will learn a lot about where your shot charges impact. I recommend two shots at 10, 30, and 40 yards; use your hunting loads. Like rifles, some shotguns can be a bit finicky with different loads. Pattern now and you might get that trophy Wood Duck, or other special fowl. Finally get some practice at your local trap club, skeet or sporting clays range.
Take your rifle to the range. Check the zero on your scope. If you are a handloader, get to work on that new load. Time is running out and you need to make sure you have a load that meets your expectations. While at the range, shoot at several distances, and use different positions. If you only shoot at 100 yards you will have a hard time making an accurate shot at 300 to 400 yards. Ethical hunters only shoot at ranges where they know they can make the shot; our prey deserve no less.
Get the rest of your gear in order. Proper clothing, boots, GPS devices, binoculars, spotting scopes, back packs, etc. all deserver the same attention that our guns get. Finally don’t forget to get in shape; it is important for your safety and makes days in the field much more pleasurable. And don’t forget the proper licenses; nobody wants a ticket.
Good luck in the upcoming seasons, have fun, and enjoy all the wonders of a Montana autumn.
Be safe and good shooting.