Putting your guns and gear to bed for the season is an important start for next year. There are still some hunting opportunities for Weapon Restriction Zones, Shoulder Hunts, and a late season Muzzle loader hunt, if you need to still fill a tag.
For the rest of the hunters, Put your Gear to Bed Properly. Bows need to be cleaned, strings waxed, and arrows serviced and sharpened. Keep the bow, release, and other archery gear together so you will have no need to search for it. Practice is an all-year sport so locate your target arrows and add to your case.
Guns always need some love. Start with cleaning the barrel. Use a bore cleaner and brush. Run a patch through the barrel until it comes out clean. Now add a touch of gun oil to the clean patch and run it through the barrel to coat. Check all moving parts, screws, and sights. Look for issues, dirt, and moisture in all screws and moving parts. Scopes also need to be examined and glass cleaned. Remove the sling and store separately. Use a light coat of oil into your hands and wipe over all exterior metal and wood. Place into a case and put to bed.
Two things will damage your guns while in storage. Moisture and abrasion. If rust is allowed to stay on the wood or metal, you will get rust and rot. An annual full disassembly and inspection is a good idea. Use Loctite when replacing screws. Tune, lube, and coat the gun/rifle/pistol to make sure it will be ready for next season.
Many hunters carry a sidearm during the season. Don’t forget to give them a going over as well. Remove all rounds from any clips, chambers, or magazines. Store all ammo separately. Taking the pressure off all magazine springs extends their life. Do not leave any weapons stored in leather cases or holsters. Leather will hold moisture.
Dust is no friend to any weapons. Therefore, a protective sock is a good idea. Use a silicon coated sock or sack to best store your favorite weapons. Sunlight is also no friend. Keep the guns in a dark gun safe or closet. Leaving guns on display allows for UV damage, drying, cracking, and showing others what you have.
My Dad taught me to never advertise where you store weapons, or how many you have. That is no one else’s business. Keep all safe’s, locks, and safety practices in place, all year. Showing off your guns can invite theft, so consider safes and out securable rooms.
Investing care and quality maintenance with your weapons now is the first step to success hunting next year.
Lock and unload!