by Chris Jennings
It's July, but September teal and early Canada goose seasons will be here before you know it. Cobweb-covered decoy bags and layout blinds are still nestled in dark garage corners all over the country. When the waterfowl-hunting bug strikes, crisp mornings in the field and birds hovering over the decoys will monopolize the mind, so getting your gear ready now may save you time and money as the season approaches.
When is the right time to start sorting through decoys, gun bags and tuning calls? Obviously, the answer to that question will be different for everyone, but waterfowl hunters across the country are beginning to stir—the new season is on the horizon and now is the time to start preparing.
If everything was stored properly after the season, most duck floaters and goose shells will be ready for opening day, but even the most organized hunters need to address some pre-season decoy issues.
"I store all my decoys in individually slotted bags, so I avoid a lot of the tangles. But I still like to go through and check for kinks in my decoy line," explains Tyson Keller, from Avery Outdoors, who handles the company's media relations and photography. "I replace all the line on decoys that are kinked and I also like to double check the weights to make sure the knots are still holding and there are no issues with the weight itself."
For those hunters who don't utilize slotted bags, decoys that were tossed lackadaisically into a bag at season's end might be facing quite a tangled situation. Restringing dozens of decoys and purchasing new weights can be costly. Fortunately, for hunters searching for new string and weights, July is far enough away from the season opener that deals might be found on these "off-season" items.
Jeremy Abbas, an Avery Outdoors pro-staff member in Kanawha, Iowa, stresses that being prepared immediately after the season closes is important, but hunters should utilize the summer months to get organized. Abbas will make lists of his wants and needs and then use that information in the off season.
"By doing this, you have the whole off season to compare prices and shop around for the objects you need," he says. "I just finished up checking my floaters and giving them all a little shake to see if there is any water left in there."