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Pre-Season Prep

Get a jump on the hunting season with these tips
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Blinds

The last few years, the layout blind has changed the way many hunters spend their days afield and pre-season maintenance on a blind is also a good idea. A blind left hanging or sitting on the floor of a shed or garage is very likely to end up with some unwanted visitors or possibly mold. Put the July sun to good use and air out your layout blind well before it is needed.

"It is always good to set up your layout blinds and perform a maintenance check before the season. Dump out the empty shotgun shells and other unwanted garbage," Keller says. "Also, check all fastening points to make sure all of your fastening pins are available for a quick and effective setup. Give your blinds a quick dusting of ultra-flat Field Khaki paint and rub on a fresh coat of mud to the blind's material. Not only will this allow your blinds to be much more concealed, it is easier to perform this process when it is warm outside."

Abbas checks his blinds throughout the summer months as well, keeping them off the ground and airing them out a bit, but he uses a common household item as a deterrent for pests looking to make a home in his blinds.

"I know some people who have had mice get in there and tear up a good blind," he says. "I throw in a couple sheets of fabric softener in each layout blind and that keeps out the mice. It's also nice to open them up for the first time in season and it smells fresh."

The Essentials

The essentials are different for every waterfowl hunter. It can consist of calls, extra gloves, face masks, shells and a thermos, but no matter what your essentials are, this is the time to gather them.

Every hunter should have an emergency box that is kept in their boat or vehicle. If you don't have one, this is the time of year to start gathering essential equipment.

"I always carry a dry storage box with extra essential gear that can come in handy during the hunting season. Tow ropes, extra gloves, socks, a battery jump pack, flashlights, a spare truck key, hats, boots, shotgun shells and rainwear are some of the items I pack," Keller explains. "I will take this dry storage box with me in my truck, boat and trailer wherever I go to hunt. Whenever the unexpected arrives, I know that I will have all of the essentials that will help me make a potentially ruined day into a good day. Simple preparation will go a long way."

As the July heat melts thoughts of tossing decoys into icy waters, the good news is that fall is on its way—a long way, but it is coming. The waterfowling gear stockpiled in odd places will be needed in the near future and there is no sense waiting until opening day. Utilize summer's warmer temperatures and have your gear ready for that first cool snap this fall.

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