With many hunting seasons already open and many others opening soon, getting ready to hunt should be at the top of the list for hunters. Getting ready takes a little planning to make hunting more enjoyable so make sure all hunting equipment is ready to go before hitting the field.
Below is a few of the items that should be on the top of a hunter’s to-do list:
» Get a new Harvest Information Program number. Hunters may register 24 hours a day at outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hip or by calling 877-634-8687.
» Purchase new 2020 hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and park entry permits.
» Make arrangements for places to hunt with landowners and on public walk-in areas.
» Go to the shotgun, rifle and archery range to practice.
» Clean your rifles, shotguns and archery equipment, make sure they are all in good working condition.
» Get the ammo/arrows you will be using ahead of time.
» Sharpen your knives and gather all the items you need for field dressing.
» Round up all your hunting clothing, boots, hats, gloves and other items to make sure they all still fit and confirm that you have what you will need no matter what you are hunting.
Making sure your firearms and archery equipment are in good shape is also a must.
Shooting trap, skeet or sporting clays are a great way to get a hunter primed up for the season. Practicing different shots and judging distances are a must and the shotgun range is a great place to get those skills ready for pheasants, grouse, ducks, geese or whatever type of bird hunting you may do.
It is very important to pattern your shotgun before the season. Patterning your gun helps you to understand your pattern density and pellet strikes at a given range, and can give you a better idea of your gun’s effective range. Most shooting ranges have an area to pattern shotguns. Make sure to place a backstop behind the target, and be realistic at ranges you choose in accordance with hunting situations.
Sight your rifle in now. By doing this early you will get some extra practice in, you will make sure you have the best cartridges to make your gun the most accurate, you can be sure everything is working, and pre-season shooting helps you to judge distances. Shoot now and you will definitely beat the rush for deer season.
For those bow-hunters that haven’t started hunting yet you should be practicing daily with your bow and shooting broadheads to ensure your bow is tuned properly and sighted in. Also, try to shoot at different distances to help train your eyes and keep from getting complacent. Check your equipment thoroughly as you may need new strings, cables, silencers, etc. The last thing you want is to get to your stand on opening morning only to find faulty equipment from it sitting idle too long.
Other items we tend to forget about until right before we want to use them may need some maintenance, be sure to think about all your equipment and its needs before the season.
Check your waders for wear-and-tear and leaks, waterproof your boots, and make sure your goose and duck calls have been properly cleaned and sound like they should.
Get a pack for essentials like hand warmers, toilet paper, in-field gun cleaning supplies, and a headlamp.
Don’t forget those decoys. Make sure to check and patch any floaters so they are ready for use. Touch up painting is also best done months before the season starts. Remember a little wax will help make those decoys glisten in the water.
Start doing repairs on blinds, tree stands and hunting pits so they are safe to use and ready to be put to use far before they are needed.
Now is a great time to get in blinds and watch the deer activity. It is very interesting to watch the bucks, their antler development and the transition from velvet to hard antlers. Turkeys will shift from summer to winter flocks — finding their patterns will help to bag a fall or winter turkey.
Get your youngsters into the field for some scouting or let them help with fixing blinds. They can gain some satisfaction from helping and they’ll know what to expect if they plan to hunt this season. Getting outside together is always a great way to spend quality time.
One of the most important things to getting ready for the season is to read up on your rules and regulations. Brush up on your waterfowl and animal identification so you are a knowledgeable hunter and harvest only the animals you should. The “2020 Big Game,” “Small Game,” “Waterfowl,” “Early Teal” and “Turkey” guides along with the “Public Access Atlas” are all available now either online at outdoornebraska.gov or at the North Platte Game and Parks office and local vendors.
With some pre-season planning you will be ready to thoroughly enjoy all the hunting seasons.
Firearm hunter education classes
Several firearm hunter education classes will be held for those needing classes.
Successful completion of a firearm hunter education course is required for all Nebraska hunters age 12 to 29 who hunt any species with a firearm or air gun. Bowhunter education is required for all Nebraska hunters age 12 to 29 who hunt deer, elk, antelope or mountain sheep with bow and arrow or crossbow. Hunters must carry proof of successful completion of a hunter education course while hunting. Hunters of any age, whether required to or not, are welcome and encouraged to take a hunter education course to become familiar with the principles of hunter safety.
In McCook, classes will start on Sept. 22. Class times will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for five sessions at the McCook Community College, 1205 E. Third St. in McCook.
In Cozad, classes will be from 7 to 9 p.m. for four sessions beginning Sept. 28. Classes will be held at the Paulsen Office, 1116 East U.S. Highway 30.
A two-day class will be held at the Maxwell Gun Club starting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 25. The Maxwell Gun Club is located at 8216 South Gun Club Road in Maxwell.
To register and for more information about these classes, visit the Game and Parks web site at outdoornebraska.gov/huntereducation.
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