Now that the cold weather is in the rearview mirror, our minds have left deer season and our thoughts are of turkeys at the end of our gun barrel. But just because deer season is now out of our minds does not mean that it will not be returning anytime soon. Believe me when I say this — it will be here before you know it. With that said, now is a great time to wrap up those loose ends from this past season. There are five things that will need attention now in order to be ready for next season.

Now that the cold weather is in the rearview mirror, our minds have left deer season and our thoughts are of turkeys at the end of our gun barrel. But just because deer season is now out of our minds does not mean that it will not be returning anytime soon. Believe me when I say this — it will be here before you know it. With that said, now is a great time to wrap up those loose ends from this past season. There are five things that will need attention now in order to be ready for next season.

Tree st­and safety

A few minutes spent now going over your tree stands could mean the difference between a successful season and a family gathering without you there. Here are the things to check for normal wear and tear:
1. Weak or dry-rotted straps.
2. Loose nuts.
3. Worn bolts and bushings in pivot areas.
4. Rusty or frayed cables.

Clothing storage

Whether you are a whitetail hunter or a western big-game guy, the wind is your enemy, and clean, scent-free clothes are your best friend. Storing them through the summer in the right way will mean less washing come bow season.
1. Turn all hunting clothing inside out — this helps color last longer — and wash with a scent-free soap that does not have any UV brighteners.
2. Hang to air-dry if possible; if not, machine-dry with scent-free dryer sheets.
3. Store in airtight box or bag, which will help prevent the clothing from
absorbing ambient smells or from
getting musty.­

Gun maintenance

Guns today are a very expensive investment, and cleaning them properly when the season is over will insure they keep performing properly. A little preventive maintenance now will pay big dividends.
1. Remove action from receiver and clean firing pin and bolt face of all powder residue.
2. Inspect barrel bore and clean off all fouling.
3. Wipe trigger exterior assembly down, but do not oil internal parts of trigger — doing so will attract dust, and grime and could alter the operation of trigger.
4. When thoroughly clean, wipe entire gun and inside of barrel down with a light coat of gun oil. Only use a small amount, as excessive oil will attract moisture.

Optics maintenance

Keeping optics clean will make them a timeless addition to your hunting trips.
1. As gently as possible, take a can of air and blow off the large debris from the pivot point in the middle of the binos, around the eyecups and from the objective lenses. Make sure the can is always upright as to not allow freezing liquid to form on your glass. A bulb blower is sometimes better.
2. Spray a lens cleaning chemical, not a window cleaning solution, on the lens and wipe dry with a lens cloth.
3. Repeat lens cleaning if necessary and re-install protective lens caps.

Call care

With almost three full months of deer season in most states, it’s a pretty good guess that you have blown your fair share of saliva into those calls. Cleaning them now will cut down on any bacteria growth over the summer. I know it sounds gross, but it’s the truth.
1. Disassemble as completely as possible and remove all dust and debris.
2. Soak mouthpiece and reeds in a disinfecting-type mouthwash.
3. Allow to air dry and reassemble