____Purchase required permits and stamps and acquire other mandatory items for your hunt (e.g. H.I.P. number for hunting doves, ducks and geese, free East Zone grouse hunting permit, state park entry permit).
____Read over the current laws and regulations that apply to the game animals or birds you plan to hunt. Put the local conservation officer’s phone number and / or Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers phone number in your Smartphone or iPhone: 1.800.742.7627
_____Book lodging and camping reservations. For state park areas in Nebraska, logon to OutdoorNebraska.org
____Check hunter education requirements for young hunters, and then make plans for them and you to successfully complete a firearm or bow hunter education course together.
____Visit the landowner where you hunt. Make certain that you still have permission to hunt and part of their land hasn’t been sold or leased. Bring a gift or offer to assist them with some farm/ranch chores or the fall harvest.
____Scout your hunting land repetitively at periodic intervals as we progress into fall. Note where certain crops are planted, grass has been hayed and cattle or other livestock are grazing. Highlight any changes with the habitat or landscape. Put up trail/game cameras and start monitoring them.
____Make the necessary repairs to treestands, box blinds, trailer blinds, etc. Clean/touch-up decoys and patch waders. Trim tree limbs/branches or brush for shooting lanes. Mow or weed-whack deer/game trails.
____Have your ATV or UTV serviced. Opening weekend is not the time to find out the machine won’t start.
____Plant fall food plots on private lands where allowed and when the timing is right. Crops such as wheat, oats, rye, clover, turnips and brassicas like rape are commonly planted.
____Touch base with local butcher shops that process deer. Find out their contact information, hours of operation and involvement in the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
____Get a physical examination by your doctor if haven’t had one lately. Schedule your hunting dog for a pre-season check up with your veterinarian. Become acclimated to the weather for early season hunting. You and your hunting dog both should start a fitness regimen and stick to it.
____Practice shooting as much as possible. Just as with our physical conditioning, we also need to maintain our shooting abilities. A lot of hunters shoot their firearms and bows only 2 or 3 times a year and that may not be enough. Our duty as a hunter is to make an effective shot for a quick, humane kill.
____Wash all of your hunting clothes in unscented soap and store it in a plastic bag.
____Break in any new hunting boots.
____Assemble all your gear, examine it, clean it and repair or replace any things that are worn-out or broken. Carefully inspect fall restraint systems that are utilized from elevated deer hunting positions.
____Arrange time off work for crucial dates like opening days, weekends, weeks, or the peak of the deer rut.
____Put fresh batteries in head lamps, flashlights, cameras, GPS units, etc.
____Assemble a small, lightweight survival kit to include such things as a multitool, lighter and fire starting materials, water, high-energy snacks, emergency space blanket and some rope or cord.
____Buy new scent supplies for deer hunting.
____Look into downloading fresh, new apps on your mobile device to get up-to-date, detailed maps of your hunting areas.
____Review your compass. map and GPS interpreting skills. If your mobile device or GPS stopped working, could you navigate out of a remote location with a compass and a topo map?
____Sharpen your field-dressing knives.
____As a hunter, there is an endless supply of miscellaneous items you can take to the field. Some are necessary, others make the experience more comfortable or efficient. This category is only limited by your needs and desires. What are yours? Some of mine are binoculars, range finder, wind-checking device, folding saw, rubber gloves and hand warmers.
____Put all your hunting gear in one, easily accessible place, such as a large plastic or wooden storage box. Better yet, arrange it neatly in your hunting packs.
Article courtesy of Greg wagner from Nebraska Fish & Game / Image courtesy of www.wideopenspaces.com
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