The most anticipated time of the year is upon us…Opening Day! As you and your hunting buddies plan the first big trip, it’s important to make sure you’re fully ready for what lies ahead. There’s nothing worse than getting out in the field and realizing you’re missing equipment, something got damaged in storage, or worse, your best hunting buddy isn’t ready. Here’s a quick check list to go through to make sure you’ve got smooth sailing on Opening Day:
1. Health Check: We always like to schedule our dogs’ well visits a few weeks before season opens just to be sure our best hunting partners are ready for a strong and healthy season. It’s always good to get your vet’s sign off on your dog’s well-being before something goes wrong in the field. Also, if your dog is on any medication this is a great time to get refills to be sure you’re stock piled for any upcoming trips.
2. Equipment check: If you’ve not used your equipment in a while, go ahead and pull it out now. Give the gun a good cleaning, check the batteries on all your e-collars, check for holes in any field clothing. You do not want to be in the field and realize you forgot to charge your collar. If your e-collars are a few years old, may be a good idea to go ahead and order back up batteries to make sure they’ll get through the season.
3. Paperwork: Having everything in order a few weeks in advance of your trip will help save stress when it’s time to enjoy your hunt. Make sure you have all the proper tags and permits for the area in which you will be hunting. Check where you are going for any necessary paperwork for your dog and retrieve that from the vet and make sure you have your hunting license stored in a convenient place for easy access for wildlife officers.
4. First Aid Kits: Nothing ruins a day in the field like a sudden emergency. It’s best to have a good sized first-aid kit to keep in the car for larger emergencies, but also carry a small one for in-field use. This should include bandages, ointments, Epi-pens or similar emergency medicines for your dogs and hunting buddies, and a pain reliever/fever reducer. For those of us lucky enough to have faced few field emergencies, this is an easy one to overlook, but if you find yourself in a situation to need it, you will kick yourself for not having it.
Getting all this ready to roll now will help you and your hunting partners make the most of Opening Day and all the trips to follow. Do you have anything else you swear by for must-have field gear? Let us know.