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Compound Bow Rack

 

Summer Hunting Maintenance

Compound Bow Rack

When the temperature begins to creep up and every buck has dropped their rack, many hunters hang up their camo and case their equipment until fall.

These will most likely be the ones who miss the monster bucks when the season reopens. General George S Patton once said about warfare that 'A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood'.

Dedicated hunters can paraphrase this into, "for every ounce of sweat in off-season prep, you save a gallon of tears in missed on-season bucks". The below are all good things to keep in mind this summer.

Food Plots

Entire books have been written about the value of planting and maintaining late summer food plots running into the fall. In short, if you plant it they will come. Mississippi State University has an excellent website about Wildlife Food Plots in the state at http://msucares.com/wildfish/wildlife/foodplots.html. They cover habitat management, location, size, and spacing, soil testing and planting. There you will find several PDF files with free e-books and videos on marinating your clovers, peas, beans and other food plot items.

There is nothing more revitalizing to a hunter than taking game from a food plot they maintained in the summer. It is a literal labor of love.

Wildlife Cameras

In short, the summer is when you buy, set up and install wildlife deer cameras. Some wait for the early fall for this, but good summer surveys are essential to figure out who you are going looking for and where. Permits are not required if the camera is set up over a feeder, salt/mineral lick, food plot or trail. However if you set up poured or piled bait out on the ground you must check with MDWFP about 21-day camera survey permits. They can be requested for free online at http://home.mdwfp.com/WMA/CameraSurvey.aspx

Maintaining Marksmanship

Shooting skills are perishable. I know a good friend of mine who has owned the same Remington 700 for eleven seasons. Each fall he buys a new box of shells, goes to the range and fires three rounds from it to make sure the zero is still good, then heads to the woods once or twice. He confided in me that he has 11 boxes of shells with 15-17 rounds each in them, one for each year. When asked why he did not shoot it more he shrugs, "Didn't want to wear it out"

However, most rifles made in the past 100 years will retain the same accuracy until the 5000-round mark. After that, you can still expect to make 4 to 5 inch MOA groups with as many as 20, 000 rounds through your firearm before it is 'shot out'. Shooting the rifle hot wears away the barrel faster so let it rest a little between sets as lots of rapid fire will shorten the accurate life of a barrel. So do the math, even with shooting 240 rounds per year (or about a box a month), a new rifle will last 83 years before it needs re-barreling.

The worst thing you can do however is shoot at unsupervised unsafe ranges at improper targets. Most areas of the state have paid ranges nearby, use them. You may want to check out a local Appleseed shoot or rifle completion in your area. There are several free ranges in Mississippi. The State maintains the excellent Turcotte Education & Shooting Facility near Pearl, which you can access with a valid WMA use permit. The US Forest Service maintains a no-cost public range in Brooklyn as well.

Storing Camo and gear

Many sportsmen take to storing their hunting clothes in their regular closets during the summer, wearing their boots around the house, and letting items like hats and gloves mellow in the truck through any number of weekend bar-b-ques.

At the end of hunting season gather all of your dedicated hunting clothes, vests, caps, masks, gloves, packs and boots and segregate them from the rest of your house. Some hunters do this in garbage bags, others in specially made scent blocking sacks, others just in plastic totes with lids.

In short, get in touch with your scent elimination products and use them. Labor Day is too late in the year to begin knocking that scent out when you could have just left it out to begin with.

Bow Maintenance

For those bow-hunters out there, you cannot just take your bow, leave it in a case for months, and expect to be able to harvest anything other than a hard-luck story. Anytime you store your compound bow for an extended period of time you need to wax the strings and cables liberally and relax the tension as much as possible. Bows with easily adjustable draw weight make this a no-brainer. If you are taking a season off you may want to unstrung the bow altogether. Never store your bow in an outside metal building or garage where moisture and extreme heat may warp or crack your investment. Also, check your limb bolts and make sure they have not worked loose and adjust as needed. It would not hurt to have your bow looked at by the local bow shop and beat the fall rush.

Just like firearm hunters, you need to keep up on your archery marksmanship skills. In Olde England, archery with a longbow was practiced year round so that long bowmen would be able to hit what they aimed at as a matter of national defense. While you probably are not going to be warding off hordes of invaders with your bow, but be sure to take in regular practice during the summer to stay on your game.

It's hard to think hunting all summer, but remember, for every ounce of sweat in off-season prep. For more information on Summer hunting maintenance please visit Mississippi Sportsman at www.ms-sportsman.com

By Ryan Lambeth -