I remember our Latin teacher introducing the class to the phrase tempus fugit. It means time flies, and this summer time certainly has had wings. It seems like just yesterday that I was waiting for the ice to thaw so I could start fishing. Now, hunting season is just around the corner. I will, of course, admonish you to get ready before the big day. I will, of course, not take my own counseling.
If you are a first time hunter your most important preparation is to take the required hunter education course. Every year I have at least one last minute phone call from someone wanting to know where and when a course will be available. It is just not that easy and I recommend you waste no time finding a course in your vicinity. Just call 1-800-WILDLIFE to learn what is available. You only have a little over three weeks to complete a course before the first seasons open.
Squirrel and dove seasons open first and Scooter and I are looking forward some squirrel hunting. It will not be easy as the trees will still be heavily cloaked in leaves. While I prefer a rifle to hunt bushy tails this is a good time of year to use a light gauge shotgun. A .410 bore shotgun will serve the purpose nicely, but I prefer my lightweight 28 gauge. The little Ruger Red Label over and under is very light to carry and powerful enough for when grouse season opens. I am happy to see that the 28 is coming back. I don't do much dove hunting, but the 28 will take any dove targets of opportunity.
August is a good time to drag out all of the clothing and other paraphernalia you stored away last spring. My boots need some new shoestrings and I'm sure I still have weeds and feathers in the pockets of my hunting coats. This is a good time to clean them out. I'll also give the boots a touch of waterproofing. I just have to watch that I don't add anything that will contribute to my scent and alert the quarry.
Keeping my man scent to a premium will be especially important when deer archery season opens on September 25th. I no longer climb trees and I need to be careful about alerting deer of my presence. I use scent killer, but even that is not perfect. That is why I try to place my ground blind in a location where the wind will not carry my scent to the deer.
When was the last time you fired your hunting guns? Many hunters consider this only necessary with rifles, but shotguns also require practice. I sight in my rifles at the distances I will be shooting and do the same thing with my shotguns. If you fire your shotgun at a target you might be very surprised at its point of impact. With a rifle you can bring the point of impact to the aiming point by adjusting the sights. Not so with a shotgun. Lining things up might require some serious adjustments to your style and even a change to the stock.
The best way to dust off your shotgun skills is to attend a trap shoot or a sporting clays shoot. We have a few of both here in Morning Journal country and shooting at flying targets is a lot of fun. I really like to shoot sporting clays as the diversity of angles comes close to mimicking shots you might take when actually hunting.
One of my favorite sporting clays shoots benefits the Columbiana County Youth Hunter Education Challenge. All proceeds are used to fund the YHEC kids as they practice and compete. The next shoot is on Sept. 5th at the Leetonia Sportsman's Association. The cost is very reasonable and you get 50 birds for $17 and 100 birds for $30. For more information call Jerry at 330-843-8448. It is a great way to have fun and support a good cause.
With getting equipment ready, scouting and practicing with firearms and bows, the next three weeks will fly by. My Latin teacher was right.