Getting ready to hunt before and afterwards is very much like a military operation! First let’s consider your equipment; rifle and ammunition, clothing, ancillary equipment; binoculars/scopes and/or laser rangefinder, knives/sharpener, bipod and/or shooting sticks, rubber gloves (for gutting and skinning) and some sort of bag/carrier for the game. Plus, water and food if it’s going to be a long day and a small medical kit and don’t forget your firearm’s license and written permission from the land owner.
All this needs to be ready to go and in good condition the day before, it’s no good trying to put it all together at 04.00 in the morning!
Clean and zeroed
The rifle needs to be clean and zeroed, if not get to the range beforehand and check it. Make sure you have the correct ammunition and not just to calibre but type and it’s either in your pack or pocket. Equally so if you store your bolt separately, ensure it’s in the rifle before it goes in the bag.
Clothing-wise dress for the season, also the type of hunting. In the winter gloves, hats and stout boots along with warm clothing are essential, for high seat work, but if you are walking then not too much as you will get hot and sweat. Here breathable clothing is the best bet. In the summer you can afford to wear lighter gear, but a lightweight rain suit will not go amiss!
After what is hopefully a successful hunt, it’s time to go home and decompress. The rifle should be cleaned and checked, and the ammunition put away ready for the next time, remember if you use a sound moderator take it off when you put the gun away. If not, you can get moisture build up which will cause rust. Knives need to be cleaned and re-sharpened and any other gear you’ve used cleaned and replenished.
The deer needs to be either hung in the chiller or portioned up in bags and put in the freezer. It’s better to gut the animal in the field and bury the intestines etc. and then skin it at home. Whatever you do, do not leave it un-gutted overnight as it will bloat, which can make for all sorts of interesting problems. With a proper pre and après hunt regime, you and your equipment will always be ready and in top condition!