January Clean-Up Time

Joe Schuster | December 29, 2023

Has it really been almost five months since deer season started? My gosh, time really flies! Before we know it, turkey season will be knocking at our doors.

I hope that readers have enjoyed the fall series of this Outdoor Outpost. I also hope that you had a safe and enjoyable deer season. If you were able to drop one, congratulations! You’ll get to enjoy some protein-enriched venison in the near future and maybe even share a pack or two of deer meat to someone in need. If you hunted on someone else’s land, thank them and maybe get them some deer meat, as well.

It’s now time to clean and store whatever you used during the season. You can start with all of your camo and hunting clothes. Use baking soda or a scent-free detergent. Once washed and dried, place them in a storage container to keep them from bugs, rodents and foreign smells. Then work on your firearm or bow. If you have never cleaned a firearm, get an adult that is familiar with the task to assist. If unfamiliar with the gun, make sure that you use the owner’s manual to understand the process.

The first step to cleaning that firearm is to point the muzzle in a safe direction, remove the magazine if it has one and open the action to confirm that it is empty of bullets or shells. Work the bolt, lever or slide several times to confirm. There are a variety of brands that you can use to clean the barrel inside and out. Just remember that every time you place your hands on the blued metal, the oils in your skin can oxidize the metal and rust can begin to form. I like to place a light coat of gun oil on the outside metal and moving parts inside of it.

Next, I like to do a gear check. I noticed when I grabbed my hunting pack recently, that a hole had worn through the bottom of it. Seeing that I needed to replace it meant not losing something out of the hole. Lastly, clean your boots. Knock any accumulated mud and have them ready for your next hunt outing. If you bowhunted like me, it’s time to assess the condition of the bow string, cable and cams. It’s also not a bad idea to have your archery shop make sure all parts are in working order. Many bowhunters wait until just before the archery season to do this and find out that the shop is covered up with hunters wanting the same thing. If you can, do it now. Take a look at the condition of the arrows, fletchings and broadheads. My sons and I like to check our carbon arrow for any splits or cracks and also to refletch them. We also like to check the broadheads for accuracy. You may have missed a shot at a deer and drove that arrow in the ground (well, I did). Sharpen the broadheads and shoot a few arrows to check accuracy.

Prep your gear for next year while you enjoy that hard-earned venison this winter.

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.