In-between casts it hit me: hunting season is just around the corner, and I haven’t touched my duck boat in months. The same thing happened last year, and I neglected to get prepped until mere days before the shooting began. That was a big mistake, and I learned plenty from it. Before time slips away, make sure you check out these imperative items:
1. When’s the last time you ran that outboard? Don’t let it sit for months on end without cranking it over and letting it run until warm, at least once every four weeks. Otherwise, the seals and impeller can dry out while it sits.
2. Have you washed the boat? This may seem unimportant, but when you rinse away the dirt you may discover (as I did last year) that the camo has been chipped or scratched in some spots. Naturally, the exposed bare metal is bound to be exactly where the sun will shine – and create a glaring reflection for the birds to spot from afar.
3. Have you filed the prop? If you’re anything like me, you run aground every other time you enter the marsh. As a result, the prop constantly gets dinged and notched. Filing the blades of the prop to make them as smooth as possible will reduce vibrations, and increase cruising speed.
4. Have you checked your running lights? Nothing’s worse than arriving at the boat ramp at zero-dark-early on opening day, only to discover that a mouse chewed through the wires.
5. Have you checked your trailer bearings? It goes without saying you should give ‘em a shot of grease, but you should also give ‘em a hairy eyeball and make sure no rust has formed in there, while the trailer sat during the off-season.
Now: let’s not forget about the blind, the decoys, the decoy bags, the dog, the camo jackets and pants, the waders, the guns and gun cases, the rangefinder, the binos, and so on, and so forth. Get ‘em all set, well ahead of time, and you’ll be ready to show up at the ramp on opening day - hopefully, you’ll remember to bring the ammo.