How To Properly Store Hunting Gear Until Next Season
Let’s take a deeper look at how to properly store all of your hunting gear and equipment until next season.
Once the hunting season or year is done, many hunters take some time to reflect on how their season went. They begin looking forward to the next season, which includes planning and preparing. As the next season might be months down the road, a great place to start preparing is properly storing your hunting gear so that it is ready for the following season.
To properly store your hunting gear for the next season, be sure to wash and clean all clothes, footwear, and other hunting accessories. Take adequate inventory of all equipment and make a list of next season’s wants and needs. Finally, store the gear and firearms safely in a temperature-controlled area.
Now, this might seem like a lot of work for just wrapping up a long hunting season, but when next season comes around, you will be thankful that you did. Let’s take a deeper look at how to properly store all of your hunting gear and equipment until next season.
Sorting & Cleaning Hunting Equipment
After your hunting season, take a weekend and dedicate it to taking care of your hunting gear and all the other equipment you might use while hunting.
First, start by sorting out all of your gear and equipment. This means all your clothing, outerwear, hats, gloves, boots, and all the equipment you take out with you into the field for hunting. Once you have gathered all your gear, you can start the sorting process.
There is no one right or wrong way to sort your gear. Use a system that works best for you as an individual. This means that you could be sorting your clothes by the season in which you use them and sorting out equipment into piles of calls or things that you keep in your hunting pack. This might be a small task, or for others, this could be a much bigger task depending on the type of hunting you do.
This is a great time to check for anything torn, broken, or in need of replacement. Having a notepad or making a list of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced can help you prepare for next year.
Make sure that you wash all of your hunting clothes and outerwear to make sure that they are clean and free of anything that might have bacteria or mold while in storage for the rest of the year. Wash them in a good scent-free detergent or your favorite hunting clothes detergent. After washing them, the best bet for scent control would be to hang dry them somewhere they won’t be around a lot of odors you wouldn’t want to take into the field with you.
Once all your hunting clothes are dry and moisture free, fold them and organize them into the different seasons that you wear them or whatever scheme you choose. Do not treat them with scent control spray or any other additives you might use on your hunting clothes. Leave them as is before storing.
Remember, you will want to rewash them before the season when you take them out of storage. The idea here is to eliminate anything that could damage or ruin your clothes while in storage while maintaining good scent control.
A little side note on footwear is not just to throw them in the corner of the closet and forget about them for the year. Clean your footwear up well. Make sure to remove all dirt, debris, and moisture from them to get them ready for storage with the rest of your hunting gear.
Thoroughly check your hunting accessories and anything else you might take out into the field with you. This includes optics, tools, calls, ropes, or anything else you might stick in your hunting pack throughout the year. If you are a backcountry hunter, this might be much more equipment than the average Midwest hunter who hunts from a treestand.
Check and clean all equipment to ensure that exposure to the elements does not turn into rust or has caused damage you were unaware of. No hunter wants to find himself needing to make a last-minute purchase of equipment right before next season. It is also a good idea to remove batteries from anything like flashlights and rangefinders to avoid battery corrosion during storage.
Firearms and Other Weapons Accessories
Not to be neglected during the cleaning process are firearms or any other means by which you harvest animals. Inspect and clean your firearms well, ensuring that no dirt and moisture will corrode them during storage. The same goes for bows and crossbows. Inspect them, clean them, and wax the strings well before putting them into storage after the season.
If you find any issues with your equipment while preparing them for storage, take them to be looked at by a trained professional.
This is also an excellent time to take inventory of any ammunition, arrows, bolts, or broadheads you might need for next season. Treat these as you would your firearm.
Storing Your Hunting Equipment
Most hunters have some type of system, or what they think is a system, for storing their hunting equipment. However, let’s make sure that what you are doing is actually helping you rather than hindering you.
Do you know exactly where you will store all of this equipment for the months that it is not in use? Having a designated area that is temperature controlled to store all of your equipment is a vital must. This could be a spare closet, a basement, or even an area of the garage. Temperature and moisture control will be the biggest thing to pay attention to when storing your hunting gear until next season.
Hunting Clothes and Other Weapons Accessories
Now that your clothes are cleaned, dried, and sorted properly, it is time to put them into storage. There are a variety of ways to do this. Some like to vacuum-seal their hunting clothes, while others have simple duffle bags or storage containers they put them in. There are now also scent-controlled bags and closet lockers available for purchase that are great for storage as well.
Vacuum-sealing and storage containers work well together. They keep moisture, insects, and rodents away from the clothes, and containers are easily labeled and stored. Vacuum sealing shrinks clothes down for storage and helps ward off any unwanted moisture that clothing tends to attract in storage. It is best to include a smaller container for your hunting boots as well.
Make sure you are not putting any additives in the vacuum-sealed bags. Cedar chips and other scent additives might seem like a good idea, but after months of marinating, the smell is overwhelming and out of place in the field. If you want to add anything, there are scent-free dryer sheets that can help with scent control and moisture.
If your garage is your only option, we highly suggest using vacuum-sealed bags and plastic containers to keep garage smells and airborne chemicals from absorbing into your hunting clothing. Be aware of any odors that you don’t want in the field with you and plan accordingly.
Finally, make sure you label your sealed bags and containers well so you can easily find what you need come next season.
Monitor temperature and humidity
Before securing them in a safe, remember hunting accessories store better in smaller plastic containers that are labeled well. These are easy to store in most gun safes, and you can fit quite a bit of hunting accessories in various small containers.Invest in some moisture absorbent gel packets or well-sealed plastic containers to avoid moisture.
Again, be sure to remove batteries to avoid corrosion and take care to safely store delicate items such as binoculars, rangefinders, and calls.
Firearms and Other Weapons
When storing firearms, be sure to store them under lock and key in a quality gun safe to not only keep the weapon from being accessed by those you wish not to have access to, it can also help prevent exposure to fluctuating temperatures and moisture conditions that can wreak havoc on a firearm and ammunition. And the best part of a quality gun safe is, It will last a lifetime and then some for the following generations.
As for crossbows and other bows, store them safely in their case and lock the case. Then store the case in a temperature-controlled area.
Come up with a system that works for you. Clean, inspect, organize, and smartly store all of your hunting gear to gain longevity and peace of mind from year to year. Not everyone will have the perfect place to store their equipment, but if you take our advice, any hunter can properly store their hunting gear for the next season.
Author Patrick Long
Patrick is a lifelong hunter who mainly chases whitetail, but also enjoys duck and turkey hunting. He has hunted game in various states through the U.S. and always enjoys hunting in new areas with new people. Patrick usually prefers his .308 while in the stand but is also an avid bow hunter. Patrick is the author of Omega Outdoors (omegaoutdoors.blog) where he regularly publishes his hunting experiences, insights and expertise. He is credited on many other websites. When he’s not in the great outdoors hunting, he’s writing as much as possible.
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