Preseason To-Do List

The master guide to hunting readiness.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Of course you'll sight in your gun, tune your bow, put up your stands, and do some scouting. But even with the major chores taken care of, there's more to do than just sit around and daydream about crisp fall mornings.

This is the time to sweat the details-those small but important tasks that have a way of piling up quickly in the days before the opener. Use this checklist to make sure you're fully prepared when the season rolls in:

  • Get all licenses and tags.
  • Visit the landowner where you hunt. Make sure the property hasn't been sold and that you still have permission. Bring a gift or help out with some farm chores. Pay the lease fee if required.
  • Make repairs at deer camp. Assign responsibilities for food and supplies.
  • Put in fall food plots. Now is the perfect time to plant crops such as wheat, oats, rye, clover, brassicas like rape, and Austrian winter peas.
  • Locate nearby meatcutters who process deer. Note their contact information and hours of operation.
  • Get a checkup if you're over 40 and haven't had one lately. Start an exercise regimen.
  • Wash hunting clothes in unscented soap and store it in a plastic bag.
  • Break in any new hunting boots.
  • Assemble all your gear, check it over, and repair or replace any items that are worn-out or broken.
  • Arrange time off work for crucial dates like opening day or the peak of the rut.
  • Put fresh batteries in flashlights, cameras, your GPS unit, etc.
  • Buy new scent supplies.
  • Get fresh topo maps and up-to-date aerial photos.
  • Sharpen your field-dressing knife.
  • Put all your gear in one handy place, such as a large plastic storage box. Better yet, arrange it neatly in your hunting pack.

Now you can daydream.