You make lists, check them twice … and no, it’s not Christmas, it’s the opening of bird season. Pile stuff in a corner or right into the truck, check off the last training goals. Make plans, book trips. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
Here are 13 reminders that might come in handy somewhere in the field or along the way. Have a great season!
– If your dog is licking all the medicine off a wound, put something tastier on another accessible part of his body.
– As the day goes on and ground heats up, warm air rises from the bottom of draws, valleys, river canyons, creating an uphill or upstream breeze almost everywhere. As the sun rises, hunt from above the best bird hideouts and you’ll help your dog intercept scent as he leads you along a ridgeline or down a draw.
– Do you own a TriTronics Upland G3 Special? Turning on the beeper remotely from the collar is sometimes a sketchy situation. Try this: once you’ve pressed the button on the beeper to turn it on, hold the collar so the prongs on the battery unit face the base of the beeper. Then hit the green button on the handheld transmitter to turn it off.
– The best bedding in an outside dog kennel or house is grass hay. It breaks down slower than straw and makes less dust. Cedar shavings are pretty strong-smelling and might impact a dog’s scenting ability.
– Remove the entrails of shot birds immediately after they’re retrieved to help them cool quickly. In wintry conditions, stuff some snow into the body cavity. Scuff a hole in the dirt and bury the guts – unless your dog is riding in the back of the truck – bird innards are fart fuel.
– When fogged-over shooting glasses leave you stranded in a pea-soup of your own making, turn your hat around. Put the bill in back where it won’t catch your exhaled breath, hang around your glasses, and condense on the lens.
– Burning eyes and fatigue are common early signs of dehydration in humans.
– Having trouble opening that barbed-wire gate? Can’t get the post into the wire loop? Before you pull the gate toward the post that’s anchored in the ground, stretch the top strand of the gate wire by pulling from the middle to stretch it. If that doesn’t help, make sure you’ve put the bottom of the post as far as possible into the wire loop located at ground level. If you’re lucky enough to find a short pole anchored by a length of wire to the nearby post you’re trying to reach, loop it through the gate and apply some leverage.
– All the modern electronic gizmos we take outdoors these days are worthless without instructions, so pack them in your kit as well. Don’t forget your reading glasses either (equally useful when doctoring dogs).
– If you carry one of those Mylar “space blankets” in your survival kit, check it every year for age-related rips. I opened mine once and found that every fold had become a full-length tear. Luckily, it was at home, not in the woods on a cold, rainy night.
– Permethrin is the most effective tick spray, if you use it right. That means applying it to your clothing before you venture out. Hang, spray, and let dry for at least two hours before you put it on. In formulations for clothing, it is not appropriate for dogs.
– Warm up by fueling your internal furnace. Carbohydrates burn fastest, proteins slowest. Best is a snack food that offers both for sustained energy.
– Buy a bandanna. Silk or rayon, get the big ones that real buckaroos wear, available at farm supply and western stores. Keeps your neck – and the rest of your body, in turn – warm. A multitude of other uses around camp from sweatband to oven mitt.