Season's end good time to prepare for next year

Well folks, here we are, winding down the fall hunting seasons. Here in northeast Louisiana we still have rabbit and squirrel season that will end Feb. 29. Our extended goose season will run until March 9. The extended goose season has specific rules and regulations for various areas and states. As always, contact the appropriate conservation agent or department in the area you intend to hunt.

If you get invited to squirrel hunt using a dog this time of year, make an effort to go. A shotgun or .22 rifle will work well for this exercise. I have enjoyed a scoped .22 on these hunts.

While the dog has the squirrel “treed,” the squirrel will most often lie flat on various parts of the tree. As movement on the ground occurs and changes, the squirrel will often move just a little. Often one will have a near perfectly still target. Hence: Fried squirrel, rice and gravy, and just maybe, one more hit of a good cathead biscuit.

Equally exciting is a pack of beagles on the trail of a rabbit. This will require the use of your ol' shotgun. Bear in mind that you don't have to shoot 3-inch #2s or buckshot to kill a rabbit. The same shells we opened dove season with will probably suffice to take ol' Ber Rabbit.

Just go prepared: rubber boots and thick britches. This time of year our part of the world is wet. Rabbits will more than likely be laid up in fence rows and briar patches. This will require the boots and britches.

For those of you that have called it quits until next fall, think about your equipment — ATV and firearms.

The mud and water your ATV or off-road vehicle hauled you and your stuff through might still be on and under the machine. Start by thoroughly washing as much as you can see and get to. Once the mud and/or debris are removed, ride the machine in a fashion to dry the bulk of it off.

Any grease alamites can now be given a light hit of fresh grease. Just as with farm equipment, if you hear or see grease coming out of the seals, expect trouble later.

If the battery is reasonably accessible, check the fluid (acid) level in it. Do not fail to check the differentials. Cloudy fluids will indicate oil and water. Right then is the time to drain and refill. Oil and water will eventually separate, with the water settling to the bottom. This is where rust will occur, costing high-dollar parts and labor bills. Check the air filter.

Now park the machine under the shed and with the gas turned off, let the carburetor run dry.

Firearms also might have taken some punishment. First thing to do is take a firearm apart as far as you mechanically and safely can. See any rust? Find your 3-N-1 oil and an old piece of clean cotton cloth. Please don't just take a can of WD-40 and spray your gun. My experience with WD-40 shows lubrication failure.

Start with smaller internal parts and lightly oil. Working your way to reassembly, make sure no part is reassembled without wiping fingerprints and moisture off. Moisture causes rust.

With the firearm reassembled and holding it by the stock, wipe all exposed metal surfaces with your oily cloth.

For firearms with scopes — especially high dollar scopes — go to your local drugstore or optometrist's office and purchase commercial eyeglass cleaner kits. Ziess markets an excellent kit. Very gingerly, as with a mother's love, clean the ocular and objective lenses of the scope.

A little care of firearms today will ensure that the next hunter might one day show off “Paw Paw's ol' Model 70.”

If you get a chance, take a kid fishing or hunting. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy our outdoors. Some of the best meals and friends are made “at the camp.”

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