We know how it is, the last day of that early spring hunt comes and goes and now you have to wait until fall for the next hunting season to open, so what to do in the meantime to help break up the monotony of ball games and cookouts? While everyone else is mowing lawns and planning summer vacations, there are things you can do to fight off the doldrums that come with waiting for the leaves to change color and fall.
Casting (no, not fishing)
While it might not seem like something that you want to do just after experiencing a heat wave, summer is actually a good time to start getting those bullets cast (that is if you’ve seen the light and are into making your own projectiles).
But why would you want to sweat over a hot stove instead of twiddle your thumbs under the air conditioner? Because now, not when the weather turns, is the best time to get your own bullets made especially if you are going to be using any of them during hunting season. Remember, no cast outside of those made by very expensive machines is perfect (and even calling those bullets perfect is debatable) and, even when you’re get in the zone, you still have to size your bullets, load them and then shoot them to troubleshoot your product. Point is you need time to fix any mistakes that might require you to start all over again and luckily, it seems time is all dedicated hunters have in the summer.
Pulling from the same pot, the summertime is also a really good time to get working on that load for your hotly cast hunting iron. Load development is a funny thing and more often than not you don’t get the results you want on your first run at the range. For my own part, I’ve bore witness to some truly fickle loads that though seemingly straightforward, seem to defy all logic when I fire them out of the rifle I want to use or just won’t come together for anything.
The larger point here is that finding that bullet that shoots accurately in your gun with the right amount of powder in a specific amount is nothing to be rushed. If you take your time with the process, chances are you’ll be able to think through just about any nagging issues with your latest wildcat round.
Broaden your scope
Now is also a great time to mount and sight that scope for your favorite rifle or handgun. I have seen on more than one occasion hunters scrambling to get their gun sighted in at the last minute because the scope they bought is not working out as planned. This is not a detail that you want left to September with opening day breathing down your neck. Get your scope now, get it mounted and get to the range so that you will know it’s ready to go come that first, sacred and sanctioned fall morning.
Another thing you can do during these warm months is to start scouting where you want to be on opening day. A lot of places here in the northeast suffered from Hurricane Irene and the last thing you want to do is wander out and find that tree you keep your stand in every year on the ground (and your stand nowhere in sight). Start setting up your trail cams too and cut any brush that is in the way of your shooting lanes. There is nothing like sitting down on watch for a whitetail only to have a tree limb right in your line of sight, the only alternatives being to work around it or noisily cut the branch, spreading your scent farther. All of these little things are best taken care of now and not at the last minute.
Keep (your kids) on target
Perhaps the best thing that you can do during the long hot summer, and something that you are likely rarely inclined to do during the darkest months of winter, is get in some target practice. Whether it is just some informal plinking or range work on one-inch groups at 50, 100 and 150 yards, there is no better time to get to the range than June, July and August mostly because you can get the whole family involved, turning serious practice into a party. The kids are out of school and the days are long, so make it fun too with a variety of targets that will sharpen your skills and entertain your kids at the same time.
Those long summer days of waiting until hunting season rolls around again don’t have to be devoid of gun related activities which leave you re-reading old magazines and fondling your hunting gear. You can take up that otherwise wasted time by sighting in, loading up, casting some lead and putting it back downrange again before the weather turns cold and those dog days of summer are gone again.