ArdMoor's Managing Director and outdoor expert, Anthony Stodart, gives us his top tips for prepping your shooting clothing and kit so that it's ready for action this season.
We like to think that preparing for the coming season is all part of building the anticipation of what's to come. Thus we thought we would share some pointers to help you be prepared and to save any last minute panics.
The shooting clothing and kit
It sounds simple but it is likely that you might not have worn your shooting breeks or jacket since your last day’s shooting at the end of last season. Whilst you might think that you are still the same size, it is worth trying on all your shooting kit to make sure it still fits! In doing so you might recall that there was something you wanted to get fixed or replaced before this season starts giving you plenty of time to still do so.
Likewise there are invariably things that get put away at the end of last season that you are going to need. In the meantime, they could easily have been used or “borrowed” by the next generation and not returned to their “safe place”! Thus, make sure that your cap, gloves, boots, boot bag, boot socks (if you use them), ear defenders, glasses and hip flask are all where you expect them to be.
The gun and accessories
You might not have used your gun for some time. Like any sport, it is worth warming up those muscles in preparation for the season so get your gun out of the safe and practice your mount to remind your muscles what it feels like to get your gun into the right place again.
Your gun will have been well oiled when it was put away at the end of the season but, whilst you have it out for your warm up, give it a further clean to remove excess oil and make sure everything is in good working order. Use snap caps to protect your firing pins whilst checking they still work. Whilst cleaning it, make sure you have plenty of oil etc for the season.
Have you got the cartridges you are going to need? Particularly relevant if you use a different load for early season partridges to what you might have used for the late season high pheasant. Have you also got non-lead shot for any wildfowling or duck flighting?
Check your cartridge belt and bag have “wintered” well. They will hopefully have been cleaned and “fed” at the end of last season if they are leather and, if they are, then worth giving them another dose of a leather treatment such as Harkila Leather Cream or Laksen All Natural to make sure they remain supple and are in a good state for the start of the season.
The gun dog
Aside from your own muscle memory, your dog might not have retrieved anything for 7 or 8 months and, despite being supremely well trained, that training can be forgotten and that selective deafness can return with a vengeance on the first day of the season! It is well worthwhile refreshing their training and honing their skills to save embarrassment and to protect your voice! Worth also looking out their towel and travel bed etc so that they are also to hand.
You should now be all set for the coming season and we hope you have many great days out in our fantastic countryside. Needless to say, should you discover you need any replacement kit then look no further than our shooting collection.