Proper Gear Stewardship - Here's 7 Commonly Overlooked Care Practices Since Last Season

Proper Gear Stewardship - Here's 7 Commonly Overlooked Care Practices Since Last Season

With the coming of another application season and spring thaw, the weather is warming and your DIY home-improvement projects will soon again be in full swing. Thoughts of mowing the grass and painting the shed will be at the forefront of your mind. Making investments into your loving relationships now so that you can answer the call of the wild later, from honey-do lists to family vacations, you understand the stacked nature of your soon at-hand schedule. But there’s often a lull between the application of a lawn fertilizer and the vibrant green grass that follows, and it is within this lull that one of your last opportunities to fully account for your postseason gear maintenance resides. So, let’s take a look at the seven most commonly overlooked gear-care practices since last season to promote improved stewardship.

Dirty Knives & Multi-Tools

There’s often a warm truck cab to be had that serves as motivation to break down an animal quickly when luck strikes in the late-season. As these types of harvests often involve inclement weather and cold temperatures, getting clean meat bagged and secured to one’s pack frame quickly can mean the difference between yet another freeze-dried meal and a hot dish served by a local diner. Consequently, knives are often sheathed and multi-tools are often folded before they are properly cleaned at the kill site, and understandably so too. So, with an episode of the Built to Hunt podcast queued to assist with your application strategies in 2024, now is your opportunity to clean, re-sharpen, and sterilize these tools that made your postseason field-to-table experiences possible in the first place. 

Bloody Gamebags and Meat Tarps

Perhaps the outside air temperatures were too cold on the homestead to permit soaking your game bags and meat tarp overnight following your last harvest. That or the smell of holiday cookies at the time were simply too enticing and consequently you allowed your gear stewardship to slip. Either way, it’s common for many to neglect the postseason cleanliness of their game bags and meat tarps. So, before the weather warms much further and those honey-do’s take up all of your available time, remember to remove the blood, dirt, hair, sinew and other contaminants from these assets in preparation of the adventures that lie ahead.

Corroded Electronics

It’s a good practice to remove the disposable and rechargeable batteries from many of your electronics wherever possible in the postseason. This is especially the case when your last field outing offered the potential for water intrusion due to heavy rain or snow. By removing the power source and allowing any invasive moisture to dry, you can effectively reduce the potential for corrosion within the electronics (i.e., headlamp, GPS, Steripen, etc.) that would otherwise render it inoperable. There are fewer financial frustrations to have as the new hunting seasons approach than having to place an online purchase with overnight shipping for a piece of gear you already own but neglected to care for properly. So, save yourself a few hundred bucks this summer by removing the disposable and rechargeable batteries now from your electronics to prevent corrosion.

Mildewed Shelters

Late-season pursuits often involve the most inclement of weather as aggressive cold fronts advance onto lower latitudes. Moisture is almost guaranteed during this time of year, both internal and external to one’s shelter, either by condensation or precipitation. Whether the applicable shelter is a 4-season tent, a tipi, or even a simple tarp last pitched to keep snowflakes from accumulating on the lower rim of your spotting scope’s objective lens, it’s critical to the longevity of these assets to ensure that they’ve been properly cleaned and dried in the postseason. Without doing so, mildew can begin to present and other material degradations, such as those that compromise the integrity of the shelter’s waterproofing treatments and overall construction, can begin to compromise.

Unconditioned Footwear

When it comes to footwear, whether one chooses to run with natural leathers or synthetic materials, it’s common to have dried footwear besides a wood stove or other heat source after a long day spent trekking through the elements. Add a successful harvest to the mix just ahead of the holiday seasons, and there’s reason to suspect that some haven’t looked at their footwear since. So, for the ensured longevity of your footwear, don’t procrastinate any longer here. Pull out your trusty footwear, reflect on the remote regions they’ve taken you to prior, and reapply a quality conditioner and waterproofing treatment.

First Aid Kit Resupply

As of last August, your first aid kit was fully stocked and ready to go. But, as the hunting seasons came and went, you likely consumed an asset or two from it in the process. Now is a great time to resupply those bandages and other consumables while ensuring that your medications are dated “best by” through the current year. Pro Tip - Repunch your proficiency with your first aid kit’s life-saving assets such as a tourniquet, Israeli Emergency Bandage, or SAM Splint, both with your dominant and non-dominant hands. Should the unfortunate occur later this year, you’ll be glad you did.

Contingency Pouch Resupply

Much like your first aid kit, it’s likely that various consumables from your contingency pouch (or possibles pouch) were consumed during last year’s adventures. Whether that includes cordage, water purification tablets, fire starting tinder, or other, it’s good practice to perform a thorough inventory and resupply of these assets. Pro Tip - Have a child who thinks the world of you? Break out your signal mirror here and demonstrate to them how to cast a shine on target the first time, every time. They’ll think you're pretty cool and learn a potentially life-saving skill in the process.

So, It’s Time to Head to the Garage

Does any of this ring a bell? Were you a good steward of your gear following your last hunting 

adventure of 2023? What skeletons do you have lingering in your closet or plastic tote that remain to be addressed? Don’t worry if that bell rings loudly within. You certainly aren’t alone. What matters most now is that you get out there and get it done. It won’t be long before the grass turns green and your available time will be spent cutting it again, and again. So, grab that cup of coffee, queue that source of inspiration, give your loved ones a hug, and disappear to the garage for an hour or two. Come this year’s preseason preparations, you’ll be glad you did!

Have a gear-related question we may help you with? Contact us at and our team of Gear Experts would be happy to help!

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