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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Last-month preparations for dove and teal season

Even though it is hotter than a $2 pistol outside, dove and teal season will be here in a month.

If you are like me, you may be famous for last-minute preparations. Do yourself a favor and start preparing now so that you won’t be fumbling around the day before the opener to get things done.  Here is a quick checklist to make sure you are ready:

1. Make sure your dog is ready  
If you plan on hunting with a dog this season, be sure to spend the next month getting him into shape.  A few retrieves on land and a few in water 4-5 times a week will help build up his stamina and make the season more enjoyable for you as well as for your dog.  You will also want to make sure that your dog has been properly introduced to birds as well as to gunfire.

2. Practice your shooting
Fido might not be the only one who isn’t in perfect form this time of year.

Go ahead and pull out the ole’ shotgun and head to the skeet range. A couple of rounds of skeet or sporting clays will help you to knock off the rust and will also let you know if your gun is functioning properly.  A little bit of practice will likely give you an advantage over your buddies and have them complimenting your skills.

3. Gear check
Check the decoys, mojos, waders, boots, and hunting clothes. Check to insure that your shotgun has a plug and will only hold two shells in the magazine and one in the chamber.  Make sure that your favorite hunting pants still fit (sometimes mine mysteriously sharing in the offseason) and that there are no holes in your boots or waders. If you are planning on using an ATV or boat to get to your destination, check to make sure that they are full of fuel and running as desired.  Also, be sure that you have plenty of shotgun shells for the season since it would be hard to hunt with no shells.

4. Be sure you have purchased all of the proper licenses and tags
This will include a hunting license (HIP Certified), federal and state waterfowl stamps, and any boat or trailer registrations that may have expired since last season.  A big fat ticket is not a good way to start off the season, so be sure to keep it legal.

In hunting and in life, a little preparation goes along way. When making plans for eternity, I trust Jesus and he handles the rest. When it comes to opening day, He expects us to take care of the details.

I may have forgotten a few things, but this list is a good start. May God bless your hunting season.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.