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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — Time for duck season cleanup

Duck season in Texas has finally come and gone. For many of us it started way back in September with early teal season, followed by a first split opener in November and a second one in December.

The results for this year seemed to be very dependent on the exact location you were hunting. Heavy rains and flooding across various parts of the state resulted in lots of places for a duck to land so the birds were pretty scattered.

For some hunters it was a banner season, while others were left wanting.
If you are like me, regardless of this year’s results, you will be chomping at the bit to go again when the 2021 season begins.

In order to have a great “next year” it is important to take care of all of your hunting gear in the off season this year.
First, please note that this is no time to procrastinate. Your gear will last much longer if you clean it up and get it out of the elements in a hurry!

To help you get started, I’ll share a few things that we do around the Johnson house.
1). Put the duck decoys in the decoy shed.
By leaving decoys outside, you will shorten not only their longevity but also diminish their effectiveness. Decoys fade quickly when left in the sun so rinse them off if they are dirty and hang them indoors. All of our decoys are Texas rigged so we simply put them on a carabiner and hang them on a hook.
2). Clean your gun and any loose shells.
During the season, we typically spray our guns with rem oil and wipe them down after each hunt. After the season is over, it is a great idea to break them down and give them a deeper cleaning before storing.

Remember to wipe down any loose shells that may be in the bottom of your shell bag with an oily rag. Left unattended, shells that have gotten damp will likely rust and be unfit for use by the time the next season rolls around. If you haven’t noticed, ammunition is hard to find and the prices are going up so be sure to take care of what you have.
3). Winterize your boat.
If you are going to be parking the ole duck rig until next season, be sure to take the necessary steps to insure it will be ready when it is needed again.

It is often a good idea to unplug the fuel lines or shut off the fuel valves and run the engine out of gas. Adding stabil or similar products to the gas is also a wise decision.

Today’s ethanol gas will likely gum up your fuel lines, carbs, or injectors if no preventative measures are taken. This is also a great time to flush your outboard motor with fresh water.
4). Don’t forget your four legged friend.
If you have a retriever that you hunt with, don’t simply abandon him until next season and think all is well. The off season is a great time to work on any areas that need improving and to build an even stronger bond with your dog.
5) Take care of your waders
Waders are expensive and they never seem to last long enough. In fact, I almost never have a pair that doesn’t leak at all. Nonetheless, hinging them upside down in a cool dry place will help them last longer than leaving them wadded up in the bottom of your boat.

A little extra attention will go a long way.
As always, I am a little bit sad to see duck season gone for now but it is comforting to know that in 8 months I’ll be shooting teal once again.
Don’t forget that once you put the duck gear up, it’s time to break out the fishing gear. Living in Texas, we simply transition from one outdoor adventure to another. May God bless Texas!