Outfitter Tips: Storing Your Hunting Gear for the Winter

Another Wyoming hunting season has passed and we want to thank all of our hunters for a fantastic year of elk, mule deer and antelope hunting! While we were busy organizing gear and closing up our camps for the winter, we thought we’d share some tips that will help your gear stay in better condition and last longer.

As your hunting season comes to a close, there is a good chance that your gear is covered with a season’s worth of dirt, dust or mud. These elements can be highly corrosive and it is important to properly care for your gear at the end of each season. Don’t put them away for the winter without careful inspection.

Start by making sure that all of your gear is as clean as possible. For example, carefully clean your binocular and rangefinder lenses with a clean lens cloth and wipe the outside surfaces with a damp cloth or paper towel. A can of compressed air can help blow sand and dust out of the focus rings and any other moving parts.

Follow the same routine with other pieces of hunting gear like shooting sticks, game carriers, calls and so on. Use a damp cloth to wipe them clean, and let them dry completely before storing.

Of course cleaning your weapon should go without saying. Don’t forget to properly care for your rifle stock, wax your bow string and take any other steps to make sure that your weapon is in good shape following a season’s worth of abuse.

Hunting backpack with a rifle and baseball cap laying on it in the sagebrush

Next, do not neglect clothing and outerwear. This may require more than simply running it through the washing machine. Materials like Gore-Tex and other types of rain gear require special care.

You will want to wash them in a Gore-Tex safe detergent and then apply a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Most waterproof and water resistant items are treated with a DWR finish at the factory. After using them each season, it’s a great idea to re-apply a new DWR coating. This is what helps precipitation bead and roll cleanly off the garment.

DWR treatments are made by a number of companies and can be found at most sporting goods retailers. Some are made specifically for hard-shell rainwear like Gore-Tex, while others are designed for soft-shell use. Make sure you choose a product that is suitable for each piece of your clothing system.

Finally, make sure your hunting boots are clean and cared for. We recommend using a boot cleaner that’s safe and specifically recommended for your type of boots, whether that’s leather, synthetic or a combination. Cleaning and treating leather boots after the season is particularly important. Dirty boots left unattended over the winter can dry and crack. This will shorten the life of your boot and will certainly diminish their performance in the filed.

If you have questions about hunts with SNS Outfitter & Guides, please visit our website. You may also request a free brochure, or call us anytime at 307-266-4229. See you in 2014 for another great season of antelope, elk, bear and mule deer hunting here in Wyoming!