It sure is hot outside with summer only beginning to round the curve towards winding down. As a result of the oppressive heat, it is much easier to hide indoors, soaking up the air conditioning, than working outside to prepare for a successful rabbit season. Tempting though it may be, it is time to dig up the motivation and get to work making preparations if you have not do so already. Rabbit season will be here before you know it, after all.
Photo: Northern Tier Outfitters
One of the most important things to maintain over the warmer months is the condition of your rabbit dogs. Much like you, it is possible that they will want to take it easy during the heat, but failing to properly exercise them can result in overweight, out of shape dogs. Part of keeping your dogs in good condition may include a change in food during the summer to a lower level of fat and protein which will help avoid excessive weight gain. The off season is also a good time to make sure your pack is up to date on vaccinations and other cares so that they will be ready on opening day. Don't forget to repack your canine first aid kit, replenishing anything you used last season and replacing anything that might have expire. Also, if you have young dogs, be sure to take them out and get them used to running, breaking them of the habit of running deer if necessary.
With your dogs in order, it becomes time to get yourself in order. This means having good quality, functional gear and a clean gun that is ready to go. Ensure that your hunting vehicle is operational as well as that you've secured your hunting license in plenty of time for the season to start. If your boots wore out last season, got ahead and replace them in time to get them broken in so your feet don't hurt in the field. If camouflage needs to be waterproofed, you might as well knock that out, too. Once your gear is good to go, be sure to check your dogs' gear. Collars, leashes, name plates, etc. should all be in good, reliable condition before you hit the field.
Photo: Michigan Sportsman
As the off season dwindles to a close, be sure to make plans for where you intend to hunt. Should you have a place picked out, go out and visit the area to make sure all is as it should be. Things like downed trees, heavy rains, controlled burns, or mudslides could have changed the terrain on which you plan to hunt, and it is best that these changes do not come as a surprise to you at the last minute.
Lastly, dust off your gun and go shooting. Even the best shooter can use a little warm up before the season starts, so visit a shooting range in your area and put in some practice time. If nothing else, it serves as recreation, enjoyment, and relaxation for most of us to go shoot.
While much of this may be old news to a seasoned hunter, we can all use a reminder from time to time. Do you have any preparatory tips you would like to add? Are you and your rabbit dogs ready for the season to begin or do you have a few more tasks to check off beforehand? Let us know in the comments!