The flip of the calendar to August is a reminder that fall is near. If you're a upland hunter like me, now's the time to get ready for the season. Here are some tips:
Get the body ready. In many forms of upland hunting, such as the woodcock and grouse hunting, your legs are as important as your shotgun. Jump start the season by getting the legs in shape by walking or bicycling. If it's been a while since you've strenuously hunted or exercised, and you have a few miles on the body, it's a good idea to have a medical checkup first.
Review your gear. Take an inventory of your shotgun shells. Go over your brush pants, vest, hat and boots to see if anything needs repaired or replaced. In the case of boots, if you need new ones, allow plenty of time to break them in with short neighborhood walks prior to the season.
Purchase your hunting license. Why leave this small detail to the last minute? Even though you can buy your license online in many states now, most times it must be mailed to you. And if procrastinate until the night before the opener you might pay the price by standing in line with others to make your purchase.
Establish and renew landowner relations. A lot of small game hunting happens on private land; don't be the guy knocking on the landowner's door opening morning, wearing your blaze orange cap. Use the preseason to drive the back roads looking for potential hunting spots. Then seek out the owner for permission. onXmaps Premium GPS hunting maps are a great tool for identifying the names of landowners. Also, take a minute to renew relations with other landowners where you have prior permission.
Take target practice. With several weeks remaining until major upland and waterfowl seasons, there's adequate opportunity to get into the swing of things, shotgun shooting-wise. One of my favorite summertime activities is to get together with my sons for impromptu shooting sessions with a hand thrower and a case of clay pigeons. The hand thrower allows us to launch "surprise" targets, better duplicating hunting situations. But regardless of the hardware or the specifics of the activity, any shooting is beneficial.