Prepare for the fall


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Aug 30, 2023

Prepare for the fall

Though it's too hot to be outside, you can satisfy your outdoors cravings with indoors activities that will serve you afield when the weather improves. RELOAD AMMUNITION Unless you go early in the

Though it's too hot to be outside, you can satisfy your outdoors cravings with indoors activities that will serve you afield when the weather improves.


Unless you go early in the morning or late in the evening, it's too hot to be at a shooting range right now, and it's too hot to play shotgun games. However, torrid weather is a great opportunity to custom load ammunition for your rifles and handguns, and to replenish your supply of shotgun target ammunition.

Factory ammunition for your hunting rifles is relatively inexpensive, but there is no guarantee that your rifle will shoot even the most premium ammunition accurately. Really, there is no guarantee that it will shoot at all. A hunting buddy and a member of my hunting club bought a box of Nosler ammunition for his rifle. That's very expensive ammo, some of the best there is. A high percentage of his cartridges were duds. He does not trust them to discharge during a hunt.

Another friend, during a 16-gauge only duck hunt in Arkansas County, bought a box of premium HeviShot cartridges to use with his vintage Belgian Browning Sweet Sixteen. Several of those $6 shells were so undercharged that they did not have sufficient power to discharge the payload from the bore. Had he fired a second shot with any of them, it would have destroyed his barrel.

When you reload your own cartridges, you have absolute control over every component. Not only that, but you can experiment with powders, primers and bullets to find the combination that works best for your rifle.

Reloading metallic cartridges is easy. The expense is in the startup cost. You need a press and a powder scale to measure your charge. You also need reloading dies for your specific cartridge, whether it be 30-06 Springfield, 270 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor. You need powder, primer and bullets.

Finally, you need a dedicated spot to mount your press. If you have room, you can build a special reloading bench which can also serve as a storage area for your reloading components. If your home is small, you can fabricate a collapsible reloading bench that you can store in a corner.

New and novice reloaders often make the mistake of loading large lots of a single load. If it isn't accurate, it's a big job to deconstruct the loads and start over.

I recommend loading five rounds per load. For example, say you're loading 7mm Remington Magnum with a 162-grain Hornady Interlock. Start with a middle-powered load in your reloading manual and increase your powder charge by a half-grain. You will probably find that the milder loads are most accurate. They are also more than suitable for whitetailed deer.


Tying flies gives a fly fisherman the satisfaction of catching trout with self-created lures. It is also a meditative pastime to do when extreme heat and extreme cold make it unpleasant to fish.

As with reloading, you only need a few tools. You need a vise to hold your project while you work. You need thread, feathers, chenille and tinsel to create the body and appendages. Serious fly tyers have dedicated fly tying benches, but you can clamp a vise almost anywhere.

The selection of patterns is endless. You can narrow your selection by tying patterns that are traditionally successful in Arkansas streams and rivers. Scuds, sowbugs, various midges, nymphs, worm imitators, grasshopper imitators and mayfly imitators common to Arkansas will catch trout, panfish and bass.


After duck season, hunters usually stuff their decoys in a bag and stash them in a corner, but now is an opportune time to get them ready for fall.

Wash and scrub your decoys with a brush. Retired toothbrushes dislodge dirt from contours and creases. If your decoys are faded, you can rejuvenate them by applying touchup paint. Many decoys have drab paint jobs, but duck plumage in the winter is brilliant. Apply bright but not glossy paint to the heads of mallard drake decoys, and also to the gray backs and goldenrod colored bills. Ducks in flight only have birds-eye views of your decoys, so you accentuate the features they can see from above.

Now is also a good time to deep-clean your waterfowling shotgun. Disassemble it, remove all fouling with brushes and patches and lightly oil. A Bore Snake removes fouling from the barrel.

Remove your choke tube. Clean the threads with a toothbrush. Do the same with the threads in the bore. Apply a small bead of choke tube grease and reinstall. Without maintenance, a combination of heat, pressure and moisture will weld a choke to a bore, requiring great effort and expense to remove it. A stuck tube also ensures that your gun is only useful for a single waterfowl application.

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