The last days of deer hunting season happen sometime before Jan 7 for me. Some years, I stay ready to hunt until New Years'. Some years I've gone all the way to the late January close of bow season in Ohio. This year, I was off work, so I had plenty of time to get things done early. The freezers were full again by Thanksgiving.
1) The stands need to be stripped of everything down to the paint-- all the blinds pulled in, etc.
2) Deer camp needs to be shuttered. The water needs to be turned off, and antifreeze placed in the traps. Anything of value needs to be removed. Finally, rodentcide is placed in all the right places.
3) The rifles need a thorough cleaning. This takes two weeks. I clean once with Ed's Red, wait a fortnight and then clean again. They then get carted over to my Dad's house for off-season storage. At this time, the turkey shotguns come back home, but they usually stay in their cases all winter.
There is a period of a few weeks where I concentrate on my pistols, maybe hit a few gun shows. I usually watch the NFL playoffs. I usually devote at least one weekend to some thoroughly involving computer game. Late Winter is when I start reloading for the next deer season.
. . . and then the bug hits. An alarm clock goes off in my head and I'm starting to gear up for Spring Gobbler. By the time I open camp back up in late February to early March, I can't wait to get out and start scouting, sizing up the flocks, and looking for a new place to place a blind. I've also got all the material for the spring projects. I finished rehabbing camp in late September 2005. In Early October 2005, I started repairing. There's always something falling apart. This past year, my mother-in-law was doing her slow fade to black so there is a huge backlog of projects for this coming year.
We stay away from camp for no less than 6 weeks in the Winter, and sometimes the weather keeps us away for as long as 12. Turkey Camp lasts from that first visit in late winter until mid-May. I'm usually hunting until the last Sunday. We have 2 weeks after that to finishing the spring projects and put away the turkey gear and then we reopen camp for camping. This is also when we start shooting the deer rifles, and fine-tuning the any new loads for the next Fall.
Our last trip to camp is usually the second weekend in July, and then we stay away, because of the heat. I pull out the boat, and run it up and down the Ohio for a few trips, and when August 8 hits, we're usually back down at camp with a bunch of friends hanging out at the campground-- sometimes as many as 30-40. Somewhere in there I try to have a Class-3 shoot. Somewhere in there I try to fit in a canoe trip or two. All the treestands get decorated with their camo blind and coat of paint as needed.
After Labor Day, we usually close the campground, but continue camping up close to the house; we want to give the woods a rest. Some of our most productive deer property surrounds the campground. On the third weekend in September, we start squirrel hunting.
On the second weekend in October, Yute season opens up, the first firearms season for deer.