By: Tom Claycomb

Time will tell if the Coronavirus is as dangerous as they’re saying it is, but in the meantime, there’s plenty for the gun nut to be doing during lockdown. Here are nine things that pop into my mind right away:

If you haven’t cleaned your guns after last hunting season, before you threw them in the gun safe, now is a good time to do so. This one is fresh on my mind. Today my wife and I were going fishing out in the boonies, and I told her to grab her pistol. Wow! she pulled it out of her drawer, and it was all rusted up. It looks like a cup of water was poured on it and stuck in the holster before it got put away. The weird deal is, it is a stainless revolver. Not a clue what happened, but I’ve got some major work to do to fix this one.


Hopefully you don’t discover anything this drastic, but even if not, you need to clean and oil your gun good before putting it away for the season…or getting it out for the next one.

Why wait until the weekend before deer season to sight in or test out some new ammo? What if you have to work that weekend? Or, what if it is raining? Why not do it now so you’re good to go?

Or, what about testing the pattern on you turkey shotgun? Or, testing out some new shells so you’re ready for the upcoming turkey season? The possibilities are endless.

If you’ve got a gun project you’ve been putting off, why not do it right now? I’m about to trick out a Ruger 10/22. I’ve got a Boyds Stock, Riton Optics 4-16×50 scope, a bunch of Federal, CCI, and other ammo to shoot through it, and a Ruger trigger to install. I will have it completed in time for my spring ground squirrel hunts if I start now.

What is cooler than a leather holster? I just received an Alien Gear ShapeShift shoulder holster that is leather. You don’t want something that cool to get dry and cracked, do you? And what about your cowboy boots and hunting boots? A good pair will last for many years if you oil them and take care of them.

In the old days, we used Neatsfoot Oil. Then later we started using Lexol. Those are the two oils I still use. If you take care of your leather items and keep them oiled, they should take care of you.

I’m not saying clean it out just to be cleaning it out, but don’t let your wild game meat get old in your freezer. I love deer meat. Just this week, Tuesday, we ate backstrap, Wednesday deer sausage and sauerkraut, Thursday, smoked BBQ shoulder, Friday, leftover sausage and sauerkraut, and Saturday deer hotdogs. I’ve been in the beef industry nearly all of my life and can get some of the best beef in the country, and deer meat is still my most favorite meat. Why waste it by letting it get freezer burned and old?

Here is what I mean by this: I think you need to keep an outdoor journal every year. Here’s why this is important: I live in Idaho. January, February, and March are slow. At least slow for Idaho. Yes, there is ice fishing, cougar hunting, wolf hunting, and varmint hunting going on, but when spring hits, it is magical. Crappie fishing gets red hot. The last few years, my daughter and I have been netting more than 200 every trip. Ground squirrel hunting is in full blast. On a good day, you can get 400-500 shots. Turkey are lovesick and wanting to die. Bear season is on. We have great bear hunting here. Mushroom hunting is going full throttle, too. Dang, there’s only 24 hours in the day.

If you keep a short log book. You can look at last year’s log book and remember exactly what week you did what, where you were successful, and what gear you used, so you’re not late for anything.

In many states, the big game drawing has already started. Don’t get caught sleeping and miss a drawing you’ve been wanting to put in for. When I draw a tag, I always call MyTopoMaps and order a map for that specific area.

Now for a couple of off-the-wall bonus activities:

While everyone else is home in bed sick or biting their fingernails in the corner of their basement paralyzed in fear, go out and scout for new hunting spots for the upcoming season.

I know, I know, I’m horrible, but like an old college buddy, Andrew Ottaway, used to say, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” Ok, being a little serious, if you’re off work, you might as well get out and do some scouting. I was out today and found a small group of bighorns in a weird spot.

Why put off that list of honey do’s only to have her pop it out on opening day of bear season? Or the very day that the crappie turn-on. That’s not very good planning on your part. Tell her to look at you as a contractor. You have openings right now, but are booked September to the end of November (Let me know how that conversation goes).

Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.