Another waterfowl season is over, except for those few hardy souls who brave the harshest elements in pursuit of sea ducks.

But before you hang up the waders and put the guns in the cabinet, there are a few chores you might want to attend to. Some will make next season’s preparation a lot easier. Others could save you considerable aggravation and even money. All are also a good hedge against postseason withdrawals.

If you have not already done so, give your fowling piece a good cleaning. Start by running a brush down the barrel to clean away burnt powder and other residue. Next, switch to patches soaked in solvent. Let it sit in the barrel for a while, then follow up with dry patches, running them through until they come out clean. Then run a patch with oil or other synthetic lube down the barrel. If you really want to be meticulous, drop the trigger assembly out by removing two pins, and give it a good cleaning and lube job.

Next, round up all those stray shotshells. That old saw that “They don’t make ’em like they used to” definitely applies to shotgun shells. Loads may be more effective but the brass bases contain less copper and are more susceptible to corrosion if left in jacket pockets or shell loops. Take them out and wipe them down. You may also consider a light coating of gun oil or lube. Then put them back in the original box, if you still have it, or in another container.

Now for your decoys, which can take quite a beating over the course of the season. Check all the lines and replace any that are frayed or suspect. You’ve almost certainly lost a few decoy anchors. Don’t wait until the night before opening day to replace them. Do it now.

Look for pellet holes. They may be hard to see on plastic decoys, which are somewhat self-healing, but you can often tell by the sound of water sloshing around inside. A little hot glue or epoxy should solve that issue. Some of your blocks might need a little touch-up on the paint job, too. If you have wood or cork decoys, the process is a little more complicated. Fill in dents and gaps with water putty or foam insulation, then smooth with a rasp and touch up with paint.

Apparel is an often overlooked category on the postseason check-list. Now is the time to patch leaky waders, especially if you intend to break them out next spring for fishing. You should also give your waterproof-breathable outerwear a good cleaning. Dirt and grime build up on the surface, reducing their water repellant capabilities.

Next on the list are your water crafts. Motors should be winterized by running old fuel out and fogger in. Otherwise, ethanol-based fuels will separate and can foul carburetors. And don’t forget to put stabilizer in your fuel tanks. If you have portable tanks, empty them and use the fuel for other things like snowblowers and ice augers.

Last but by no means least is all the stuff in your blind bag. Take out the granola bars, banana bread and apples you brought along but never ate while you can still recognize what they are. Round up the rest of your stray shells and attend to as noted above. Clean the dirt, seeds and lint out of your calls and replace reeds as required.

That should cover most but not all of your postseason chores. It’s OK to leave a few items unattended to because last-minute preparation is part of the process we all must go through when next season rolls around. Meanwhile you’ve got plenty of time to think about what new items you’ll want to add to your arsenal.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered Maine guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]