Unless you've been living under a rock, you should be well aware of the current state of our country and the government's requests for us to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. While many people already work from home or are stay at home moms, for those that aren't...it can't be a difficult adjustment to being at home...All. The. Time!
But a quarantine doesn't mean you have to sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day every day (nothing wrong with that though!). There are still plenty of outdoor-related activities you can be doing at home to stay productive and not lose your mind.
1) Electronic Scouting
Pre-season scouting can be helpful when hunting new or different areas, but if you can't get outdoors to get in some boots-on-the-ground time, turn to your phone or computer for e-scouting.
Here are some ways to use the BaseMap app:
Get a birds-eye view of the property to locate wooded areas, open fields, water sources, and possible travel routes
Locate landowner information for that piece of property you've been wanting to hunt but don't have permission for
Plan food plots with the measurement tools, so you can get a realistic ideal of the size and know exactly how much seed you'll need to purchase
Plot out spots for stands, blinds, feeders and cameras
2) Archery Practice and Gear Check
The quarantine is a great time to go ahead and start target practicing and building those muscles for the fall. If the weather cooperates (and hey, a little snow won't stop you!), get out and shoot. Even if you're shooting just a few rounds a day, anything helps. For most of us, it's been a few months since archery season ended...and if you're like me, you haven't picked up your bow since. It's never too early to start.
And while you're at it, check everything out and make sure all of your gear is in good, working order.
Check arrows for cracks or damaged fletchings
If you have any type of electronic sight, make sure the batteries are working
Check broadheads and sharpen if possible
Inspect your string, wax if needed or plan to replace
Make sure your rest is rising/dropping as it should
Check your rangefinder and make sure the batteries are good
3) Gear Inventory and Organization
When one hunting season ends, most of us toss our gear in a closet and forget about it until the next season starts. Well, turkey season is coming up and deer season will be here before we know it. Check your gear now instead of the day before season starts.
Take inventory of your clothes, make sure they fit, don't have holes or other damage (i.e. waterproof pants aren't waterproof if they have rips in them!)
Organize your gloves and make sure you have complete sets
Gather your turkey decoys and make sure you have the stands, fans, etc. that go with them
Find your calls and inspect them for damage; organize them by species (turkey, deer, waterfowl, coyote, etc.) in a divided container
4) Practice Turkey Calling
Calling is one of those things that you have to do over and over to become good. No one is just "great" at calling without practicing. With turkey season coming up, gather your calls and check out some turkey calling videos to try to mimic the sounds. The Turkey Tech app is a great resource and you can find plenty of videos online.
Additionally, if you're used to using one type of call, try something different to increase your skill set. Using a box or slate call is fine, but learning to use a mouth call can help you become more efficient with your turkey hunts since it doesn't require your hands.
5) Catch Up on Reading
Anyone else have a stack of magazines on the coffee table that you haven't gotten a chance to read yet? I definitely do. And as much as I enjoy reading blogs...because I'm always online...I still love reading printed magazines. Our subscription list includes Bugle, Turkey Country, Woods & Water Magazine, Sportsmen's Monthly, Eastman's Hunting, DU Magazine, Just Labs, Sunset...just to name a few.
I'm usually a month or two behind on reading since we get so many, so now is a good time to catch up...especially on Turkey Country!
6) Crafting with Your Outdoor Finds
If you've got a stock pile of feathers or sheds laying around that you planned to do something with when you decided to save them, get to it! There are a ton of craft projects you can do alone or with the kids to pass time. These crafts can be mementos of past hunts, decor for the home or gifts.
Create a shadow box to remember your/your kid's first hunt. Include the spent shell casing, a trophy picture, a feather if it was a bird, etc.
Use feathers to create new wall decor. Place feathers in a frame, a piece of card stock and reattach the backer board; you can add a matte if you have one. I have several of these that I've made with a variety of snow goose feathers and turkey feathers.
It might not be Christmas yet, but making ornaments is a simple craft for anytime. Check out our tutorial for instructions.
Finish up those European mounts or give them a new look with beading, flowers, etc.
Use feathers to make a wreath. If you have a grapevine wreath, add feathers and a bow or wooden initial. There's really no right or wrong way. And if you have enough turkey feathers, make a full wreath using my step-by-step instructions.
7) Try New Recipes
Most people have a list of go-to meals because they are easy, you and your family enjoy them, or you're just out of ideas on what to cook. Now that you're stuck in the house, it's a good time to try something new and different.
Check out our Recipe section for a variety of wild game recipes from the Huntress View team. Most of the recipes use regular ingredients that you'd have on hand, and can be made with any type of wild game meat.
In addition to these 'at home' options, there's still plenty that can be done outdoors and away from home, assuming your local/state governments are still allowing it and haven't cut off access. Shed hunting, turkey season scouting, fishing, discovering new hiking trails are a few activities that can be done alone in the outdoors...or at least 6' away from someone else.
Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting elk, deer, turkey, pronghorn and waterfowl. She is a team member at Huntress View, Pro Staff for Browning Trail Cameras and Brand Ambassador for the GoWild app and BaseMap app. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.