Jim Vanek: Gone Hunting 1-24-11 | TheFencePost.com

Jim Vanek: Gone Hunting 1-24-11

Got your resolutions for 2011? You bet! The usual pop into mind first: Let’s get into shape. Just remember that round is a shape.

Now let’s talk about some resolutions for the sportsman/outdoors-person:

Take better, more carefulcareof your equipment.

The older I get, the more I realize how important my boots are. I use Irish Setter boots exclusively. I get mine from Rob and Scott at Redwing Shoes.

Your boots are not just a cash investment. They are also an investment in the future of your feet.

I take care of my Irish Setters with the best products I can find. I recommend Obenauf’s leather oil and Obenauf’s heavy duty leather protector.

Obenauf’s not only helps to keep my feet dry, but it also goes a long way in preserving the leather and prolonging the life of my boots. I generally give my boots an application after each day in the field. A bottle of each lasts me about one hunting season.

Another important piece of gear that I try to take good care of is my gloves. I use Bob Allen shooting gloves. They are a very soft supple leather that really conforms to your hand and fingers. That is important in a good shooting glove.

After a day in the field handling pheasants, grouse or quail that have been mauled by a .12-gauge shotgun and/or your dog, my Bob Allens have taken a real beating.

My shooting gloves last much longer if I treat them with Armor All leather care. You can purchase this product anywhere car-care products are sold. I have found that it works wonders on my leather shooting gloves. I treat my gloves at least once a week during the hunting season.

Firearms maintenance should be at the top of your resolution list. Take care of them and they will take care of you.

I tried shooting a Benelli Ultra light shotgun for one year because it was supposed to require less maintenance, and it was two pounds lighter than my Browning.

It was the wrong choice. The Benelli’s operating system is an inertia system that kicked like a mule. A day of gunning with it, and my shoulder felt like I had pitched an 18-inning baseball game.

My good friend, Brad Self at Garretson’s Sports sold me Browning’s new Maxus .12-gauge shotgun. It is also advertised as being lighter and needing less maintenance.

The Maxus has a gas operating system and the recoil is much more gentle than the Benelli. As for the maintenance, it is as advertised, as well.

I have taken a couple of extended hunting trips this past fall, and my Maxus has never let me down. I highly recommend Browning’s new Maxus shotgun.

I continue to clean my shotguns each time I return home from a hunt. Many, many years ago, I called the Browning service center in Arnold, Mo., and had them recommend cleaners and lubricants.

Their recommendation was Shooter’s Choice Extreme Clean Bore Solvent and FP-10 Lubricant Elite. The bore cleaner has a terrible odor to it, but it does work very well. I have found these online at Cabela’s in Nebraska.

I also use and recommend M-Pro 7 Ultimate Gun Lubricant and G-96 Complete Gun Treatment. I purchase mine from Brad at Garretson’s.

Keeping your equipment clean and in good shape is a great way to start the new year. I would like to recommend one more resolution to leave you with: Clean up after yourself in the field.

The bottom line for the resolutions of 2011: Let’s keep our gear and the environment that we play in as clean as we possibly can.