I got a good laugh today. Deer-hunting camp partner Andy Dulaney of Raymond called to talk about getting ready for deer season this fall at our Holmes County property.

“Man, I guess I’m just getting older, I suppose, but I can’t remember anything,” Dulaney said. “I try to pack up all my tools to take to camp and I end up forgetting stuff I needed but left at home.

“I never seem to have the right tools or hardware I need any more to get a job done.”

I told Andy he just needed to start doing what I have been doing for years now — making lists for everything to be done in the hopes that I don’t lose the lists somewhere in the whole process.

We both had a good laugh, but unfortunately I’m dead serious because, in my case at least, I have to be. At my age I can walk out into the garage to get something and, if I get the least bit distracted by anything along the way when I get to the garage, I’m often left just staring at four walls wondering what I came in there to get.

I sometimes remember days later. 

And we have little to nothing to blame it on either, except a busied life of constant mental work that has taken its toll I suppose. It’s not anything official like dementia or a medical condition; it’s just the reality of the situation.

At work we call it the “small wagon, big load syndrome.”

If that weren’t disconcerting enough for those of us at advancing ages, we notice at an alarming rate how this same issue also occurs with young people. Of course, they have the excuse of brains fried by cell phones, iPhones, iPads, PDAs, GPSs, laptops, tablets, XBoxes, and probably too much junk food. They should have stuck with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. 

The Cure

The good news is that there is a reasonably simple cure for the issue plaguing me and Andy and thousands of other hunters: Just write it down.

I mean literally, although you tech-savvy folks can use your tablets, electronic notepads, and other communication or data-recording gizmos. Personally, us old guys like paper notebooks and ink pens.

You might be surprised just how exciting and creative it can be to write down exhaustive notes using red ink. It is also a strategic move, since you can often spot a red-ink note on white paper in that stack of stuff on your work desk, recliner table or shop workbench.

Just try it.

DO Lists 

Everybody has their own methods of madness, but mine are pretty simple. I start with the big picture first, and then I fill in all the details and blanks.

After a while the list starts to take on a life of its own, and you really know you’re making progress. 

If you own or lease a deer camp, you know there are always projects to do. Just headline one page in your “Do” notebook with “Deer Camp,” and then start down the page with subheads like “Stands,” “Food plots,” “Maintenance,” “Repairs,” “Construction projects” and such.

Under those categories you can add specifics needs like clean stands, spray for wasps, spray weed killer, weed eat access, nail down steps, hang new camo screens, fix door on David Brown stand, etc. 

In the food plots section, attach a blank copy of the aerial map of the whole property with plots outlined. Then make notes on which plots to rotate for new plantings, mowing or disking work. Make a note where you need to test soil or add lime and then detail out the seed-planting plan.

Our club usually add a “To Buy” sidebar list, as well, so we know what stuff to start shopping for as supplier sale ads starting coming out.

Then headline a sheet for personal job tasks and hunting gear. These items might include mounting a scope and bore sighting a new rifle. It could be to get out the hunting pants you snagged on the fence last year to get the wife to sew them up. It might be to polish and waterproof your favorite pair of leather, insulated hunting boots or to hose down the Mucks with a scrub brush.

Be sure to add a supply list to purchase needed stuff like new gloves, another box of ammo or some gun-cleaning solvent.

Next, focus on the hunting cabin, camping trailer or RV. Make a list for yourself and side notes on what to tell others to bring. We’ll need fresh paper products, cleaning supplies, various batteries, trash bags, food staples, BBQ charcoal and lighter fluid to start our camp fires. 

As the summer draws down, we start executing these lists so when opening day rolls around everything is ready to go. We also keep a list near the ffootball watching recliner so that, during the games, you can finalize all work and supply lists and check things off that have been done.

“Do” lists are an easy and effective way to stay ahead of fall hunting preparation. Plus, you never have to recharge them.