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Last Minute Changes

By Craig Gillock

It’s three weeks before you’re supposed to leave for the hunt you’ve spent the last ten months planning. You’ve got your gear ready, a bunch of waypoints marked on OnX, and you’re making the final checklist for packing the truck. This is it. It’s go time. Then all of a sudden, your momentum is brought to a screeching halt when you get the news that the little tweak you needed made to your rifle isn’t so small. You are faced with the reality that the necessary repair may not be done by the time you leave. And all you can do is wonder, what the hell do I do now?

This is the situation I currently find myself in. Fortunately for me, my job, and a lifetime of buying hunting rifles, puts me in a position where this is only a minor inconvenience. I realize I am truly fortunate in this regard. Not everyone can walk to their gun safe and pick out a different rifle. If this is the reality you find yourself in, what options do you have? To be honest, there are a few, but not many.

The first option is to buy a new rifle. I know this is an unexpected and unplanned for expense. It also means you must find the time to break in your new gun, sight it in, and become confident using it. Not an easy thing to do, I know, but it may be the only way to guarantee you have a working rifle when you pull out of your driveway.

A cheaper option is to ask one of your hunting buddies if they have a rifle you can borrow. You still need to verify that the gun shoots well with you behind the trigger, but it’s definitely easier on your wallet. Just don’t be surprised if your buddy asks for some backstraps when you get home.

Having a quality gunsmith won’t help if you have to wait on parts, but it will make a difference once the parts come in. If your gunsmith is familiar with your rifle and has made this type of repair before, you could get your gun back in a few days instead of a few weeks.

Finally, if none of these options work for you, and worse comes to worse, you can always try to postpone your hunt. Stop yelling at me. I know this is a nightmare scenario, and you’d sooner set your hair on fire, but it may be what has to happen. It requires cancelling vacations and travel plans. It could mean potentially losing deposits and tags. But a rescheduled hunt is better than no hunt at all.

Anytime you’re faced with a situation like this, it’s easy to get angry and frustrated (I’ve been both). You’ve already had to jump through hoops and remove obstacles to get here, now you have to deal with this. The only practical advice I can offer is this…Try to relax. Do your best to manage the situation. And I promise, once you’re on that far away ridge, glassing up a herd bull or a Booner muley, you’ll forget all about the extra expense and added strife.

Until next time, good luck and happy hunting!

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