Outdoors type folks have had the opportunity to enjoy some “seasonal” weather this past week after our little blast of Inuit summer.

Blaze orange duds adorned many front porches across the state, essentially Wisconsin’s version of the first Passover, allowing breezes coming mostly from the south to wisk away some human scent. If you’re one of those hunters who snuck out the back door for a quick dark-30 sneak to the stand for yesterday’s deer gun season opener, this might have been a big mistake.

Many credit the collaboration of Coots/Gillespie for creating the lyrics for “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” back in 1934. This is an urban myth.

Truth is, these lyrics were created by Donner & Blitzen, two of Santa’s more creative dominant bucks.

Legend holds that line, “He knows when you are sleeping, He knows when you’re awake” was actually these two scoping out Old MacDonald’s Farm. This is why a layer of fresh cedar branches were placed in an airtight gear box behind closed doors down in the man cave last week.

I spent time out in the pole barn tinkering and petting the boat—even hooking up my aluminum womb a couple times with great fanfare to catch some walleyes.

Climate change happens every day in Wisconsin.

Today is Day Two of the traditional gun deer season. Is there a fresh tracking snow in your woods or pesky gnats and mosquitoes? The only reality is the possibility that the year’s last open-water boat ride can happen at any time.

A couple of wiggles with the high-speed idle control on my Evinrude E-Tech takes care of a major component of rig winterization before my baby’s seasonal hibernation.

When winter shows up for real—sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas—there are a few more simple but critical tasks that must be completed to ensure the first outing of 2020 is mechanically benign.

Most critical is checking the outboard’s lower unit. There are two screws about a foot apart. Carefully remove the top screw and check the lube level, using a zip-tie as a dipstick. If the level is only down an inch or so, all is well.

If the level is lower than that, put in more gear lube by pumping it in through the lower screw port until the lube starts to ooze out the top port, the replace the top screw first. Leave the outboard hanging vertically until it’s time to hook the trailer up again next spring.

If the first trip involves passing through Minnesota, leave the boat’s drain plug out until you get the launch. Failure to do this can lead to an expensive citation from some Jack-Pine Savage Carp Cop. The $160 spent on acquiring this knowledge would have been better spent on a new St. Croix rod.

All electronics, including a trolling motor remote control, should be removed and taken to a warm place. This is also a good time to grease the trailer’s wheel bearings and apply Armor All to the trolling motor shaft.

Lubricating the trolling motor shaft on a regular basis minimizes friction and extends trolling motor life.

All batteries should be removed, taken to a warm place and fully charged. Storing the batteries on something besides concrete is a good idea.

Experience teaches the wisdom of binding ALL wires designated for a specific terminal together with a zip tie when removing each battery. Attaching a note card to each zip tie noting which terminal a wire bundle goes to is also a good idea.

Don’t ask me how I know.

Remove all fishing rods and terminal tackle and take them to the man cave a few at a time over the course of several days if a significant other you share a dwelling with happens to be home.

Don’t ask me how I know this, either.

We all have fears and peccadilloes.

My biggest fear is my wife will sell my gear for what I told her I paid for it.

The final boat winterization step is putting a few mothballs in every compartment, secured in a small mesh bag to allow them to “breathe”. Mothballs are a more effective mouse deterrent than a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich left in close proximity to the boat’s wiring harness.

Trust me on this pearl of wisdom, too.

Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at tedpeck@acegroup.cc

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