The changing of the calendar has historically been a time for contemplation and reflection; a fresh start follows the celebration of the New Year, along with resolutions to change for the better. Be it losing weight, quitting smoking, or saving money, most resolutions never live long enough to see January change into February. But, not all of those resolutions need be painful. Here are some things that we, as hunters, can resolve to do to enhance our 2016 hunting year.
1. Practice more with our chosen hunting tool.
It truly doesn’t matter whether you hunt with a bow, rifle, pistol or shotgun, there’s no doubt that we all—myself included—could use more practice with our chosen tools. Join a shooting range, make that backyard bow range, spend more time busting clay birds, do whatever you need to do, but do your best to spend more time perfecting your shooting skills. You’ll maximize your shot opportunities, and feel much better about heading afield. If you use a rifle, don’t shy away from the use of a .22 to sharpen your eye as an inexpensive means of becoming a better shot. Same can be said for the handgun crowd.
2. Spend more time afield.
Get out to your hunting grounds, and not just the week before season. Spruce up those duck blinds, scout out your deer or elk turf, help a landowner to properly post his or her property. The more time spent in a particular area, the more of the subtle clues that nature provides will be made evident to you, and while certain migratory species will not be present, you will still be a happier hunter when you know your own hunting area like the back of your hand.
3. Get in shape.
While it is a very familiar resolution, a regimen of physical fitness will allow you become a more efficient hunter, whether it’s in respect to dragging your buck, or hiking that final half-mile into the undisturbed public land. You need not bench press 250 pounds, but a steady routine of rigorous walking, on some public hiking trails or any place that will replicate a hunting scenario, will definitely prepare you for your hunting season.
4. Step out of the box.
Tradition is a good thing, and I enjoy our annual gathering of the deer crew every year. However, there is a whole wide world out there. Look into that dream hunt, and see what you can do to make your dream come true. While I love deer hunting, there are many other species that will take you to many different corners of the world. Maybe you’d enjoy a whitetail hunt in a different climate, or a bear hunt in Canada. I love African safaris, as well as just about any new hunting experience, be it caribou or coyotes. Hunting out of your comfort zone will not only provide cherished memories and experiences, but will make your old comfy hunting grounds seem that much more special.
5. Join the National Rifle Association.
I can’t really understand how we Americans have 80 million firearms owners, yet the NRA has a membership of just over 5 million. I know, you’re saying to yourself that I am forced to write this, but that isn’t the case. In these troubled times, where our firearms rights are being challenged on a weekly basis, the NRA is in the forefront of pro-firearm representation, constantly fighting for our rights. We, as Americans, have the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution, which entitles us to the right to bear arms, but the 2nd is being chipped away at year after year. The NRA fights for us, as firearms (and arms in general) owners. Shouldn’t we all join, to stand united for the lifestyle we all enjoy so much? I am a proud Life Member, and hope you’ll join this year.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with great memories and new adventures.