Are you bored yet? After weeks of being forced to work from home, trips to the grocery store involving masks and rubber gloves, toilet-paper shortages, social distancing putting a severe crimp on your social calendar, school closures necessitating home-schooling, entertaining the kids, long lines at the liquor store and developing carpal tunnel from flipping the remote control for hours on end, I decided it was time to make some changes and sorely needed adjustments to the daily grind.
Changes to stave off insanity, alcoholism, divorce and to keep this hunter’s mind somewhat honed for (hopefully) a COVID-19-free whitetail season this fall. This is exhausting … but, there are things you can do to bust the boredom and hang on to your mental health. This is what I have implemented thus far, and am eager to get your feedback and even more ideas to ride out the pandemic.
Get off the couch. Now. I have a basement gym equipped with a treadmill, so this is an easy one (in theory) to participate in. If exercise isn’t a part of your regular routine, this is your moment to jump in and cut some inches off that waistline. It’ll burn time constructively, your wife will like you more, it cuts stress and you’ll sleep better. It just takes some sweat equity. If you have no exercise equipment, go for a walk. The whole family (including the dog) can get in on this. Trust me when I tell you hunting is exponentially more fun when you’re not chronically sucking wind. It will make you a better and more effective hunter.
Make a Range Out of Your Backyard
No, I’m not advocating the illegal activity of discharging firearms within city limits (if you don’t live in the country, that is), but there are legal ways of fulfilling this activity. I turned my miniscule backyard into a miniature shooting range replete with a multitude of recyclable target opportunities. I used a Daisy BB gun and a Remington “1911” CO2 BB pistol (hey, I am a handgun hunter after all). This is fun for the whole family (save the dog, for obvious reasons). Even my wife—whose idea of a big-game trophy-hunt is a post-Christmas, half-off sale at Neiman Marcus—has gotten into this competitive, boredom-breaking activity. I have targets at varying distances and a backdrop to capture the BBs preventing ricochet. Even my young daughter has become an enthusiastic plinker!
With inevitable time spent in front of the TV, I have made an effort to watch some real quality hunting shows like “Wildcraft South Africa” and “Big Iron” (this is a shameless plug, but after producing them I never actually watch them). You will live the adventures vicariously through others, keeping the desire to hunt fresh in your soul.
If you do not reload, this is the perfect excuse to get into it. Fortunately, MidwayUSA, Brownells, Midsouth Shooters Supply, etc. are open for online business, and in a matter of days you can have a whole reloading operation up and running without having to leave the house and expose yourself to something that can kill you. Reloading sounds like a good idea now, doesn’t it?
If you are anything like me, you love books on hunting and collect them. Now that you have nothing but time on your hands, it is the opportune time to pour yourself a stiff one, put your feet up and crack open a classic like Death in the Long Grass by Peter Capstick. If that book doesn’t inspire you, you’re either asleep or dead from the neck up. Maybe there is no hope for you.
I know that many American Hunter readers have game meat in their freezers. What are you saving it for? The American Hunter website has amazing recipes by Brad Fenson (this is a great one), that are sure to make your mouth water. Do your family a favor and cook up a meal with that elk that is taking up freezer space. Believe me when I say your wife will appreciate you lifting some of the cooking burden off her already stressful plate. It’s spring, the weather is getting nicer, and you are stuck at home, fire the grill up and slap those venison back-straps on the Weber. There is no time like the present to indulge in that deer, hog, bear, whatever you shot last November.
This lockdown isn’t going to last forever, so you might as well utilize your time well. Keep busy, and do your body and mind some good—there is light at the end of this mask-wearing tunnel. The season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen and this is your time to prepare for the hunt.