Here’s an idea: This year, try to make your resolutions a bit more fun. Set aside a few resolutions that have a hunting theme. I’m not talking about hunting more or going on more expensive hunts. You can do those, but I’m hinting at giving something back to the hunting community and making yourself a better hunter. Let’s start with the No. 1 resolution across North America.
Yes, the holiday treats and lavish meals likely packed a few extra pounds on you. Look down. Plus, the modern conveniences of snow moving, such as ATV-mounted snowplows (gotta love them) and powered snow blowers, equals burning less calories when you do get outside.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a public-land elk hunter or a back-forty whitetail guru; you need to be in shape. Visit with your physician, set a goal and create a workout program. I know, I know. Work, family and other obligations eat up your time, but think out of the box. Workout before work. Think about a noon workout or, instead of watching the “Bachelor” from the couch, do it on an elliptical. And yes, pick up that snow shovel from time to time. It’s great for keeping your bowhunting muscles toned.
Make New Hunters
It’s no secret that the recruitment of hunters isn’t exactly exploding like the number of new smartphone users. That noted, make it your goal to take your kids, neighbor kids or your spouse hunting. If you take someone else’s spouse hunting, you’re on your own.
First you may want to enroll them in hunter education or a shooting sports program. Look into programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, 4-H Shooting Sports, the Jakes National Wild Turkey Federation program and others. These organizations teach, engage and offer competition to keep new shooters excited.
Volunteer For Hunting
So now that you have your new hunter enrolled in a program, you should consider volunteering. All organizations need help. I know. I’ve volunteered in Boy Scouts, 4-H and a host of other programs my kids embraced.
If you don’t have a new hunter in a group that needs help, consider volunteering for conservation. Groups such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever and a host of others need your help. Match your passion to the organization and volunteer some time. It doesn’t need to be much, and any bit helps.
Hone Your Skills
Lastly, consider being a better hunter. I have nothing against the long-range trend in hunting today. Hunters are shooting their rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns and bows farther than ever. But as hunters we also have a responsibility to be ethical hunters and kill game quickly—and effectively. By practicing your shooting skills and your sneakiness, you can do both. While planning your future hunt, consider how to get as close as possible for the best shot.
Oh … and happy New Year!