Retake Hunters Safety
We all know the basics of hunters safety, but it never hurts to take a refresher course. If you took the class 10, 15 or even 30 years ago, there are bound to be a variety of changes to laws and safety procedures. It’s time to catch up.
Kill an Asian Carp
As Asian carp continue their way up the Mississippi waterway toward the Great Lakes, the old “Wack’em and Stack’em” mentality could never be more relevant. These invaders could very well destroy one of the country’s most valuable fisheries. But you can help, grab your stick and string and join the new and growing sport of aerial bowfishing. There are a variety of outfitters who offer carp shoots up and down the Mighty Miss.
Be a better wingshooter
It’s common knowledge that an inaccurate shot with a rifle or bow can lead to wounded game. But the same is true for a shotgun. A bad shot with a scatter gun doesn’t only result in a miss, but also crippled and lost birds. It might not be as heartbreaking to hit and lose a duck as it is a trophy elk, but as hunters it’s our responsibility to kill what we shoot. So get out to the trap, skeet or sporting clays range and maybe even take a professional lesson or two.
Keep your dog in shape
You wouldn’t have an olympic runner sit around half the year taking naps and getting fat and then expect him to run a sub 4-minute mile would you? Well a dog isn’t much different. Hunting dogs are athletes, and they are the healthiest and happiest when they get exercise throughout the year, not just during hunting season. Brave the snow and cold and take that dog on a walk.
Donate a deer
Venison is tough to beat. It’s healthy, it tastes good and its 100 percent natural. In regions where the whitetail population is too high, take a little extra time in the early season or late season to harvest a doe to donate. You can find a list of local deer donation spots here.
Sharpen your Broadheads
No, I mean seriously sharpen your broadheads. Get them so sharp they’ll nick your finger if you even think about touching them. There is no better sign of an unprepared bowhunter than a dull broadhead in his quiver.
Try fly fishing … again
There are a lot of outdoorsmen out there who have fly rods in their garages or basements, but they’re not exactly fly fishermen. I know this, because I’m one of them. I’m not suggesting we all have to become fly-tying, vest-wearing, stream-wading, trout worshipers, but there is something special about fly fishing that makes attempting it worth the effort. Photo: Kbh3rd
Shoot an AR
This is on my own personal list for two reasons: 1) Hilary Clinton thinks ARs should be illegal 2) They look really fun to shoot.
Tie better knots
I met a pro redfish angler last year who would practice new knots in his living room while watching television. He’d tie them over and over as fast and as perfectly as he could. He would do this for hours until he could tie the knot almost mechanically. If you don’t want to put up this kind of an effort you can always buy a knot tying book and practice a few times before you hit the water.
Go for a trophy
There’s nothing wrong with shooting the first legal deer you see, but you’ll never kill a trophy buck if you punch your tag early on a little guy. Take this season to use all your patience and deer hunting knowledge to kill the biggest buck of your life, or eat your tag trying.
Chase a new species
There are hundreds of game and fish species in North America alone that are open to hunting and fishing. Pick one you’ve never taken before and go after it. There’s nothing more exciting than the first time. Photo: mdf
Join an NGO
There are dozens of great Non Government Organizations like Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Whitetails Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation that are always looking for new members and donations. Photo: DU
Learn to survive
Hunters trek into some of the most remote wilderness areas on a regular basis, making survival situations a real possibility. Update your first aid kit, check out a new survival book and test a few new survival techniques.
Rediscover the basics
Big game hunting is great, but the small pursuits like panfishing, and squirrel hunting cut to the heart of appreciating the outdoors. Grab a can of worms or your old beat up .22 and get back to your roots. Photo: Dwmartin
Read the great ones
As far as I’m concerned, reading anything by Ernest Hemingway, Aldo Leopold, Jack O’Connor, Jack London, Gene Hill, Bill Heavey (even though he is from Field and Stream), Pat McManus or Jim Corbett is time well spent. I know, I know. I’m leaving tons of writers out so feel free to drop more names in the comments section.
Take better photos
Your son just shot his first buck. In all of the excitement, you snap a few quick shots with blood all over the buck’s antlers and your kid is only half in the frame. Photos might not matter much at the time, but years later you’re going to wish you took better shots. Learn a few simple tips on how to take better photos here.
Learn how to score a rack
If you want to become a trophy deer hunter, you’re going to have to know how to score a buck. There are several webpages where you can learn to do this including the Boone and Crocket club and Outdoor Life.
Give the crossbow a shot
If you’ve never shot a crossbow now is the time to give it a try. The industry is booming and more and more states are opening up their seasons to crossbow hunters. Whether you’re a seasoned archer or completely new to the bow and arrow game, you’ll quickly get the hang of shooting a crossbow.
Make your voice heard
Write your state representatives, attend community meetings and vote. These are all ways to protect your hunting and fishing rights and your right to bear arms. Photo: Julie Vazquez
Introduce someone new to hunting and fishing
The number of outdoorsmen has been declining over the last few years, and one of the main reasons many people don’t participate in outdoor sports is because there is no one to teach them how to get started. Remember all of the people who helped get you started hunting and fishing? Now it’s time to pass it on.
Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? We have 20 of them to choose from that will make you a better outdoorsman (and none of them involve losing weight).