There are many different goals to achieve when it comes to hunting: fitness, shooting, scouting, drawing and filling your tags, breaking records, and family time. In this article, I will help you in setting your goals for the new hunting season.
Setting Lifelong Goals
One of the most common goals people, hunters or not, want to accomplish each year is getting into shape and losing weight. Now, we all know it sounds easy at first, but when we don’t see results right away people tend to get discouraged and give up. The key to sticking with it is finding a workout and diet that will work for you and get you into a routine. One of my favorite workouts is Insanity. It includes a lot of cardio and endurance training and I can do it all in the comfort of my home. This workout routine, combined with a good diet and my MTN OPS supplements, gives me results that are very beneficial for all of the hiking and hunting I do throughout the year! Supplements are a great way to give you that extra boost to achieve your fitness goals, whether it is building muscle or losing weight. They even have combos to help get you into #elkshape that when combined with your workout and diet help you fulfill your goals of bagging that next animal.
Strong Tag Game
With draw results approaching quickly, it is helpful to ask yourself a few questions. For example, what tags do you want to draw this year? What species do you want to hunt? Are there any new states you need to learn? Some animals like moose, sheep, and goat take several years to draw, so maybe your goal is to start putting in for something that you want to draw down the road. If you’re looking for a trophy animal, do some research on units in the state you’d like to hunt and figure out the odds of you drawing that tag. Some may take a lifetime to draw, but there are always units that have quality animals that don’t take several years to draw. If you’re looking for a meat hunt and don’t care about the size of the animal, look into antlerless tags in trophy units where there usually isn’t as much pressure on these animals as well as checking success rates in these units. I tend to go for a tag in a trophy unit first and then put in for a leftover after the draw so that I always have a chance to fill the freezer and shoot something with antlers.
Perfect Your Trade
One goal I think all hunters should have is to expand their shooting ability. Whether you’re an avid archery or rifle hunter, practice is crucial. The animals we pursue deserve our respect and should be taken with good, clean shots. If you know you are not a very accurate shot, you should not be shooting at animals yet. Continue to practice until you are confident in your ability to ethically harvest your game. If you’re an archery hunter, a good way to get some practice in is to join a hunter’s league at an archery shop. When the season gets closer begin shooting at least three times a week. Practice shooting distances that you would feel comfortable shooting an animal at. When it comes to rifle hunting, make sure your rifle is sighted in, and make sure you do this yearly. I cannot stress this enough! Go out to a shooting range and set up a target and shoot. Sight in your gun with a sturdy bench. You won’t have a bench in the woods to shoot from, so practice lying down and using a pack as a rest, sitting down and using shooting sticks, or shooting off your knee. Consistency and confidence are key to increasing our chances of success.
Scouting Like You Mean It
Scouting can be very time consuming but it can improve your chances of harvesting the animal you are pursuing. One goal I make every ear is to learn more country. This can take a lot of time and cost a lot if you don’t do any homework first. With technology, you can learn new country from home using Google Earth, your state atlas, or the state’s game and fish websites. These tools, allow you to look at the lay of the land and the private property so you can make the most of your scouting trips. Other tools that have become popular are game cameras. These cameras show you what’s cruising around in your hunting spots; some even show you the date, time, temperature, and phases of the moon so you can better your odds by knowing when and where the animals move. One of the best times to scout is right before the season begins. If you can locate your prey a few days before the hunt it takes the guesswork out of where to go on opening day. If you locate them right before your hunt you spend more time trying to outsmart and harvest the animal and less time searching and possibly wasting precious time.
Harvesting Your Animal
A hunter’s ultimate goal is to harvest an animal and to fill the freezer. Is your goal this year going to be breaking some kind record or is it strictly to provide meat for your family? If you want to yield a giant trophy animal you need to eat, sleep, and breathe the country that you are going to hunt. Put your trail cameras up everywhere and glass all the country you can. Watch the animals during the summer so you can keep track of their antler growth. Once their antlers harden their patterns change, so it is important to continue tracking them to figure out their new patterns. When you find an animal that you want to harvest, especially if it’s a trophy animal, keep it a secret until he is on the ground; the less you share the better. To increase your chances of filling your freezer, look into extra tags. Most states allow both antler and antlerless tags. I always get a bull and a cow tag so I still have a chance to fill my freezer.
Generation to Generation
If you’re anything like me, hunting is a part of how you grew up; it’s been passed down from generation to generation. Take time to reminisce and remember who introduced you to hunting. For me, it was my grandfather who turned me into an avid outdoorsman. The most joyful memories are on family hunting trips with my grandpa and dad. Now I have a wife and son that I enjoy taking along hiking, hunting, and scouting. This year I had the joy and privilege of helping my wife get her first bull. She practiced shooting and smoked a nice four by five bull at 350 yards with one shot. It wasn’t a record-breaking bull, but it was most definitely a trophy and I was so proud of her. When we got back to camp with her bull my two-year-old son ran right to the elk to check it out. He grabbed the antlers and kept pointing at it; the joy on his face made the trip so awesome. I know I am passing on the tradition and passion for hunting to my son. If you don’t already, make it a goal to include your family this year; pass our sport down to the next generation.
This year be intentional when planning out your hunting endeavors. Make a solid fitness routine and stick to it, be consistently practicing your shooting, and figure out which tags you will be filling. Make plans to scout more this year and to include your family in your hunting expeditions. Take them on an adventure; explore in the wilderness, and create memories that will last a lifetime. More than anything, remember that hunting is more than shooting animals, it’s a lifestyle.
How will your lifestyle change to prepare yourself for this upcoming season?