Jan. 1 is a great time to reflect on the previous year’s successes, and an exciting time to start planning the new year’s adventures.
For bowhunters, New Year’s resolutions usually involve planning a hunt or re-evaluating a hunt that didn’t go as planned. Whether you plan to chase bugling bulls out West or simply resolve to spend more time in your favorite treestand near home, start by setting realistic, attainable goals that keep you motivated the entire year.
With the just-concluding season fresh in your mind, evaluate things you wish you had done differently. By reflecting on the season soon after it ends, you’re more likely to achieve your goals when next year’s opener arrives. For example, if you missed a shot and want to avoid repeating the disappointment, join a 3-D league in winter and practice long-range shots during summer to ensure you’re lethal . Don’t try to cram for that test by waiting until midsummer to start your serious practice.
Even if you’re coming off your best season, seek opportunities to grow. Try new things and set challenging goals to break out of your comfort zone. Whether scouting new areas or learning new hunting tactics, you’ll find endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle through bowhunting.
Some goals even lead bowhunters on lifetime adventures. Bowhunters can pursue countless species in North America, and each offers unique challenges in awesome locations. Most such bowhunts are available through high-odds drawings or over-the-counter licenses. Bowhunters of all skill levels ride horseback through the Rocky Mountains to pursue elk, sneak through South Carolina swamps to chase wild turkeys, and perch in treestands on Midwestern oaks to ambush white-tailed deer.
Traveling to distant states to hunt is realistic for nearly everyone. You just need to do a little research, contact state wildlife agencies for information, and “e-scout” potential sites to plan out-of-state adventures on a budget. The game species and hunting sites are up to you, but start planning your trip now because application deadlines for most Western hunts occur between February and May.
Sometimes the most rewarding bowhunts mean bringing along a new hunter. Passing on your outdoor lifestyle and wildlife appreciation, or simply sharing a beautiful sunrise, can fuel newfound passions in beginning hunters. Who knows? You might create a lifelong hunting partner in the process.
Perhaps most importantly, bowhunters should remember that the ultimate goal of each new season is to have fun. It’s easy to get frustrated by focusing on shortcomings or comparing your results to someone else’s.
Instead, focus on camaraderie, time spent outdoors, and getting close-up encounters with wildlife. Positive energy helps you reflect on the past season and look forward to even more memorable moments in the year ahead.