What were your greatest successes during the hunting season past? Trophies? Unforgettable moments shared with family and friends? What are the reasons you hunt and keep coming back? Did you have some failures, disappointments, or shortcomings, too? Probably. Most of us do. This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Now is the season to make New Year’s resolutions—to make commitments that will help us enjoy better health, more prosperity, and happy living in the year ahead. For us hunters, these sound like smart ideas to think about, except heartily applied to our outdoor pursuits.


More Practice – While the hunting seasons are limited to certain time periods by state and federal regulations, your participation in hunting can be year ’round. Of course, there’s shooting practice. There’s no hunter who’s such a good shot he or she can’t use more practice with the rifle, shotgun, or bow. There’s also important practice in related skills like duck identification, moving quietly through the woods, glassing, and reading animal sign, and dog training, too.

New Skills – Feel like you’ve mastered a particular kind of hunting and want new challenges? Resolve to acquire some new skills and test them out come hunting season. Maybe you’ve taken a deer every year with your rifle. For added challenge, try bow hunting. Or get a hunting handgun, learn to shoot it, and commit to hunting with it come fall. Muzzleloaders and crossbows offer interesting new challenges, too.

Visualization – If shooting practice sounds intriguing to extend your hunting participation to year ’round, then you’ll love visualization! It allows you to “go hunting” no matter where you are or what you’re doing. If you tend to suffer from buck fever, conjuring up the moment of truth in your mind and thinking through every detail is the best way to build up your mental strength. If you’ve ever seen an Olympic skier at the top of the course on his/her skis looking as though they are skiing in place, you’ve seen visualization. That highly trained athlete is running the course mentally, imagining every detail so performance becomes instinctive. Apply visualization so that buck fever doesn’t happen until after your buck is down.

Upgrade Gear – Have gear that you felt didn’t perform up to snuff during the season? Now is the time to begin investigating making the changes for next year so that you have plenty of time to do your research and planning. While you may be happy with your firearms and bow, most all of us could benefit from upgrading optics like binoculars and riflescopes. You will be amazed in the brightness and clarity differences between economy, mid-range, and high-end optics.

Make your hunting New Year’s Resolutions, commit to them, work on them…then enjoy the results next fall.