With one hunting season down, I have a better idea of the goals I’d like to accomplish this year.
1. Get in shape!
Hiking up steep inclines made me winded pretty quickly. After carrying my shotgun for hours, I realized how weak my arms were. I’m hoping to increase my strength and stamina by the time fall rolls around.
2. Shoot my first deer.
I’m really motivated to get a deer. It was exciting watching my brother try to get one last year, but I really want do that for myself. I want to spend as much time scouting as I can before the season starts to give it my best shot. Which leads to my next goal…
3. Hike and scout more.
I want to know the land better so I have a plan in place for when the season starts again. Plus, hiking will help with my first goal to get in shape for walking on tough terrain.
4. Go duck hunting and shoot my first duck.
My brother and I went out duck hunting last December. No ducks were flying but I still enjoyed being out. I’m hoping this year to be able to join him on more duck hunts and shoot my first duck.
5. Go upland bird hunting and shoot a bird.
My first ever hunting experience was with a friend as we went out quail hunting. It was a lot of fun, but the only quail we saw were on the road in areas we couldn’t hunt. I’m hoping to go back out with him and finally get myself a bird!
6. Go fishing more.
I don’t really care what I go fish for, I just want to spend more time out on the water relaxing and enjoying fishing.
7. Cook game recipes.
I want to learn some great recipes to make delicious meals with the game I’m able to harvest this year.
Last year, I barely got my feet wet with hunting. This year, I’m ready to dive in and reach these goals! I’m excited to look back at the end of 2015 to see everything I accomplished.
It’s a question I am frequently asked by friends who have known me for years—“Why are you hunting?” I understand why they ask. Growing up, I never showed much interest in hunting. My dad and brother have hunted since I was little, but I never wanted to join. As a teenager, I joked the only shooting I’d do would be with a camera. Part of me felt that the week spent hunting was guy time, which left me to have girl time with my mom.
When I reached my mid-twenties, I realized just how much I enjoyed being outdoors. I started dating a guy who was passionate about hunting and I began to look at it differently. I liked the idea of hunting as a way to provide food for my family one day. Hunting seemed like a way I could combine my love of hiking and the outdoors. And to be honest, I’m a competitive person, I liked the idea of the hunt. I decided to take the hunter safety course to see if hunting was really for me. In that class, I learned more about conservation and the role hunting played. Did you know the money from hunting tags and higher taxes on guns/ammunition went toward conservation efforts? I sure didn’t. Knowing those facts made me feel even better about hunting.
This past fall, I was finally able to go hunting and answer the question of if this was something I really wanted to pursue. I’m happy to say I fell in love with it. I haven’t yet gotten an animal, but being out there, I experienced some of my year’s best moments. It was like I had found something I never knew had been missing from my life. I know I can’t explain this feeling to people who don’t understand it, or have never felt it for themselves, and that’s okay.
Nothing can compare to being out in the tranquil pre-dawn hour, experiencing the still air, seeing a gorgeous orange-pink sunrise streak across the sky as you listen for the faintest sound of movement, eyes scanning the ridge line for an antlered silhouette to appear, sharing the experience with family and friends as you hike through various areas looking for game, and feeling connected to nature. I don’t think anything else I’ve done in life has brought such a feeling of peace and happiness. I can’t wait to get back out there and think about it constantly. I have a lot to learn, no doubt. But I’m so excited for the coming years of learning everything from harvesting an animal to cooking delicious meals to feed my family. I’ve accepted some people might not understand my reasons for hunting, but I know why I’m doing this and that’s all that matters.
Before being involved in hunting, I didn’t realize that conservation was so heavily supported by hunters. The money made from hunters (hunting licenses, tags, guns, ammunition, ect.) is put back into conservation efforts for wildlife management. As someone who wants to preserve the outdoors, I was happy to learn that the money I would spend for hunting was going toward a cause I believe in. Even though I didn’t get an animal last year, I know the money I spent on tags was put toward a good cause.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has a great article on conservation called “25 Reasons Why Hunting Is Conservation.” Below are some of my favorite reasons, click here to read the full article:
“Reason No. 2 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1900, only 500,000 whitetails remained. Thanks to conservation work spearheaded by hunters, today there are more than 32 million.
Reason No. 6 why Hunting Is Conservation: Habitat, research and wildlife law enforcement work, all paid for by hunters, help countless non-hunted species.
Reason No. 7 why Hunting Is Conservation: Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs.*
Reason No. 10 why Hunting Is Conservation: An 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows generates $371 million a year for conservation.*
Reason No. 14 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunting funds conservation AND the economy, generating $38 billion a year in retail spending.*
Reason No. 17 why Hunting Is Conservation: A wildlife management tool, hunting helps balance wildlife populations with what the land can support, limits crop damage and curtails disease outbreaks.
Reason No. 21 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunters provide for conservation—and for their families. Hunting is a healthy way to connect with nature and eat the world’s most organic, lean, free-range meat.“
For more information on conservation, check out the following links:
Fish and Wildlife Service Information on Conservation
National Shooting Sports Foundation on Conservation