Christmas is over. The Holiday Season is coming to an end and 2012 is grinding to a halt. Soon it will be 2013 and everything will be new again but before you break out the cocktails and the excitement of the New Year begins, we should all take a moment to reflect on 2012, count our blessings, and resolve to better ourselves.
For avid sportsmen this is the time of year to evaluate last season, to diagnose what if anything went wrong and resolve to never make those mistakes again. Of course, we will always make mistakes but isn’t it fun to believe we could mold ourselves into a precision hunting and fishing machine? And while perfection isn’t possible, limiting your mistakes most certainly is. Make your own 2013 Outdoor Resolutions list and stick to it. I promise you wont regret it.
While I am certainly thankful for the success we had at TSO in 2012, I look forward to the new opportunities and adventures that 2013 brings. In the meantime, I resolve to do the following for 2013:
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Rifles, Shotguns, Pistols, Crossbows, Compound Bows, Fishing knots, you name it, I’ll be practicing it. I missed a mature Buck in Ohio with my vertical bow. In my defense it was a difficult shot. But! I thought honed my skills enough to slip my arrow through that tiny shooting lane and still find the vitals. Well, I was half right. I could slip the arrow through the small shooting lane but I was not able to find the vitals. Heck, I didn’t remove one hair from that deer. So, I resolve to shoot ad nauseam and maybe even go back and read a few of my own blogposts like… Oh, I don’t know…Maybe Trimming Shooting Lanes and Finding the Vitals.
- Hunt and Fish with Friends & Family: Ever since I moved to the ‘Greater Harrisburg Area’ in 2005, (This is not Central Pennsylvania. Look at a map people!) I have searched for local hunting and fishing hotspots where I can do the things that I love most over the past few years and have found success locally in the woods and on the streams. It’s time to share those hotspots with my friends and family. Afterall, it’s the shared experiences in the field with friends and family that make lifelong memories.
- Plan a Trip: Hunting and fishing new places in North America has become a love of mine. For years I have made annual trips to the northern Canadian lakes fishing for pike and walleye, southeastern Ohio to hunt whitetail, and southern states such as South Carolina and Alabama for boar, whitetail, and pheasant. There is something special about hunting a new species in a strange location or landing a trophy fish in a remote destination. I cherish each moment in our most wild and natural places but like most outdoorsmen, planning a trip has become increasingly difficult with greater demands at work and at home not to mention the financial planning that comes with an outdoors destination vacation. That said, it is a tradition I plan to continue. I would love to go Moose hunting in the Canadian bush, Salmon fishing in Alaska, but I am quite certain that I would settle for striped bass fishing the Atlantic or turkey hunting in Texas.
- Harvest a Spring Gobbler: It has been a while since I have killed a turkey in the spring. That is in large part due to the scant amount of time I have spent hunting spring turkey. Pennsylvania has a healthy and wily turkey population and I plan to bring home a bird this spring.
- Stock Fish: I am a member of a local angler association. That is to say I pay my dues and do not participate in any of the clubs events and activities. This needs to change. Every year I will meet members of my angler association who are stocking fish and the majority of them are elderly men who have a difficult time even making it down to the stream. If my generation does not step up and be more involved, then who knows what the future holds for our beloved traditions. I plan on helping my association stock fish at least once this season.
- Mentor a Youth: Mentoring a youth can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have in the field. There is nothing quite introducing a youth to a rod and reel or a .22 and some squirrels.
- Get in the Kitchen: Yes, that’s right. Get in the kitchen. I want to expand my culinary expertise particularly with wild game. I hope to catalog this resolution as it progresses with blogsposts detailing the new and exciting ways Sara and I will be preparing our wild game dinners. I highly recommend Sara’s Pork & Sauerkraut featured on her blog for the New Year. If you are lucky enough to have a boar in your freezer, then you can substitute the market bought pork in her recipe with wild boar loin end.
- Blog More Frequently: Having married a writer/columnist/event planner etc.. that writing is hard work that requires dedicated writing time and a committment to deadlines. I am poor at both dedicating time to writing and deadlines so this will be a challenge.
- Return to Small Game: In recent years I have hunted big game only and lately I have thought about a return to hunting Rabbit, Squirrel, Pheasant, and other forms of small game. It’s always good to return to your roots and sharpen your skills.
- Do-it-myself Processing: I dream of converting my garage into a deer processing facility complete with commercial meat grinder, ban saw, sausage stuffer, butcher board and knife set. My grandpa was a butcher and I have the necessary skills to process my deer (Maybe a few for my friends as well). Of course, my garage will need a complete makeover but I am committed to doing it. I will be heading to the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show Feb 2-10 looking to snag a deal on the necessary equipment to complete full conversion from garage to processing station.
What are you resolving to do in 2013? Sit down and create you own Outdoor Resolutions list. Hang your list in plain view where you will see it everyday. Inspire yourself to get out in the field and enhance the adventures of you and your loved ones.
Happy New Year!