Thanks to those extra holiday treats – we made it to the beginning of a New Year complete with all its exciting possibilities. With a little planning this could be the year you become the outdoors-envy of your peers and the talk of the neighborhood. So where do you begin? Popular thought would be to create a lot of New Year’s Resolutions, however there is research that suggests that over ¾ of the New Year’s Resolutions made each year are broken – and often within the first week or two. So “nuts” to the old standby of losing 20+ lbs or & getting fit enough to run a marathon. Instead let’s focus on things that are more fun to accomplish, very attainable this winter and make more sense to the strong outdoorsy-type, such as you.
- Walk on Water. Despite what many might think, winter can be a great time to catch fish and once the water turns to ice all the good spots are accessible whether you have a boat or not. Yes, there is equipment that is made especially for hard-water fishing, but your regular gear can be adapted for use as well. Just remember to always befriend the person with the power-auger and be warned that once you have a good day on the ice, many of your cold-weather weekends may be tied-up in this activity.
- Schedule 2012 Therapy Sessions. Let’s face it. Our time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and exploring is more than just fun – it’s our chance to re-charge and put life back into perspective. Now is the time to get your outdoor therapy sessions on your calendar, before work steals them away or other obligations fill your free-days. With sport-show season upon us you can do some prep work and track down fresh ideas for your 2012 adventures. Do something new this year, or relive some past escapades with your hunting buddies – new traditions have to start somewhere.
- Feast Among Friends. There are several conservation organizations that hold banquets during the winter months where you can meet lots of like-minded folks. Most are set-up as fundraisers that support habitat, conservation education, etc. They also just happen to be a great way to fuel your own fire as you meet others that share the same passions as you do, usually over some good eats, too. I have discovered new hunting opportunities and developed life-long friendships at these events. Who knows you may even go home with a new 4-legged hunting buddy.
- Ask Now & Ask Often. Nebraska is basically privately owned – only about 2% of the state’s total land area is public hunting land. This means that a whole bunch of great hunting takes place on private property, which requires permission to access. Now can be good time to start seeking that permission and getting to know landowners. For instance, I have never been turned down for a late season rabbit or squirrel hunt, which has sometimes opened the door for a spring turkey hunt, and in a couple cases resulted in an invite for fall archery deer.
- Scouting, a Family Event. There is no better time to begin scouting for this spring’s turkey season or next fall’s deer season than this winter. I have come to love late-winter scouting – because I can take the entire family. You don’t have to worry about bumping game and you’ll be amazed at all the treasures (deer sheds, turkey feathers, etc.) your youngsters will find on these forays. You win on all levels – family time outdoors, better knowledge of your hunting areas and some exercise, too
I have been told that 2012 is the year of the Dragon. But to me, it’s the year of the wild turkey, walleye and pop-up camper. Happy Adventures in 2012!