What do Beanie Babies, 8-track tapes and rotary telephones have to do with deer hunting? Not much of anything. What do they have in common? Nobody makes them anymore. Something else we can’t make any more of is our time. We can’t make more time, but we can be more mindful of how we manage it. Scheduling time out of the hustle and bustle of life to introduce young or new hunters to the outdoors, practice shooting your bow or rifle, or give back to the land will all result in a much more enjoyable outdoor experience. This doesn’t mean spend more time away from your loved ones and friends. Instead, involve them in what you are so passionate about. With a little luck, it just may become their passion too.
Time to Practice
As hunters and conservationists, we have a responsibility to harvest game in an ethical way that results in a clean, humane kill. Do you fling just one arrow or shoot your rifle just one time the day before the season opens and call it good? If so, we need to talk. Practicing enough to the point you are very comfortable with your bow or rifle is a must. This will result in a well-placed shot and a clean, ethical kill. Practice takes time. I would love to be able to shoot my bow every day, but time just doesn’t allow that. I do however sacrifice time from other activities to make practicing a priority. For myself, I made a commitment to cancel cable TV and spend that time being more proficient with my bow and rifle. If you make a similar commitment to practice more often, I promise you will be happy you did. Make it a routine and find the bullet your rifle likes best, the arrow that flies the best out of your bow, and the scope or sight that is best for you.
Time to Ensure our Heritage
Time management is crucial to the success of businesses, and it is also vital to ensuring our hunting heritage. Young hunters are going to be handed the torch someday to manage and conserve deer and all wildlife. It is our responsibility to make time to provide opportunities for youth to learn and appreciate the outdoors. Not only will youth gain experience, education, and fun times spent in the field when you dedicate time mentoring them, you most certainly will as well. I challenge you to erase something from your schedule and pencil-in time to mentor at least one young hunter this season. Our very own Kip Adams wrote an excellent article on a great way to introduce youth to hunting.
Time with Family and Friends
Above all else, please enjoy and value the time you spend with family and friends. This one is most important to me, and it is paramount that you make this a priority as well. If your family or friends are not involved in the outdoors, it is up to you to include them in what you are so passionate about. This could be taking them hunting with you, sharing a meal of venison, educating them about hunting and the outdoors, or simply getting them outdoors more often to enjoy all that comes with it.
My best memories were not made when the hunting was best. It wasn’t when I killed my highest-scoring whitetail, called in a spring gobbler with long spurs, or shot a limit of ducks. The best ones were made when I spent time with friends, family, and my beautiful bride Sarah Foster. Sadly, my Sarah passed away on May Day. She had a unique passion for wildlife and the outdoors. We both made it a priority to spend as much time as was allowed hunting, fishing, and trapping together. I am extremely thankful for those memories, which will forever live on.
It’s a crazy, hectic world out there sometimes. Please take the time to slow down and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family, introduce youth to hunting, and be proficient with your bow or rifle. I promise you will not regret managing your time to do these things. Enjoy measuring your success in memories made this season, and many more to come!
Follow Alex Foster on Instagram.