I have three hunting goals for 2016:
- Kill a Bull Elk With a Bow
- Join a Conservation Effort
- Kill a Mature Buck With a Bow Via Spot and Stalk
I know it won’t be easy and there is a pretty good chance, let me rephrase that, a very good chance I will come up short in one or two categories but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day as long as I have put in 100% of my effort towards making this happen, I will tip the odds in my favor and 2016 could be a year that I will never forget. I’m ready for a good challenge!
1. Kill A Bull Elk With My Bow
One of the many reasons for making the move to Colorado was to be immersed in a new landscape where I could hunt elk and mule deer in my back yard. A rocky mountain elk hunt has been on the bucket list for quite some time and now I can literally walk out my door hunt these amazing animals. It is truly a dream come true.
Knowing that an elk hunt is on the horizon, I am already starting my preparation for September by reading a very informative book titled Elk Hunting Guide: Skills, Gear and Insight written by Tom Airhart. I am literally starting from ground zero for this hunt so I figured this would be a good way to expand my knowledge on elk behavior, strategies, and resources I will need for the backcountry.
In addition to reading material, I have been scouring Google Earth like a mad man. Damn, you can really spend a lot of time looking at the computer screen. Sometimes I’ll start scrolling and scouting certain areas and the next thing I know, 3 hours has passed and my eyes are shot and my head hurts! Now that I live mountains, scouting on foot will be much easier and more accessible considering some of these places are in very close proximity to where I live. This is such an advantage over the nonresident hunters who don’t have the time to do the scouting before they arrive.
I am also looking forward to hunting elk with my good friend, Joey Wilson, in 2016 where we will be chasing those big boys in the mountains together! We didn’t get to hunt with each other last Fall so it will be good to make up for lost time!
2. Join A Conservation Effort
One of the hot topics of the hunting industry lately is conservation and hunters responsibility to be involved in all aspects of land management, habitat preservation and giving back to the lifestyle we love. If you haven’t listened to the Wired To Hunt Podcast with Shane Mahoney, stop what you are doing right now and turn up the volume. All sportsmen and women who are avid hunters should take the time to really soak in what Shane has to say because hunting is not a right, it is a privilege.
As I get older I put more emphasis each year on giving back and as a hunter, gatherer and fisherman, I believe it is my role to give back to the landscape I utilize to harvest my food. I have befriended a local DOW Officer and he has agreed to put me to work where I can volunteer my time this Spring and Summer to help make Colorado a better place for the animals, plants, and species I love. I’ll let you know what my tasks end up being in an upcoming blog post this Spring.
3. Kill A Mature Buck Via Spot and Stalk
I damn near completed this goal this past Fall in Kansas on November 7th but the stars just didn’t align. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! I was 2 hours into a stalk on a bedded buck with a doe and I was doing everything right. Long story short, I crawled to within 20 yards and missed the shot on a 160” eleven point. To say I was devastated would be the understatement of the year!
Spot and stalk is exhilarating and is unlike any other style of hunting. One of the more valuable tools I have in the bag to raise my level of confidence for a stalk is my Heads Up Decoy. Read my full interview with Garrett Roe, owner of Heads Up Decoy HERE. If you haven’t hunted from the ground, I highly recommend you try it at some point in your life because it is an adrenaline rush like no other. Speaking of an adrenaline rush, if you need a little inspiration make sure you check out the Whitetail Adrenaline DVD’s as they are the best in the business at this style of hunting.
I plan on hunting in Kansas again in 2016 and I plan on killing a mature whitetail on the ground, face to face, mono e mono. Let’s hope I get drawn for the tag!
It’s Good To Set Goals
Setting goals helps push you harder when your season isn’t going exactly as planned and will act as a reminder of the expectations you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Hunting is a mental game as much as it is physical and when I’m deep into the backcountry, tired as hell from chasing elk to no avail, I’ll think back to my goals and it might be the spark I need to keep going. When I have the choice to either to sleep in on a Saturday morning or go get my hands dirty to support wildlife conservation, I’ll reflect back to this article. When I’m three hours into a spot and stalk on a Kansas whitetail and my patience is wearing thin, I’ll remember why I’m here.
Setting goals will not only push you further, it will also help reflect on your season at the end of the year and measure your progress. Regardless of the outcome, as long I can look back and say I gave a 100% effort, my season will be a success even if it’s just in my own eyes.
What are your “hunting goals” for the year 2016? Share them below in the comments – I would really like to hear from you!