By Sarah Deline Gomes
While many will celebrate the end of 2016, hunters will mourn the end of another season. As we clean and stow our precious gear, we can reflect on the past year and start planning for the year ahead.
I start every year the same way: The vacation schedule circulates through the office and I am forced to decide what I want to do in the upcoming year. Although I don’t know what 2017 has in store for me, I know some of the things I want to accomplish.
INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO THE OUTDOORS
Mentoring a youth, taking a friend or family member along in the field or educating them on the importance of conservation are just a few ways I plan to introduce someone to the outdoors in 2017. There are individuals who want to experience or learn these things but don’t always have an opportunity to learn or the courage to ask (check out Powderhook’s digital mentoring app for super easy way to help newbies with questions). Not everyone will enjoy hunting or harvesting an animal, however they may appreciate shooting sports. Guns can be intimidating for some individuals and time spent at the range can change that. I want to see more women and youth out enjoying the outdoors, and I’m to do my part to help make it happen.
SUPPORT A CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION
Joining, renewing, or otherwise supporting conservation organizations is another great way to protect our heritage and something I plan to continue this year. As outdoorsmen, our number-one priority should be the conservation and protection of our wildlife and habitat. We can do this by joining national wildlife groups like Ruffed Grouse Society, Delta Waterfowl, or Quality Deer Management Association, just to name a few. Many of these organizations have local chapters that host banquets and meetings. These are great opportunities to get out and meet new people in your area.
On top of wildlife groups there are also groups like Sportsmen’s Alliance who protect our rights as hunters. There are always new bills proposing legislation that could impact us and our heritage. With Sportsmen’s Alliance, your membership contributes to the protection of our passion against the anti-hunting movement.
EXPERIENCE A NEW HUNTING ADVENTURE
We all have that one thing we want to experience. For some, it might be a particular species of big-game animal, waterfowl or fish, while for others it could experiencing a specific location domestically or internationally. There is no time like the present to start working towards these goals, and for me that includes heading west to unfamiliar places with my bird dogs to chase coveys of sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge. I will also enter again for a chance at a coveted bighorn sheep tag, and at home I plan to experience my first black bear hunt with a bow.
The year 2017 is a clean slate for all of us and can be filled with rewarding and exciting experiences. Build new friendships, experience new adventures and make lasting memories. Try to make 2017 your best hunting year yet!