You Alone Make it a Successful Season

January 27, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

Grouse in the badlands

Grouse in the badlands

I’ve spent every autumn in the field since I was old enough to walk.

Even before I was ready to handle a firearm, I had my BB gun at my side as dad and his crew walked the prairies chasing sharp-tailed grouse in September.

As a three-foot tall grade school kid I struggled through dense forests of cattails, and I’ve kicked my boots together in a feeble attempt to keep my feet warm during early morning deer hunts.

As an adult hunter I’ve forgotten maps, misplaced directions and gotten lost. I’ve been rained on more times than a June wedding day, had the wind blow camp across the field, ran out of food and not packed warm enough socks.

Just a couple years ago after reaching my destination for a turkey hunt, I discovered I forgot my gun. But I’ve loved every minute of it – except for running low on snacks.

Remember all of this as we’re in the thick of hunting season 2005. It’s your expectations and your attitude alone that determines the success of each hunt, and the entire fall as a whole.

If you’ve spent nearly a minute scouting or prepping for a waterfowl hunt, don’t expect to shoot a limit of ducks.

If the week before deer season you find your rifle in the exact same place you put it after last deer season, don’t be surprised if the rifle is not the only rusty component of the hunt.

Practice and preparation are just two of the factors within our control that help make outdoor experiences more enjoyable. You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can make sure to have rain gear along. Here’s a few other tips for getting the most out of the 2005 hunting season.

First of all, think safety. We hear this all the time but the surest way to ruin any outing is succumbing to a preventable mishap. But, in case something happens, inform a loved one of your detailed plains – where you’ll be, when you plan on returning, and any other details that make it easier for someone to contact or find you.

Sure, we all want to get away from it all, but we need to be reasonable as well. While we don’t want a cell phone disturbing the entire hunting party – which is precisely why they are equipped with silent or quiet modes – we do want to be contacted in case of emergencies. It’s easy to check who called, and at least you’ll know that if an emergency should arise, you’ll be connected.

A bag of pheasants

A bag of pheasants

Act responsibly. Sure, you want to have fun, but stay within the boundaries of legal and safe activities. After the hunt, make sure to unload your guns, put them away, and if you have a trigger lock, secure it.

Be courteous and respectful in all endeavors, from driving and scouting to connecting with landowners and other hunters. A safe rule of thumb is to treat others better than you would want to be treated. If a landowner denies access, thank them for their time and move along.

In addition, set a high standard in all your activities. If a camp site is littered by others, take a few minutes and make it better than it was upon your arrival. All hunters can be tainted by inappropriate actions – the proverbial one bad apple ruins the whole bunch. Make sure you and your hunting crew are not the bad apple.

Finally, give special attention to young hunters. Put them in the best location. If possible let a youngster take the first shot. If they’re hungry, let them eat some of your lunch if they’ve eaten their’s already. If they’re cold, let them sit in the truck and listen to the game on the radio. Try to make sure their outdoor experience has them longing for more.

You’ll be happy, and so will they. And that’s what it’s all about.


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