10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Hunter/Angler/Outdoorsman


With the 2018 New Year comes a vehicle for change and renewal. As hunters and anglers, we are used to adapting to our surroundings and conditions to improve our success. There’s always room for improvement, and here are 10 resolutions to ponder and promise to ourselves to become better stewards for the outdoors.

1. Become an advocate for public land.

Join organizations such as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Call or write your elected representatives to preserve access to public lands and national parks. Get involved and network with other public land advocates to work toward common goals.

2. Clean up the mess others leave behind.

Take the time during each outing to not only leave areas as you found them, but to improve their existing conditions. Picking up after yourself isn’t enough. Take a few pieces of garbage with you from the beach, river, or the woods and dispose of them properly.

3. Study hard.

Do your homework. Put in the time and effort to learn more about animal behavior patterns, new areas, changes in landscape, regulations, and new techniques or gear to improve your success. Don’t just read a few articles online, but go to the library and check out a few books on different subjects that are pertinent to your outdoor experience.

4. Take up a new hobby.

If you’re a target shooter, take up hunting. If you shoot a rifle, take up archery. If you fish with a baitcaster, try out a fly rod. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but diversifying your portfolio will prevent you from becoming limited to enjoying only a small facet of one particular activity that can be done in more ways than one.

5. Bring a friend.

Introduce someone to an outdoor activity that you love. Share the joy that it brings you with someone else, as well as your knowledge. Pass your wisdom on to someone younger. Experience the rewards of being a mentor.

6. Document your experiences.

Leave more footprints, take more pictures. Sure, you can share them on Instagram, but make it a point to take some photos worthy of printing and framing. Compile some of your video clips into a short film. Write about it in a blog or a journal. If you really want to get creative, capture some of your favorite scenes and memories by turning them into works of art.

7. Make more time for the outdoors.


My biggest Smallie!

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Whether you need to re-arrange your schedule, or simply commit to staying motivated to devote a little time after work to get outside, rain or shine, make it happen.

8. Get more exercise.

Sure, this is a bit of a cliche New Year’s Resolution, but there are plenty of ways to apply it to your existing outdoor activities. Walk a little farther down the riverbank. Use your oars instead of your electric motor. Pack a lunch and track your animals a little longer on your hunts. Push yourself to the limit, and then go just a little bit further.

9. Reflect on your own behavior and improve your ethical standards.

You don’t have to open a self-help book for this one, just take a moment to reflect on mistakes you’ve made or things you regret from the past year, then make a promise to yourself not to repeat them. Did you lose an animal? Did you mishandle a fish you intended to release? Did you throw out freezer-burned meat because you harvested more than you could eat? How can you prevent yourself from making the same mistakes this year?

10. Waste less, enjoy more.

Instead of breasting out your ducks and geese, then tossing the rest in the trash, check out some of Hank Shaw’s recipes for legs and wings. Save the livers for making ravioli. Use the caulfat from your big game to make crepinettes. The possibilities are endless, explore new culinary territory and expand your palate.

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