Each year we put together resolutions to better ourselves regarding our health, personal finances, and family. We devise elaborate plans to help our businesses grow and profit.
Recently, while talking to a hunter who holds several bowhunting state records and one world record, he asked a question that isn’t asked in this context very often. “What is your goal? What are your goals for hunting this season; in three seasons; in five seasons?”
It made perfectly good sense. If you want the best odds at succeeding in something, you set your goal, and put together a plan to obtain that goal. You would not expect to become a doctor without first getting the educational requirements needed. Nor would you expect to get that education without researching what schools offer the programs for profession. Many times in our outdoor endeavors we work a plan, but have no real goal. We may scout, lay food plots, and practice with our equipment. However, we may have not really thought out what our true goal is. Is it to limit out? Is it to bring in the biggest buck? Are we trying to catch the most fish, or are we trying to catch the most legal sized fish that are edible?
I pondered the question long and hard, and put down my goals. In the hunter education classes I teach, we go over responsibility, safety, knowledge, and involvement. I wanted to hit on each attribute, so I broke my goals down to each.
It is easy to say I want to get the largest bass I have ever caught, or take a turkey. However, if that is your goal, but you do nothing to prepare for it, then it is much less likely to happen. You cannot guarantee a state record, but you can put yourself in position to have the best odds at a chance for something great.
One of my goals is to learn and hunt each of the game animals in North Carolina. I may not take a trophy buck each time I go out, but I can take a trophy experience. Another goal is to mentor my kids, as well as others that are new to hunting. By learning about each of the game animals, I hope to share those trophy experiences with others, and introduce even long time sportsmen/women to things they may never have thought of trying otherwise.
The gentleman who asked me the question, Randy Mabe, put together his goals several years ago. One goal was to take the North Carolina Grand Slam (deer, bear, turkey, wild boar) with the bow. Another was to take the North American Wild Turkey Grand Slam (Eastern, Osceola, Merriam, Rio), which he did with both a shotgun and bow. He said however, this third goal was one of his greatest. He introduced his wife to hunting. He did not force her into it. But he did work to find what she actually enjoyed, and then helped her in pursuing her goals. It allowed his marriage to grow stronger, as it gave them another connection. They enjoy the wilderness, the travel, and the adventure together. She is an animal lover, and together they now run a kennel, training and raising Verein Deutsch Drahthaar hunting dogs.
If you have ever wanted to take that dream expedition for other game animals or fish; put it on paper, and prepare. Take it in steps, and have the plan span not just one season, but over a period of time. The longer time period will help you manage your land for quality and quantity, and put together the resources and knowledge for that dream trip. Great successes come from preparation and involvement. Just ask Randy. Note: Randy Mabe can be reached from his website at www.broadheadkennels.com
Bill Howard is a Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Instructor , a Wildlife Representative and BCRS Program Chairman for the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, and an avid outdoorsman. Please forward any pictures or stories you would like shared to firstname.lastname@example.org.