January is an interesting month. A month with great possibility and with much on the line.
For hunters, I like to call January the “whitetail hangover.” Most deer hunting seasons are wrapped up or about to be, and hunters are coming off a grueling three to five month hunting marathon. Given that fact, it’s natural for many of us to fall into hibernation mode, avoid hunting related tasks and turn our attention to other activities.
On the other hand, for the non-hunters out there, January takes on a very different feel. For many, January is a month of new goals, aspirations and resolutions. January is a month of renewal, possibility and excitement. It’s a time of optimism. And because of that, these “other folks” are jumping on treadmills, eating their veggies, and chasing their dreams.
While we hunters may be a bit whooped, and for good reason, it’s important that we don’t let our hangover keep us from realizing the power of January. It’s not a month to be wasted. And maybe, this is a time of year when we should be taking our cues from the rest of the world.
Why is that?
Because January is the beginning of what could be your best season ever.
True story, I kid you not. This could be your best season. Hell, it SHOULD be your best season ever. And it’s all up to you. It’s in no ones hands except your own. So lets go make it happen. Lets get off the couch (I need this kick in the butt too), and get in to gear.
You, me and everyone else out there. Lets get working and lets do this. Lets make a promise to ourselves that this year will be our best season ever. Join me by following these 4 steps and then lets go have the best damn hunting season of our lives. Deal?
1. Reflect and Set Goals:
Reflection is a powerful force. I’ve written about it before, but it’s worth noting again. The act of looking back on past experiences and hunts, re-living those moments, and then learning from them can make a huge difference in your growth as a hunter. To make sure this year can be our best season ever, we need to take the time to process what happened last year. What worked well? What didn’t? What projects helped the most? Which were a waste of time? The questions and answers are endless, but helpful to consider. Once we’ve done that, lets decide where we need to go from here. That means setting goals. Think about it – what do you need to do this year to take the next step?
In my opinion it’s a good idea to set two kinds of goals. First, set “pinnacle goals”. These are goals of ultimate achievement. The final piece of a journey. For example, one goal of mine is to kill a mature buck in Iowa this year. Next, we need to set “developmental goals”. These are goals related to steps that must be taken to reach the pinnacle. So in my case, in order to kill a mature buck in Iowa, I’m setting the developmental goal of asking for permission on at least three new properties there. I’d recommend listing out at least three of these types of goals for each of your “pinnacle goals”. This gives you smaller, attainable steps to work on and to keep you focused towards your larger goals.
I know you hear this every year, but it really can work. Write these goals out, and put them somewhere you’ll see them often. Want even more accountability? Tell a hunting buddy about your goals, give them a copy, and ask them to keep you honest and on task.
2. Start Your Work Now and Don’t Stop:
Once you know what you’re working towards, it’s time to get after it. There’s no off-season for the serious and successful hunter, and if you want this season to be your best season ever, you’re going to need to work harder than ever before. Just last week I wrote about 10 projects to be working on now, and that’s a great place to start. But that’s just a start. Success requires hard work. Tireless, endless, focused hard work. This is the year that you pay attention to the details, it’s the year you do all the things you know you “should” do, but never get to. This is the year you finally take on those projects you’ve talked about years. No more woulda, coulda, shouldas.
If you want this to be your best season ever you need to take each step of the hunters year up to a new level. Post-season scouting – gotta do it. Shed hunting – take it seriously. Archery practice – be consistent with it. Food plots – put in the work. Stand preparation – get on it early. The projects and possibilities are endless, but the morale of the story is the same. There should not be a single week of any month that you’re not doing something to work towards your whitetail related goals. Unless, of course, you don’t want this to be your best season ever.