By Alex Comstock
2017 is officially here. With it brings new opportunities, new challenges, and inevitably the ups and downs that come with deer hunting. There will be some things that happen that are simply out of our control, and there are things that we are completely in control of. If you want to make next year your best season yet, it starts right now. If you think you just had a great year, it can still get better. There is always room for improvement, and in order to make that improvement, it's going to take commitment, hard work, and maybe even a little luck. Here is how I'm starting to plan to make next year my best season ever, and how you can too.
Create Goals (And Stick to Them): This time of the year is a popular one to create goals for all types of things. While you're at it, create a few goals that you want to accomplish next season. It doesn't necessarily have to be an end goal, but something attainable. For example, a goal that I am going to set for myself, is to not rely on trail cameras as much. This season, I think there were multiple times I didn't hunt somewhere, even though my gut told me I should, because of recent trail camera pictures, or lack thereof. Though I still am going to use trail cameras just as much, I don't want to base all of my hunting around them. The other important part of goal setting is to stick to any goal you set. It can be easy to stray from a goal anytime adversity strikes, but if you stick to your goal, once accomplishing it, it will be much more gratifying in the end.
Start Planning Now: Deer season is roughly eight months away so we don't have to worry about it right now...right? That's fine, but if you are looking to have a stellar 2017 season, things should start for you right now. There is a number of things you can do right now to plan for next season. You can start scouting any properties you already have permission to hunt, or start trying to find permission to hunt on new properties. I spend literally hours upon hours this time of the year staring at aerial maps, and breaking them down and analyzing them as well. By starting to put your work in right now, you'll be ahead of the game once Spring/Summer arrive.
Cut The Excuses: Something that we as humans do seemingly by nature, is create excuses for ourselves. Why? It's the easy way out. I'm not sitting here on my high horse saying I don't make excuses, because I do just as much as the next guy. Together, lets all cut the excuses when it comes to our efforts hunting mature bucks, and lets get stuff done. No more "I didn't have time", or "I was tired". Excuses come in all forms, and most often times, they are what holds us back in life, and in deer hunting. By cutting out those excuses, our chances of having an improved season will go way up.
Conclusion: These three things are just part of the puzzle to making next year your best season ever. For me, this is the starting point. If I can do these three things, I've got a base, and I can work off of that. I encourage you to start here as well. It all starts right now, it'll be here before you know it. Here's to our best season ever!