Welcome to 2013.
I'm writing this on New Year's Day and I am sitting here in my living room, anxious to get the new year off to a good start. I'm thinking about my outdoor plans for 2013. And there is no shortage of ideas about what I plan to bring to the table for both you the reader and for the outdoors in general.
Winter is a bit of a downtime for me, but I'm not just sitting around. I have spent numerous hours and days in treestands through the fall and countless hours in a boat through the spring and summer, I balance this time with family time and church obligations. That won't change, and here is how I see things shaking out this year.
I will be shooting in a indoor archery league again this winter. The one I participate in runs for 12 weeks and is a great way to improve my shooting skills through the winter (as well as getting me out of the house). There's no point in putting my bow down for the year when there's so much fun at hand.
January also kicks off our Learn to Hunt program. Mentors begin meeting this month and we'll take first-time turkey hunters out in the field at the end of March or on the first weekend in April. I love doing this and I probably get more out of it than my students. If you can get involved in one of these programs where you live, do it. It's a great way to introduce new people to hunting, especially kids. When this time comes around, I will have a column on our results, so stay tuned.
Spring is also the time my club hosts its annual six-week kids archery program, which I also have the privilege of helping teach. Many of these 5- to 17-year-olds continue with archery and bowhunting when the program is done. Once these newcomers get comfortable shooting and get the basics down, the results and the path they take to future outdoor endeavors is unlimited. Expect to hear more from me on this too.
I'm not really an ice fisherman, but I may get out a time or two with some friends. The bulk of my outdoor time will likely be hunting coyotes or rabbit. Both of these species are challenging and fun to hunt.
After all this, I'll be right up to my assaults on walleyes and steelhead in early spring, panfish in May and June and Lake Michigan fishing through the summer. The bowhunting party begins in September and will last through the rest of the year.
One constant in 2013 will be my efforts to showcase of the good, bad and ugly in the outdoor world. I am always glad to point out how people take kids, handicapped people, veterans, and new people into the outdoors. It's something we should all be doing and it deserves recognition. The bad and ugly also deserve the spotlight. I'll also point out regulations to remember, take on animal right's folks who would love to end hunting and examine those in our sport who want to force their own views on everyone.
So these are my plans for 2013. What will you do?