As a hunter, achieving life balance is something we should want to achieve – whether knowingly or unknowingly. Family and work obligations take precedence over much of our precious time. Where does hunting related time fit in? Since leaving your family and quitting your job are not recommended options, here is what I have learned over the past 20 years.
Get Rid of the Clutter
We all get time to ourselves during the week. How do you use it?
You are on a softball team. You golf with your friends. You play fantasy football. You are in front of an electronic device. You find yourself drawn to a bar’s happy hours. When you get rid of some or all of these things, how much extra time (not to mention money) will you have?
I am not suggesting becoming a loner with no friends. If you want to hunt more and be better prepared, letting go of some activities is the easiest way to get in the woods more often.
Know When the Time is Right
Knowing the right times versus the wrong times to do something hunting related is not complex:
- Depending on where you hunt, plant your perennial food plots at the end of March or all of April. Plant your annual food plots at the end of August or most of September.
- Put your trail cameras up after the 4th of July. Antler growth is distinguishable which means cataloging deer you want to hunt is easier.
- Trim trees, hang stands, and create entrance and exit routes at the end of August or the first two weeks of September. Vegetation is fully grown and you should only need to do this chore once.
- Pick times and conditions to hunt that give you the best opportunity to kill the deer you are after. Generally, the first week of the season, the last week of October, and the first two weeks in November should highlight your time to be in a tree. Also, watch the weather for those days with highest odds of good movement.
Your family plays the biggest and most important role. If you spend too much time away, you will feel guilt and loneliness. If you get your family to appreciate what you want to achieve, that my friend is true hunting enlightenment.
My wife understands how important hunting is to me. My sons voluntarily shoot their bows together with me in our backyard. My daughter wants to blood trail a deer with me. All three of my kids willingly join me shed hunting and they are intent on finding the biggest one. My wife and daughter chose to make a hunting snack basket for me an annual tradition.
The most important words are in italic and bold. I cannot recall ever forcing anyone in my family to do something hunting related with me. Letting them come to their own conclusions takes patience and time, but well worth the wait.
The End Result
Decisions and life changes are not always easy. Most are downright hard. When you write down the things that make you who you are and then circle the most important ones, things come into focus and choices are less problematic.
I live my own version of a hunting fairytale lifestyle. All of that clutter mentioned earlier, I got rid of it. At the time, it felt like I was giving up what made me happy. Looking back, I wish I would have done it sooner. I am happier now because the result is a better husband, dad, and hunter.
My wife read this article and found it to be true and accurate.
Author: Geoff Guzinski, Exodus Black Hat Team Member