First of all I would like to thank the Addicts for letting me join in the fun here on Addicted to Hunting. I am excited about some of the things that we are looking to bring to this site over the next few months, and I think that everyone will enjoy them a lot. I thought that I was going to have to introduce myself in this message but Travis did a good job of that in his last post and I have been mentioned in some of the past posts as well (yes, I am the neighbor that tried to kill Jason, and I also had the privilege of calling in a great bull for Mike from Timber Hawk Packs).

As I have been thinking about the upcoming hunting seasons I can?t help but run through a handful of different emotions. I am unbelievably excited about helping my 9 year old on his first turkey hunt this May. He is so excited to finally be able to carry his own bow into the field (I hope that we can get it done with the bow and not have to use his shotgun), but I am also nervous about helping him through the possible disappointment of not filling his first ?Utah Tag?. I am anxious to go to Missouri to hunt Whitetail in November, but stressed about how to afford it in the current economic crunch. And to wrap it all up, I am a bit frustrated with the changes that have been made to the archery hunt in Utah and what that means to the areas I typically frequent (I will speak to this issue in a later post).

I am sure that these are issues that all hunters face at some point and maybe I am just feeling them because I am ready to start all these great adventures right now. I hate the off-season! That being said I thought I would share some of the things that I try to work on during this time of year.

First and foremost, decide now what equipment you are going to use. If you are an archer, now is the time to ?trip your trigger? on new equipment purchases. There are a lot of great new bows and accessories on the market this year (we will offer reviews on some of these products over the next few weeks). As an archery shop owner I get to see the difference in the level of preparation and commitment from one hunter to the next. I can tell you that the hunters that prepare early are always more comfortable and confident with their equipment (be it all new or the same as last year) by the time the season opens. They are not always the most successful hunters but in my opinion they defiantly give themselves a better chance to succeed than those that change equipment days before the opener.

Second, make time to practice at least once a week. I firmly believe that to be a great hunter you must be a great shot. As we all know, there are so many small things that influence a shot in the field. Wind, rain or snow, tree branches, the position of the animal, how alerts the animal is, etc. can all affect a shot opportunity. With so many things out of our control, we should defiantly be confident in the ?only? thing that is, our shooting ability. Remember, just because you felt like you were a great shot last year doesn?t mean you will be this year. It takes practice!

Last but not least, know the areas that you plan to hunt. Use this time of the year to become familiar with your hunting range. Plan scouting trips weekly if at all possible, place trail cams and game attractants as early as you can, and buy and study topographical maps to locate water sources. I like to plan my family?s summer activities around the areas I hunt. This allows me to get up early in the mornings to scout and then spend quality time with the wife and kids before I disappear for four months.

I see so many people that, like me hate the off-season but don?t think to do anything to prepare. I promise that if you will start now, the time will pass faster and you will find yourself in the field before you know it!

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