PSE’s Emily Anderson is Planning For Next Season
It’s that time of year again. Deer season is coming to a close for most areas of the country. Accolades have been echoed across social media circles to those who have punched their tag. Proud pictures of smiling hunters next to their deer in the field have been posted everywhere possible online. You would think that hunters across the country would be relieved that the season is over; there is time to now sit back, enjoy a big juicy venison steak dinner and relax for the next several months. But to be honest, I know that is not the case. At least not for me. Yes, I’m eating a steak dinner, but I’m dreaming about the next season while savoring each bite… And so the planning begins. By the end of December or mid-January, I’m already thinking about opening day 2013. Non-hunters may not understand that the beginning of a new calendar year simply begins the count down for when we can do it all again. The end of one season simply marks the beginning of preparation for the next. And if you’re like me, there are several things that need to be weighed during this process.
So, sit back, grab a piece of freshly dried venison jerky and let’s consider together the WHERE, WHEN and WHO for next season hunts. Some of these overlap a bit, but that is because each decision factors into the other in some capacity… First on the list… WHERE to hunt next year. How do you decide where your hunting adventures for the upcoming year will occur? The two biggest things I personally consider each year when considering where I’ll be hunting are my budget, and my bucket-list. Here is a breakdown of what that looks like:
• BUDGET – My budget for the next year is first up for consideration. I know it sounds simple, because if you don’t have the funds for a tag, then you simply don’t have the funds. However, there are sometimes some options here. My husband and I budget throughout the year to be able to apply for and/or buy our tags for the next year. However, not all of your tags need to be bought at the same time. If you plan and do your research, you can lay out good plan of which tags will need to be paid for ahead of time (draw), and which can be bought as over-the-counter. This helps to ultimately spread out the cost over several months. If you are applying for out-of-state tags, that is where the punch to the wallet will occur. However, there are some options here also. Most of the time you can use a credit card to apply for the tag and the cost of the tag will usually only hit your card if you draw the tag. Of course, the best option is to have the funds ahead of time, but using a credit card is a great way to build points if you know that you won’t actually draw the tag for a few years.
• BUCKET LIST – Each year, I consider the big hunts that I want to do someday, and make an effort to be one-step closer to making it happen. Does it mean applying for a tag to build preference points? Does it mean that I simply need to buckle down and start saving more towards my goal? Either way, if you make an effort to be one-step closer to your goal, the likelihood of crossing that dream hunt off your bucket list has a better chance of becoming a reality. Plan for it.
Next up on the list… WHEN will I be hunting next year. This depends on the tag that is drawn. Along with that, there are couple factors to consider when planning the WHEN of your hunt:
• TIME – This isn’t as much of an issue for some as others. For example, I am fortunate to have several weeks of vacation that I can devote to hunting each year, but that also means that I need to be disciplined and not use it up during the summertime months which is sometimes very tempting! My husband is blessed even more and is able to take off several months…one for elk season and one for whitetail. Depending on how much time you have factors in to how many tags you’ll be able to buy. For example, I consider whether I will be able to spend the time needed if I draw that once-in-a lifetime moose tag this year, or would it be smarter to just put in for preference points instead? As a hunter, I’ve found that it is important to budget my vacation time well in advance so that by the time season opener rolls around, I’m not stuck with an expensive tag in my pocket and no time to hunt.
• SEASON LENGTH – After you’ve established how much time you have, then think about exactly when during each season you’ll be hunting based on the length of the season. Some tags are only valid for a week timeframe, so that is usually a no-brainer. However, for archery elk or whitetail, the season typically last for a month or several months. Therefore, how do you decided exactly when to hunt? I’m not going to list all the pros and cons of early versus late season here or even tell you which is better since there are many personal preferences in this area. Rather, I’ll just point out there are many things to think about when considering your season length and which dates you will focus on hunting: timing of the rut, moon phases, hunting pressure, overlap of other seasons, weather, etc.
Finally, Troy and I review WHO we will be hunting with during the upcoming year.
• LOCATION – A huge factor in determining where you will be hunting is figuring out who you will be hunting with. You almost need to consider this first before anything else. Some questions to think about… Will you be hunting with someone new? Do you trust them with your secret hunting hole? Do they match your physical ability? Are they prepared for a backcountry hunt both physically and mentally? If hunting with a regular hunting friend, are you on the same page on where you will be hunting? Discussing this way ahead of the game is key to a successful hunt.
• BASE CAMP – It is never too early to begin thinking about camping arrangements. If you are hunting with a big group, then start planning for a location that has plenty of room and easy access for everyone. If hunting in a smaller group or solo hunting, now is the time to begin going through your gear, doing inventory for next year, and budgeting for the necessary gear you want to add to your pack for the next mountain adventure.
That is my high-level planning list. Let me know what you think! Remember, it’s never too early to plan your next hunt. Good luck in the upcoming year. Happy planning and hunting!
Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!