In all things in life I am constantly seeking knowledge, focus, and growth for improvement. This is a part of who I am as a professional during my daytime job and is also how I feel about my leisurely activities. Naturally, that includes how I feel about hunting. Every year I set small, attainable goals for myself when it comes to white-tail deer hunting. Call them resolutions if you want to. Whichever way you choose to look at it, goals are a good thing. I prefer the term “goals” over “resolutions” because resolutions at the beginning of a New Year tend to die out by the end of February. With white-tail deer hunting my season doesn’t start until November, so short-lived resolutions don’t work for me. Instead I focus on goals. It is how we become better at anything, including hunting.
- Start dabbling with shed hunting
o The only way to get experience in something that you haven’t tried before is to start practicing. How do we go from the casual hunter going out several times a year to a white-tail focused deer whisperer? Learn to speak their language. Part of that is not being afraid of locating antlers during shed season and using them to perpetuate success the next time you are dressed and ready in the woods the following fall/winter. Are you looking to bag a buck? Chances are if you are reading this post to improve your deer hunting game the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Pickhartz is not in the minority of experienced hunters when he says there is no better way to draw in aggressive, big bucks. The best way to get started is to get out in the woods during shed season and walk any property that you have access to. Collect any antlers you find and spend some time in the off-season practicing your rattle.
- Plan a hunting trip that takes you outside of your comfort zone
o My Pops and I have been talking about several different “bucket list” adventures and hunting trips for years now. Problem is… it has been over eight years since we went on our first trip together. These trips can very quickly be something that does not come to fruition unless you make a conscious effort to plan one with a specific deadline in mind. Not this year. This year we are setting aside the money and making that trip to Iowa that we have been talking about for years now. This year we make it a priority. Tomorrow is not a guarantee and I don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I would have…”
- My final goal for the year 2018 is to: Improve my hunting property
o We have several different properties that we hunt on a regular basis. The small piece of pie that I specifically own could absolutely yield more success if I took the steps each year to make small but crucial improvements. This year I am going to plant a food plot on my little slice of land to improve our chances of seeing more deer during the season. It is the single most effective way of attracting more deer and keeping them coming back to your property. It is something that I have been talking about doing for two years now and 2018 is going to be the year I get it down.
These three tips were selected from a grander list that I created about a month ago. I sat down and wrote my list of ideas for things that I could focus on improving in this coming year and then prioritized. I thought about two main points while prioritizing: feasibility of me being able to accomplish the goal and correlating positive impact said goals would have on my hunting experiences in the fall. Granted, the goal list I created for this post is written in broad, sweeping terminology. To make them your own you will need to make them specific to you. Take some of these ideas and tailor the details to fit you. How are you going to measure success? How realistic are these goals for you? What is the deadline you are giving yourself for your new adapted goals? Do these things and I guarantee you will be more likely to reach your deer hunting goals for 2018.
 Pickhartz, Eric. “Calling Them In: A Beginner’s Guide to Antler Rattling.” Wide Open Spaces. N.p., 05 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
 King, Antler. “Deer Food Plots In Seven Easy Steps | Tractor Supply Co.” Tractor Supply Company. TSC, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.