George Little: Resolve to take a young person outside in 2013
The State Journal-Register
Well, the Mayans misfired. The world didn’t end. Their calendar probably didn’t allow for leap years. I guess it’s safe to buy green bananas, get a haircut and renew my driver’s license.
If you decided not to make any New Year’s resolutions just in case the Mayans were zeroed in, don’t worry about it. There’s still time. Behavioral experts say that New Year’s resolutions can be made up to Jan. 8. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the majority of resolutions have bitten the dust before Groundhog Day.
One reason so many resolutions fall by the wayside is that we set unrealistic goals. If your resolution is to harvest the next world record typical whitetail buck, resolve to win the lottery instead. The odds are more in your favor. The Hanson Buck has held that record since 1993. No other deer has come within a whisker of its 213 and 5/8 score. Most deer hunters go their entire hunting lifetime without ever seeing a 140-inch buck.
Make it your resolution to lay eyes on one that big. Spend the dog days of winter reading up on reclusive bucks. Then when the weather clears, look for sheds and start scouting.
Many times, hunters who connect with a trophy buck have watched him throughout the spring and summer. They know his patterns, and where he is likely to be holed up when the shooting starts. Properly positioned trail cameras are a big help. So is spending time sitting along deer trails. As exciting as trail camera downloads can be, nothing beats putting your own eyes on the deer you are studying.
Many fishermen resolve that this year they will get a 10-pound bass into the boat and smile for the camera. That’s a more realistic goal than topping the Hanson Buck, but it still isn’t easy. You can up your odds by doing your homework to determine if that fish is likely to be swimming in the waters you fish. Find out where and how other anglers are catching that fish. That could open the door to a trip planning opportunity. That’s all good. Planning a fishing trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself.
One resolution that all of us can make, and keep, is relatively easy. This year, resolve to partner up with a young person. Take a boy or girl afield and afloat. Show them the tricks you’ve learned, listen to their questions and help them discover what will work for them. Studies show that when young people are not engaged in outdoor pursuits by the time they are 14, it is unlikely they ever will be.
Someday, those pupils may become the teachers. They will tell their young partners how you helped them gain an appreciation for the outdoors. What more can you ask for?
You may never harvest a Boone and Crockett buck, or land a double-digit bass, but you will still have left your mark.