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A few New Year’s resolutions can help all outdoors enthusiasts

With the New Year now officially underway, tradition suggests that we take some time to jot down a list of resolutions that could help us become the person we want to be. The problem with making these promises to self is that we generally fail to follow through with them.

Not right away, but certainly as the months go by.

For those of us with a passion for things outdoors, perhaps the key to keeping our resolutions is to draft them with an outdoor focus. For example, instead of simply writing lose weight or exercise somewhere on your list, you may want to think in terms of how doing those things will help you accomplish your outdoor goals.

If a lack of physical conditioning caused you to miss out on a dandy buck during your last outing, your resolution might read, “Be in condition to climb big buck ridge.” Only you can decide what outdoor resolutions make it on your list, but here are a few suggestions for 2020.

Be an outdoor ambassador

There are many people who have been raised with limited exposure to the outdoors. Oftentimes they want to do outdoor things, but they aren’t sure how or where to get started. Their lack of experience often manifests itself as fear of the unknown, and that can hold them back.

As an experienced outdoors enthusiast, you have a lot to offer and can help them out by sharing what you know.

Take someone fishing

Long before the advent of video games and other high-tech diversions, fishing was just something we did. It seemed like everyone my age new how to fish and had no problems threading a wriggling worm or grasshopper onto a hook.

Fishing provides one with the opportunity to disconnect with the digital realm and reconnect with the natural world. It gives participants the opportunity to see and experience the real cycle of life. Not only as a spectator but as an active part of it. Few experiences can be as enlightening as standing knee deep in a trout stream.

Spend more time on the shooting range …

… and take someone with you. The only way to be better at something is to do it, and the more frequently you do something the better you will be. This is especially true with the shooting sports where muscle memory is critical to one’s success. Whether your focus is becoming more competitive in the shotgun sports or bagging more birds, practice is the key.

Regardless of your goal, range time is always more enjoyable when you take someone along. It also is an opportunity to introduce someone new to the shooting sports. My niece recently went shooting for the first time and was excited to tell me about the experience. She won’t ever forget her first double. It came on her last pair of the day.

Much of the misconception and misinformation about firearms, especially modern sporting rifles, is created and fueled by those who have never had the opportunity to squeeze a trigger. Experience is the best teacher, so why not give others the opportunity to learn?

Be a better hunting partner

Few things can be as enjoyable as spending time in the field with good hunting partners, but the opposite also is true. Few things can be as frustrating as spending time in the field with someone who is not a good hunting partner.

We all have shortcomings that can affect those around us, even close friends and family members. Take the time to complete a self-evaluation and identify those things you can work on that will make you a better hunting partner. Once that is done, go to work and make those changes.

Upgrade your optics

You can get by with low-end optics, but why? The best advice I ever received was to upgrade my glass. Though I had gotten by with mid-range optics for most of my hunting career, the decision to follow that advice proved to be one of my best. The clarity that higher end glass provides can mean the difference between finding the quarry you seek and going home with an empty cooler. By the best glass you can afford.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

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