Taking risks and trying new things are how we learn. We will never get our limit of knowledge in our lifetime. The best lessons are learned through trial and error. Big mistakes mean big opportunities to grow. To become a successful outdoorsman, we need to embrace the adventure, failure, and challenges.
Here are 10 things well learned learned that will help you become a better outdoorsman and person:
#1. Attitude is important!
Hunt, fish, and live your life with a positive attitude. Every cast is an opportunity for a bite, every hunt could lead to a big buck, and life is supposed to fun. I expect a bite on every cast. If you don’t, what’s the point? If you think the fish won’t bite or the deer won’t move, and that life is miserable, you will always be right and unhappy. Lighten up and enjoy what life throws at you.
#2. Be a Student of the Sport!
Old dogs can always learn new tricks. If someone else is catching more fish than you, introduce yourself and ask some questions. Make new friends and take every opportunity to learn. Today’s shows, seminars, readings, and clubs are great ways to network and keep up with the best new tips and gear. “The most important things that we learn in life are the things we learn after we already know everything!”
#3. Be Comfortable!
If you only trek outdoors on the “nice days”, you will miss out on most of the best hunting and fishing. Today’s quality fabrics and clothing offer incredible comfort and function. You don’t have to wear the same boots from 30 years ago. Treat yourself to some new gear! If you are cold, hungry, hot, or just uncomfortable, you will not be attentive to your trek, hunt or cast. Hand and toe warmers are a godsend. Under Armor-type constrictive garments wick away moisture, support your joints, and improve circulation. Lightweight tree stands have swivel seats and shooting rails! New boats are equipped with all sorts of comfort features that are worth the investment. If you are not comfortable, you will not be motivated.
#4. Move more and Eat less!
Staying in shape becomes tougher with age. It is easy to find excuses to stay home. All of us fight the battle of weight and staying in shape. Fitness memberships help but hunting and fishing can be a workout too. It is important to move and exercise when hunting and fishing to promote flexibility and muscle strength. A trout stream or mountain ridge is a lot more exciting and beautiful than a gym. Attack your sport within your limits and enjoy. You also have the chance to bring home a meal and a story or two. Lazy Boy chairs are for lazy boys and not sportsmen!
#5. Stay True to the Limits and Rules!
Anyone can be a cheater, poacher, or thief. They are lazy, greedy, and brainless. Sportsmen follow the rules and take pride in what they accomplish. Telling truthful stories about great hunting and fishing trips are part of the celebration. It is always easier to remember the truth. These exciting and honest moments change a person in so many ways. Kids who get into trouble need to learn how to hunt and fish. The rules, limits, guidelines, and laws define right and wrong. Out of control kids don’t know what limits and rules are. Sports are a great way to teach them. Poachers know the rules but choose to ignore them.
#6. Safety First!
Always anticipate what may go wrong. Be prepared for the worst case scenarios and you will stay safer. Outdoor sports happen in dangerous environs. Storms, bears, snakes, bees, insects, cuts, bruises, and accidents can happen in a second. We don’t need to fear them, we just need to be aware and prepared for them. An updated and modern first aid kit is a must. Life vests, modern gear, and newer weapons offer better safety features. CPR and First Aid classes are important.
#7. Teach Others the Sport!
The greatest outdoorsmen show others the way. Being a Pathfinder is more important than ever. Men are an important part of our children’s lives. Many single-parent “Soccer Moms” were never taught the hunting and fishing heritage. They want their kids to be active and involve them in what they know. Teaching others how to enjoy the outdoors is the best assessment of the kind of sportsman you are. Nature, fishing rods, and hunting are great daycare alternatives. They teach patience, respect, and are great fun.
#8. Change it up!
Do the opposite of what is expected, to reap huge results. Use a big fly during a midge hatch, fish downstream instead of up, try a new spot, be creative and unique! I once used a HUGE Joe’s Hopper to fly fish the Henry’s Fork. This technical river required skill, fine tippets, and perfect presentation. Everyone was fishing with tiny dry flies so I went BIG! I was catching so many huge trout that a fisherman called the game warden on me! They thought the “kid” was using bait. If you do what everyone else is doing, you can expect the same results.
#9. Fish and hunt for fun!
Don’t measure the success of the trip on the filled limits or tags. The true bounty is with the adventure, memories, and experiences. Plan to have a great day no matter what happens. You will discover that you are more anxious and excited about every aspect of the day. The rest will take care of itself. Most of us will never catch enough fish or critters. We will never adventure outdoors enough.
I once called in 5 bugling bull elk for a client in a single morning. Every bull was huge and offered a bow shot within 20 yards. He missed every shot because he was so excited. This experienced worldwide unfilled tag hunter had the best hunt of his life and his tip proved it.
#10. Celebrate the Sport!
Every year we get one less hunting and fishing opening day. We never thought about that when we are younger but….embrace every opportunity and friend as you share the outdoors. Great hunting and fishing buddies are harder to find than a good wife, husband, or partner. Enjoying nature is better with a buddy. It is also safer. As our population grows, more impact will continue on our natural resources. The more folks that celebrate and, love nature, will help to protect and conserve it. Celebrate, share, and teach others to appreciate and enjoy our outdoor legacy.
The best outdoorsmen are the ones that can excite and teach others how to be their best. That is what the Outdoor legacy and heritage is really about!
Hunt and fish with pride!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.