Enjoyment of hunting only increases as you get older

I told you yesterday about the different stages hunters go through. I fall in the method hunter category.

I may be in the method stage of hunting, but I tend to use different methods to hunt different game. I hunt with a bow for elk and deer, but I use my old, trusty .270 for antelope. I recently added a new twist to my waterfowl and upland bird hunting method— I bought a golden retriever.

Even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool hunter, I still need a new challenge or a new method each season. That’s what the dog is all about. Well, that and a fluffy, friendly head to scratch when I’m stuck in the home office.

Cricket is providing that challenge. We have yet to go after birds, but we’ve already done a hefty amount of training. I fear we haven’t done enough training to be ready for the bird season, but we’ll see how it goes. We may spend our first season together training more than hunting, but that’s just fine by me.

If you’re starting to worry that your hunting routine has become, well, routine, maybe it’s time to try a new method. You can pick up a good used bow for a reasonable price, and the hours you spend practicing before you go on an actual hunt will be enjoyable and rewarding.

If you’re already a bowhunter, you might try switching to a more primitive piece of weaponry, like a recurve or even a longbow.

Most hunters tend to move from the high-tech toward the primitive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go the other way. If you’ve been a primitive hunter for decades, maybe it would be good to pull the old .30-06 with the 9x scope out of the safe and apply your skills during the rifle season.

Or maybe it’s time to move on to the sportsman stage. You’ve done it all and seen everything there is to see. Why don’t you share that knowledge with the next generation?

Take a kid out to the field and show him or her how it’s done. It doesn’t have to be your kid. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a kid. Offer your services as a hunting mentor this season. It’ll rekindle your love for hunting, and it’ll spark an interest in someone who might do the same for another rookie hunter 10, 20, or even 30 years from now.