I only have one resolution, but I’ll make it fun

It’s a brand new year. A time for fresh starts and clean slates.

It’s a time when a lot of people, with the best of intentions, resolve to make positive changes in their lives. I quit making new year’s resolutions a long time ago. Then I got fat and out of shape, I stopped getting out in the field as much as I did before, and my aim with both my rifle and my shotgun went out the window.

So this year, I’ve decided to get back into the resolution game. But instead of setting goals that are no fun to get to, I’ll actually enjoy the process.

I’m only making one resolution, but it’ll take several steps. The resolution is to get back in shape again. I’ve been on a roller coaster of fitness for the last 10 or 15 years, and I’ve had some moments of greatness, but then I tend to lapse into my old habits and lose all the progress I’ve made. A couple of years ago, I got back down to my old high school wrestling weight. It was a huge accomplishment, and not only was I proud of myself for reaching my goal, I also had more energy and had a much easier time chasing elk around the hills that year. It’s time to get back to that again. I may never get my old wrestling physique back, but I hope to be able to go on an elk hunt without feeling like I’m going to keel over at any moment. And I’ll have fun doing it.

The first step is to walk at least five miles a week. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. I’ll spend whatever time I can in January and February tramping around the prairies and the foothills with a .22 in my hands, looking for rabbits. The added benefit is that rabbit is good, lean meat, so I’ll eat well, too.

When the opportunities arise, I’ll change it up by grabbing the 12-gauge and buying pheasants at bird farms. If I’m feeling pretty good, I’ll ask the owner to release the birds as far apart as possible.

By April, I should be ready for more strenuous activity. I’ll get my turkey license and go out after a gobbler. If my previous experiences with turkey hunting are any indication, I’ll spend an entire month running from ridge to ridge, trying in vain to cut the birds off at the pass.

When it gets warm in the high country, I’ll add some weight to my workout. I’ll strap on the backpack with all the gear I’ll need for a few days and nights in the woods, as well as everything my wife will want. The more gear I carry, the better workout I’ll get, and I might even score some points with the better half by carrying as much of her stuff as possible.

By the time fall comes around, I should be a lean, mean hunting machine. I won’t be running any 4-4 forties, but I should be able to hike a few miles. I’ll be able to hike deep into the wilderness on elk hunts, and I might even be able to go on a few chukar hunts, as well. That’s the real test of a person’s fitness, by the way. If you’ve never hunted chukar before, don’t do it without some prep training. Those dang birds will work you over if you’re not in shape.

That’s the goal, anyway. I think if I can combine exercise with hunting, I should be able to stick to it, and it’ll be one resolution that should actually fun to keep.

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