Most every bowhunter I know pens a list of personal “hunt” goals every year. Typically, this is done in the offseason when the bowhunter has time to reflect on the “what went right” and “what went wrong” details of his/her stick-and-string sojourns. This is important. Etching down a list of achievable goals is exciting. It gives us something to look forward to. It gives us something to dream about.

Personally, I set my yearly hunt goals in January. My fall hunts are over, it’s the beginning of a new year and my spring hunts are yet to come. The timing is perfect.

But it isn’t enough to just set goals – you have to be willing to work toward them. So this year I took it a step further. In addition to setting my spring and fall hunt goals, I scribbled a detailed list of things I could do both before and during the season to make those goals a reality.

As a Western hunter, I’ve found that my level of physical fitness is a major part of whether or not I succeed on a hunt. I’ve always been a runner, but I’ve never been one for weight training. I didn’t like it – I still don’t – but, in reviewing my 2015 hunt goals, I knew I needed to make weight training a part of my preparation. I added up the amount of nonsense money I blow in a month. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to hire a good buddy and local gym owner to train me on weights three days a week. Could I have done it myself? Probably, but I knew nothing about weight training. Investing the money and having my buddy work me out three days a week for three months gave me a huge advantage. Now I can weight train on my own and have the confidence to get the results I want.

I also ramped up my running program. It takes quite a bit of endurance to chase elk all over the mountains, so I worked on developing that endurance – then put it to the test by entering a 50-mile ultramarathon this past July. I knew if I could run 50 miles, I could handle anything the bowhunting woods would throw at me. I’m pleased to say that on Saturday, July 25, 2015, at 4:33 p.m., I crossed the 50-mile finish line. It was a grueling race – 50 miles in the Colorado mountains, 7,000 vertical feet of elevation gain and some wicked descents. I was tired and beat, I’d never felt better in my life. I had done something to make my upcoming fall bowhunting goals more than just a pipe dream, and the feeling was indescribable.

Do you need to run 50 miles to accomplish your bowhunting goals? Absolutely not.  Do you need to weight train three days a week? Nope. Those were steps to achieving my goals. My dreams. They were designed to help make me more efficient in the bowhunting woods. Your goals will probably require a different plan of attack.

I know it’s August. I know big-game seasons are looming. That’s OK. It’s not too late. Take a minute right now to look at this season’s goals. Are they achievable? Have you done everything in your power to prepare and make them reality? If the answer is yes, great. If the answer is no, make plans now to dedicate yourself to a solid during-season routine. Then, when the fall wraps up, you’ll be that much further ahead of the curve and ready to conquer the offseason.

Keep me posted on how your fall hunts go. I’d love to hear about the goals you’ve set this year. What’s working for you? What isn’t? Drop me a line at jbauserman@grandviewmedia.com.