5 New Year’s Resolutions for Hunters
Another new year is upon us, which means it’s a great time to reflect on what went well in 2011 and how to make it even better in 2012. Generally, our resolutions focus on how we can make the best products for you all and your dogs. Our goal every year is just to get better for you. In looking at how we can do this, we realized that the path to making the best products coincides with the path to just generally being the best dog owners, hunters and well-rounded people we can be. Below are some commitments we have made to ourselves that we thought everyone could benefit from in the coming year.
1. Spend More Time with Your Dogs- Our dogs are our partners in our daily lives. Not just in the field or while training, but at the office, home and on those long road trips we all must take sometimes. For us, it’s obviously beneficial to spend as much time as we can with our pups because it helps us build the best possible product for them, but making an effort to spend a little extra dedicated time with your dog is beneficial for any dog owner. The more time you spend with your pooch, the better you both understand each other. You learn more about each other’s mannerisms and reactions to better improve communication, which leads to better training. Plus, studies show that spending more time with your dog reduces stress, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and increases mental well-being. Whether it’s getting in the field more, training a little extra or just extending the daily walk by a few minutes, put the effort in to get some extra time in with your dog this year.
2. Give Time to Conservation- Conservation is important to us at SportDOG. It enhances our hunting environments as well as preserves our sport for future generations. These are the reasons we created our Conservation Fund, but there is another big reason to make conservation a priority: it makes you feel good. Take some time to volunteer with a conservation project near you this year, and we are sure you will end up doing it again. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and well-being to know you are helping your community, your sport and future generations. If you’re already actively volunteering for projects or leading your own, make sure you keep up with our Conservation Fund. We offer grants to help you with these projects and are adding a really cool feature to our award process in the coming months.
3. Remember You Are an Athlete- We know our dogs are athletes. We do everything we can to make sure they get the exercise and nutrition they need to stay strong in the field, but we can often fail to do that ourselves. We tend to think more of our dogs’ needs than our own. As one of our friends said, “I may have a doughnut and a cigarette for breakfast, but I would never feed that to my dog.” We are in the fields, blinds, woods, etc. right beside them though. We don’t get the same miles, nor do we keep up the same pace, but as hunters, we are athletes. It’s important to take the extra time to make sure we are going to be on the hunt as long and hard as they are. In fact, our dogs depend on it. So this year, take a little extra time to take care of yourself. Whether it’s eating a little healthier or taking 10 or 15 extra minutes to move a day make sure you are making yourself as built to last as your dog.
4. Join a Youth in the Sport- There is nothing like seeing the excitement in a young person’s eyes when they pick up a gun, take down some game or just get out for the hunt. It’s good for the future of our sport to get kids out there and it’s good for them. In an era of video games and the Internet, a lot of kids aren’t getting as much time outside as they used to. If you have kids, get out with them this year. Whether they’re seasoned pros or it’s their first time, take them along on a hunt or to the shooting range. If you don’t have kids of your own, find a local hunting club near you and see if you can volunteer for a youth event. We promise it will be a great time. The only thing more exciting than your own first hunt is watching a child on their first hunt.
5. Reward Yourself- Around here, we have a bit of a habit of only looking for where we could do better, and not taking time to celebrate what we did right and we have a feeling we’re not alone in this. We are all bombarded with messages every day that tell us the economy is bad, unemployment is high and various other things that can cause already highly motivated people to work their fingers to the bone. Working hard is never a bad thing, but make sure you take the time to reward yourself this year. Get off the clock and spend some time not worrying about what still has to be done, but focusing on enjoying what you’ve accomplished. Take some time with family and friends in the field. Spend a little extra money to take a trip out to see your old hunting buddy. Save up some cash for that awesome piece of gear you’ve had your eye on but just didn’t want to buy quite yet. Take an extra day in the field. We’re not saying quit your job to live in a duck blind and spend through your retirement, but remember that to be the best worker you can be, you need some time to do what you enjoy. We know you all accomplished a lot in 2011 and we expect great things from you in 2012, so take a moment to celebrate what went right before you dive into the task of making it better.
Happy New Year!