In today’s hectic world, time is valuable. It is harder to find time for hunting and fishing every year or just being in the field with friends or family. I’ve learned to purchase all available hunting and fishing licenses for areas I plan to explore to maximize time and opportunity. My most memorable long weekend sent me home with moose, elk, ducks, geese grouse, and a coyote. The topping on the cake was a limit of beautiful rainbow trout. It was a cast-and-blast weekend that I will never forget. The secret to success is going prepared with the proper licenses, gear and recognizing where regulations provide overlap.
Set your hunting priorities and identify the main species you would like to pursue. Focus on your primary hunting or fishing priorities and apply for limited entry draws where overall opportunities are best, and your success will increase.
With your main focus in mind, check what else can be added to your activity list. You may be interested in deer but check to see if black bear, upland game birds, turkey, or waterfowl are also open in the same zone during the same period. Identify areas with several game species, with open seasons, which occur at the same time. When choosing an area to hunt deer this fall, check and see which units or zones also offer fall turkey or special archery season for other game. If all things for your deer hunt are equal, the area with the most opportunity should stand out.
Buy your licenses in advance. With the cost of travel and food, license fees are generally a bargain for the opportunity to harvest more game. I purchase all available licenses before the first season even opens to ensure I am ready when heading into the field. There are many stories from fellow hunters who were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime only to regret not purchasing a license beforehand.
Although it may seem like a daunting task, pack gear for everything you may encounter. I often leave home with my bow, several rifles, and a shotgun, and multiple fishing rods with the intentions of using them all. If you don’t go prepared, you are limiting yourself. Pack in small duffle bags to help keep calls, clothing, footwear, and gear organized for quick retrieval.
Find shortcuts. A firearm with a standard receiver that supports centerfire, muzzleloader, shotgun, or rimfire barrels is a great option. Packing a variety of clearly identified ammunition will allow you to transform quickly from a moose hunter to a grouse hunter by simply changing the barrel on your firearm. Goose decoys can be bulky, but packing a dozen silhouettes may be the ticket to your best hunt of the year. One set of camo clothing can be used for all activities. A packable fishing rod and small selections of hooks and lures can cover many fish options.
Do not be afraid to switch hunting and fishing hats. It will not limit your success but will open the door to opportunity when it knocks. Planning for success leads to success.
Alps OutdoorZ Cast-N-Blast
The Cast-N-Blast is a universal boat seat with a bolt pattern that fits standard boat seat swivel mounts. The name says it all for anyone wanting to maximize opportunity. The UV-resistant TechMesh seat and back material is breathable and dries quickly, while the powder-coated aluminum frame makes the unit durable and comfortable. A universal design mounts to any standard boat swivel. The seat measures 15” D x 18” W, and the backrest is 19” H x 18” W, with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Each unit weighs 4 pounds 2 ounces, keeping it portable and versatile. MSRP: $79
MTM Case-Gard Storage
With boxes of shotshells, centerfire, and rimfire ammunition to pack, keep it organized, dry, safe, and maintained for quick retrieval and future use. MTM Case-Gard offers dozens of shotshell and ammunition storage cases and dry boxes. An ammo crate utility box is ideal for storing ammunition needed for a multi-species hunt. Look at the Deluxe Shotshell Case that can hold 100 shotshells in two removable trays.
Cold Steel Click-N-Cut Hunters Model
The Click-N-Cut has interchangeable blades to cover the bases when hunting or fishing. A release button allows the blade to be removed from the handle and a new one attached. The Hunter’s model has a blaze orange handle and comes with three blades, including a Bowie, a gut hook blade for field dressing, and a serrated utility blade for all-purpose chores. MSRP: $31.99; www.coldsteel.com.