I resolve to go fishing every day I can. Year before last I filled one of my "bucket lists" items of fishing every single day during the year. I won’t be quite that fanatical again, but I won’t miss a day on my pond or on an area lake if I have a chance to go. And I will enjoy each of those days whether I catch bass, catfish, crappie, bream, carp or nothing at all!
I resolve to attend each and every meeting and tournament of the Flint River Bass Club and the Spalding County Sportsman Club. Tournaments are a special kind of fun for me. I have never been competitive about anything in my life - didn’t play sports, don’t like games - but I am competitive about something that is not supposed to be competitive - fishing. But bass tournaments hold a fascination for me that no other competition can.
The tall tales and joking at club meetings are fun, and I really enjoy the food at Hong Kong 2 where we meet. I always go early so I can stuff myself with my favorites from the buffet and be ready to take notes by the time the meeting starts. The meetings are always short and we never have any fussing or arguing that seem to mar so many clubs, and I really appreciate that we keep it on a fun level.
When I fish the Federation Nation Southern Regional tournament at Barren River Lake, Kentucky next April I will fish as hard as I can for the practice days and the three tournament days. But I will also work as hard as possible when I take a young angler out in our youth club tournaments and try my best to make sure they catch fish and have fun.
I resolve to go to all Griffin Gun Club meetings to keep up with the shooting sports and to have a good meal with like-minded gun owners. The media likes to portray us gun owners as knuckle dragging murderous nutcases but rational people know that is no where near the case. Members of the gun club are a reflection of society in this area, with a diverse range of people. We all like shooting and hunting though.
This year I will make sure my food plots are planted early and kept up all spring, summer and fall until deer season. Food crops I plant for the deer help all the wildlife on my place and means the deer I shoot will be fat and flavorful. I love venison so I resolve to kill enough deer this year to keep my wife and I fed all year long. And I want enough meat to have summer sausage made. I could eat that every day!
Unlike the past year, I resolve to have a good supply of firewood cut, split and stacked by the time cold weather gets here. I refused to go into the woods this year until frost made ticks inactive and then I didn’t want to cut wood while deer season was open. I had enough wood to get by until deer season ended and plenty of dead trees to cut up that are ready to burn, but there is a special satisfaction in having a full woodshed of seasoned oak and hickory. And I enjoy cutting wood, it is one of the few ways I get exercise.
I resolve to cook all my favorite foods this year and to explore new recipes. And I will try everything and anything, from the most simple to the very complex. I love venison tenderloin sautéed in olive oil for one minute on each side to barely sear it, but I also love it in a sauce of mushrooms, peppers, cream and spices.
I resolve to keep up with outdoor politics and let elected officials know my thoughts on them. And I will try to hold them accountable when they try to take hunting and fishing license money and spend it on things totally unrelated to hunting and fishing.
Hiking trails and bike paths are great in wildlife management areas, but hunters and fishermen paid for those areas. When others that want to use them start buying licenses and paying a special excise tax on their equipment like hunters and fishermen do, I will feel better about the trails. But, after all, non hunters and non fishermen get to use those areas almost all year long while hunters are restricted to about three months a year on them at most.
Most of all I will try to enjoy every single day I have in 2011 and spend as many of them as possible in the outdoors I love so much.