It’s one of the toughest times of the year. It’s that time when many of us take a look in the mirror and make the decision that we need to improve ourselves during the next 12 months. You know what I am talking about – New Year’s resolutions.
It’s a little amusing to me that we have traditionally chosen Jan. 1 as the big day where we draw up our to-do list of personal rehab projects. It really has no significance by itself except that people usually do it on that date and normally make no secret of the things they are working on. Why do we announce our targets? We usually set the bar far too high and have to eat crow with our friends, families and co-workers sometime around the first of February.
I, myself, have made and broken so many resolutions that I could earn a healthy income if there were any paid positions for resolution breaking.
I used to be really hard on myself when I broke a resolution. That only adds more frustration and pressure that I don’t need in my life. Would it be better to not establish resolutions? I don’t think so. I believe the key is if I falter, I just need to try, try again. January 1 is my initial resolution date, but I’ve learned that I can fail and make the same resolution again a month later or two months later. It is far better than waiting until the following January to give it another go. Nobody’s perfect and putting in the effort is most important.
I’ve learned not to make resolutions that are almost impossible to keep. I resolve to lose 20 pounds. Why didn’t I resolve to lose 50? To be honest, it won’t happen. I’ll resolve to lose another 10 pounds when I reach the 20 that should be easily attainable.
I am going to offer up a list of resolutions that can and should be made by hunters, fishermen and all practitioners of the world of outdoors recreation. I’ll keep it short and painless and if we all stick to these resolutions our world, our sports and ourselves as outdoorsmen will all see improvement. Hold up your hands and repeat after me.
• We resolve to apply for permits and buy our licenses in a timely manner. No one should ever miss a season because they forgot to apply for a license before they were sold out. No one should ever receive a citation because their old license lapsed and they forgot to get a new one.
• We resolve to be exemplary citizens of the outdoors. Wherever you hunt, fish or camp should look as good as or better than it looked like when you arrived. I get tired of hearing people use stereotypes about outdoorsmen drinking and leaving beer cans all over. Pick up your garbage before you leave a spot. It wouldn’t kill any of us to pick up a few pieces of somebody else’s garbage either.
• We resolve to report lawbreakers in the outdoors. If we see any of these violators this year, we won’t hesitate to dial up 1-877-2DNRLAW (1-877-236-7529) to report them. Remember to get as much info about the poachers as you can, like license plate numbers and good physical descriptions of the violators.
• We resolve to learn all of the rules that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources sets forth. We are going to read those pamphlets that they give us for free when we buy our licenses. Don’t forget that the rules vary from state-to-state, so read the book when you travel. I once found out, after the fact that, at the time, dropshotting was illegal in Michigan. I figured because it was OK in Illinois and Wisconsin, it would be legal everywhere. I could have gotten a ticket if a Michigan DNR officer saw me.
• We resolve to support conservation groups in terms of air and water quality. Yes, outdoorsmen are the biggest backers of clean air and water in terms of a monetary basis. We should support the groups that don’t hunt or fish, but help take care of our skies, woods and waters, as long as they are not against our sports.
• We resolve to learn a few new skills. Take up fly fishing or take up muzzle loading or the crossbow. These new things will add to the amount of time you can spend outdoors and increase your pleasure on the whole. If you’re a shotgunner, get yourself a bow and learn how to use it. Watch more hunting and fishing shows on TV, there are tons of them. Read books and magazines and attend classes or seminars. Education breeds success.
• We resolve to share our love and passion for our outdoor sports with others. Talk about the sports you like, don’t keep it a secret. Talk about it around the proverbial water cooler. You may find someone who wants to learn about what you do or find somebody who wants to go on an outing with you. Take a child fishing. Take a senior fishing. You’d be surprised how many grandpas would love to fish, but don’t have the equipment any more or the opportunity. Drop off your old outdoors magazines at the local retirement center. The senior guys will be ecstatic. It seems like those places only have antique copies of “Woman’s Day” on the tables at their recreation centers.
• We resolve to give thanks. I personally believe in God and thank him every time I am out there using his great outdoors which he graciously allows me to use. You can thank whoever you think is responsible for the woods and waters, fish and birds, game and forests, it doesn’t matter. Also, please remember to thank whoever it was that introduced you to the world of outdoors recreation. Thank whoever it was that taught you to hunt, taught you to fish. Hopefully, you will be thanked by the people you have taught, as well.
Happy New Year to all! Let’s make 2013 our best year in the outdoors yet.
• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley ’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a Web site for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait & Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Reports of 1 to 2-inches of ice started coming in on Christmas Eve. Conditions are good for making ice, but be careful! Small ponds with no current in them and backwaters freeze first. Use a small tungsten jig with a wax worm or spike for early ice panfish. A large golden roach minnow on a tip up should catch pike and bass. The late winter antlerless deer seasons are today to Sunday and again on Jan. 18 through Jan. 20. Tags can still be bought over the counter.” Call 815-455-2040 for updated reports.
For up-to-the-minute water conditions on the Fox Chain and Fox River, go to www.foxwaterway.state.il.us/ or call 847-587-8540.
Wisconsin – Lake Michigan: You can call Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at 414-382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries.
“Duck Dynasty” is a reality TV series on A&E. It depicts the day-to-day lives of the Robertson family. The Robertson’s are simple country folk who have become insanely wealthy from the sales of their duck calls, including the Duck Commander.
They started their TV careers on the Outdoor channel with the series “Duck Commander” and its spin-off, “Buck Commander.” To call the show a hunting or outdoors show would be a total stretch of the imagination. This year’s season finale was an hour-long Christmas edition that scored a best-in-TV rating.
In its second season, viewership of the show increased by 139 percent, pushing it into the top spot for Wednesday night cable shows. Go figure! At least it’s better than Honey Boo Boo!
Since most people are irate over the unregulated spearing of fish by Native Americans in neighboring Wisconsin, they’ll be glad to hear this. A federal judge has denied an effort by Native American tribes to establish a spotlighting season for deer hunting in the ceded territories. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in late November to authorize night hunting for deer by tribal members. To participate, tribal members had to pass a marksmanship test and apply for a night hunting permit. While 74 had passed the test, none had applied for a permit for a hunt scheduled to begin after Thanksgiving.
Judge Barbara Crabb said the GLIFWC overstepped its authority when it quietly authorized Chippewa tribal night hunting in the northern third of the state.
The Wisconsin DNR filed suit seeking to stop the night hunt for fear of “the short amount of time to notify the public, the circumvention of court oversight and past rulings on night hunting for deer, and public safety,” according to Cathy Stepp, secretary of the DNR. The past ruling that Stepp cited was a ruling made more than 20 years ago that required the tribes and the state to negotiate changes to tribal hunting rules and to agree upon a rule before they are enacted. In court last week, the tribes argued that night hunting by spotlight was safe and that it was no different from spotlighting predators at night, such as wolves. Stepp said she and her department were pleased with the judge’s decision. “The DNR Secretary, the Department, and the State have maintained that the process established by the courts and the parties must be followed. The State will continue to work in good faith toward resolving the numerous issues surrounding the State’s management of natural resources within the ceded territory and their potential overlapping impacts with the Chippewa’s treaty established rights to self-regulate their own harvest.”
Head to Wisconsin club
Walleyes Unlimited, with around 450 members, is one of the Midwest’s most popular fishing clubs. They run two meetings a month. In Wisconsin, they meet on the second Wednesday of each month at the Root River Lanes at 7220 W. Rawson in Franklin, three miles west of I-94 on County BB. On Jan. 9, the speaker will be Joel Ballweg and his topic will be “Pre-Spawn Walleyes on Lake Wisconsin.” In Illinois, they meet on the last Wednesday of the month at the Gurnee American Legion Hall at 749 Milwaukee Ave. in Gurnee, two miles east of I-94 off of Grand Ave. On Jan. 30, Captain Doug Kloet will talk about “The Art of Quick Strike Rigs.” Both meetings begin promptly at 7 p.m. Please check www.walleyesunlimitedusa.org for more information or send an email to club president Keith Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time to vote
I’d like to ask you all for a favor that will only take a minute of your time. Please go to www.outdoorchannel.com and cast your vote for Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo to win a “Golden Moose” award for their excellent TV programming work. The Cianciarulos, often called “North America’s Favorite Hunting Couple,” are Illinois residents, wonderful human beings and great ambassadors for our state’s fine hunting heritage. Their shows are “The Choice” and “Archer’s Choice.” I voted for “Archers Choice” as favorite hunting show and favorite overall show. I also voted for Ralph and Vicki as favorite hosts for “Archer’s Choice.”