March 20, 2018
By Curt Wells
Bowhunting is a gear-intensive pursuit. We need lots of stuff to be properly equipped to pursue big game with a bow and arrow. That gear, as it is with any hobby or sport, can be expensive. And it takes years to accumulate all the things we think we need. For some, collecting and putting to use all that gear is part of the fun, and it all adds up to a significant investment in your passion for bowhunting. So, why would you confine the use of all the gear and effort to only the fall months of the year?
We all have busy lives, and finding time to bowhunt is hard enough in the fall. But there are ways to spread your bowhunting adventures across the calendar, if you're committed. Here are a few options that you can research with the same thoroughness as you do for fall hunts.
Hog hunts are about as much fun as you can have with a bow in your hand, and you can book a hog hunt in the South, giving you a break from winter, without abusing your wallet. Hogs are just challenging enough to make for some exciting bowhunting action, especially if you choose to stalk them. Recruit three buddies, jump in the truck, and go. You'll save a lot of money, and you'll have a great time.
Of course, spring turkey hunts can break up your long off-season, and chasing gobblers can be very addictive. You and your three buddies can drive to states like Nebraska, where there are lots of turkeys and you can take three toms. Or Kansas, where you can arrow two birds.
Spring black bear hunts in Canada require a bit more commitment, but they can be a blast. I especially like lake-based bear hunts because I love to fish, and I can spend the days fishing and the evenings bear hunting. What could be more fun than that? And success rates on black bear hunts are very high.
If you have the resources (read money), you can get more exotic. A red stag hunt in New Zealand is an outstanding adventure, especially if you go sometime in early April when the roar is on. You can plan a trip to Hawaii and hunt various exotic animals in the mountains. And if you've never hunted in Africa, it's an option every bowhunter should consider. Or maybe an ibex hunt in Spain. One trick to possibly getting these so-called once-in-a-lifetime hunts on your schedule is to take your spouse along, or even the whole family, and create a vacation trip.
If you'd like to experience exotic species like axis deer or blackbuck without leaving the country, you can always go to Texas, where there are plenty of low-fence, off-season options.
You have a lot invested in your bows, arrows, accessories, clothing and other gear, but you've also invested in your skills and experience as a bowhunter. And while we're always amassing more gear, the end game is to accumulate better bowhunting skills and more experience. The best way to do that is to not hang up your bow when fall ends. Look at the horizon. Plan for a future that may seem to be far, far away but is not as far away as you think. And remember — it isn't guaranteed to any of us.
Dream it. Plan it. Get it done.