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  Comments (0) Total Monday Apr. 21, 2014
New Year’s Resolutions
Out Of Bounds
Last week I offered up what should be our collective resolution for the new year: continue the fight for access to public land and public wildlife. I’ve got a few more things I intend to work on in 2014. Here’s the short list:

Learn how to properly shoot a shotgun
This may seem silly considering that as I write this I’m sitting in an In-N-Out Burger in Arizona, having driven more than a thousand miles so I can walk around in the desert with my shotgun trying to shoot quail. The truth is I’ve never received even a hint of coaching on wing shooting. I’ve got a general idea of how the whole thing works of course, as I’ve killed my fair share of birds. But even when birds are plentiful you only get so many opportunities. The sad fact is that I’ve certainly wasted more than 50 percent of those opportunities. Today, many birds fly free due to flaws in my aim. It’s time for professional help.

Get back in the big-game game
It’s been more than a decade since I hunted big game. That last hunt was a successful one, so it’s not as though I gave up out of frustration. But success on that hunt came in the form of killing a bull elk well inside the boundary of a roadless area. Three friends helped me pack it out, but it still took the better part of two days. It kicked my butt. That ordeal isn’t the sole reason I hung up the rifle though, as there was plenty going on in my life.

For starters, that last elk kill came when my kids were still young. Soon after they entered junior high and life escalated from hectic to frantic. The other distraction was that shortly after I brought home my first bird dog pup. From then on, what little time I could free up for hunting inevitably went to chasing birds with my dogs. But the kids are off in college now and I’ve got a little more control over how my weekends are spent. My two immediate goals for the fall are to: kill either a cow (if I can draw a tag) or a young bull to put some meat in the freezer as I’m done chasing antlers, and finally kill an antelope, the big game animal that has eluded all my previous efforts.

Learn how to handle a bait casting rod and reel
I can fake it well enough to have caught a handful of bass over the years. But when you look up incompetent in Wikipedia, right at the top of the page there’s a gif of me trying to cast a spinnerbait with a bait casting rig. It ain’t pretty. I don’t get much of an opportunity to use a bait caster, but there are some things you just need to learn how to do in life. It’s on my short list.

Shoot a bow with skill
When I was young a friend loaned me his recurve so I could practice. I had designs on learning so I could get in on some of the early hunts available only to bow hunters. I practiced a bit and was OK.
I’m not sure I want to try actual hunting with a bow as rifle hunting is hard enough (though of course the hard work really begins after you kill something) but I would like to learn.

And then there are these eternal resolutions that deserve permanent spots on my list: fish or hunt every chance I get, find some way to contribute to habitat and access issues and be in the presence of my daughters whenever possible. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. Being together is enough.
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Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown9h
Landslide slowly destroying part of Wyoming resort town http://t.co/ggvVuuJKTG
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish4h
Good night from Flathead Lake. #montanamoment http://t.co/9mJAN46Ovb
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy18 Apr
@natashavc @TaraAriano @allyzay Oh no, I've been thinking it's a room for all your types of mustards. Recalibrating my ideas now.
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott19 Apr
@tristanscott *Billie Joe
Flathead Beacon
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Kalispell’s Core Area Redevelopment Plan Inches Forward http://t.co/EO2le2frPY