Another year has come and gone, leaving us to revel in our successes and shake our heads at failures.
Perhaps 2011 was kind to you and your taxidermist is a happy man. Or maybe you blew it on the buck of a lifetime.
Either way, it's time to wipe the year off the books and start with a clean slate. Here are a few recommendations for 2012 resolutions, most of which should also help to stomp out cabin fever.
1) Clean your guns.
When is the last time you really cleaned your guns? I don't mean just running a patch down the barrel. I mean took them apart and cleaned all the cracks and crevices, oiled the action and wiped down all the wood and metal.
2) Tune your bow.
Here's one I'm guilty of neglecting. Today's compound bows are engineered machines. Machines require maintenance. If you haven't had your bow in the hands of a trained professional for a tune-up, take the time to have it done this winter.
3) Touch up your decoys.
I hear a lot of people talking about replacing decoys every year or two. I wish I had that kind of money, but for my socio-economic situation, black, green and brown paint is the answer. Parting with a 10-dollar bill at an arts and craft store will get you all you need to rehab your duck decoys.
4) Put new line on your fishing reels.
Fishing line isn't expensive in the grand scheme of outdoor equipment. It is, however, one of the most important pieces of equipment you can own in pursuit of fish. Even if you didn't fish a reel much last year, I still recommend switching out your line. When dinner is on the line, you don't want to take any chances.
5) Cook more deer meat.
Dr. Horner, I heard you. This is it. This is the year I return to top physical health. Cholesterol is bad. Deer meat is good. It's a simple equation even I can follow. Deer meat is healthier than most red meat alternatives and you can impress the ladies by telling them it's organic. Plus, if you eat more deer, you have to hunt more deer. It's a win, win, win.
6) Plant a food plot.
Food plots are cool because you are giving back to the animals on your property. You aren't just feeding the couple of deer you'll put in the freezer next fall, your giving to all the wildlife on your land. Plus, it's just fun to be a farmer, even if you're just growing a half-acre of clover.
7) Organize your camping equipment.
I love camping. I hate headaches. Scrambling around, throwing all my camping gear together on a Friday afternoon is a headache. Having everything you need organized in containers and ready to go at a moment's notice eliminates the headache. Take the time to clean and organize your gear before camping season arrives, and the process of hitting the road for a weekend in the woods will be much more enjoyable.
8) Wash all your.hunting clothes.
Chances are you hung up your hunting clothes or stuffed them in a box after the time you hit the field for the year. Go ahead and wash and organize your gear now, so when the season comes around next fall, you'll be pleased to find your clothes in great shape.
9) Read a book.
Pick a topic you've been interested in for years, but have neglected pursing. Maybe for you it's knife making, or maybe it's Dutch oven cooking, but for me, it's arrow making. This is the year I finally start making my own wooden arrows. I have the jig and now I have the book. I'll follow it and eventually I'll have an arrow that flies straight ... I hope.
10) Kill coyotes.
Do the deer and ducks and turkeys a favor and blow some brass through your rifle at as many coyotes as you can. Don't get me wrong, coyotes are awesome animals. I have nothing against them. There are just too many. Plus, coyote hunting is a blast and it happens when not much else is going on.
Brandon Butler is an outdoors columnist for the News Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.