Through the years, I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a more than understanding wife when it comes to my hunting addiction. She’s always supported me and put up with my random spur of the moment trips and me being gone for extended periods of time. I’ve always had the luxury to spend my time however I deemed fit. Just this past June though, our lives changed for the better with a beautiful baby girl. Our first child, Juniper Rain Kirchner, stole a piece of our hearts that day and we can’t imagine life without her now. As all new parents know though, suddenly time means a lot more than what it once did. No longer can I just do whatever I want when I want. So, I’ve had to change things up and adapt. Being efficient with my time before season now is going to be hugely influential in success later on. Here are some things that I’ve found to be helpful so far.
Scheduling Really Does Work
In a time not so far off, scheduling things out ahead of time wasn’t nearly as important as it is now. That’s true on a few different levels. The first is communication. If I don’t jot down the things I’ve gotta do on our calendar, my wife has no idea about those things, and will assume I’m open for business with other odds and ends. So, remembering to put things down on the calendar has been huge for us. It keeps both of us on the same page and avoids frustration. Life isn’t all about you and what you need to do. In a relationship, it’s a two way street.
With a newborn in the house, much less sleep than we’re used to, as well as normal day to day tasks, it’s really easy to lose track of other things. Things like shooting my bow sometimes escape my mind, just because we’ve got so many other things to take care of now. For that reason, scheduling out some time to do things like shoot my bow helps me stay on track. The time is there, it just comes down to us seeing and taking advantage of it. I’ll use my google calendar to add in things like this, which I share with my wife. I just set it to notify me when it’s time to do something, and I’m off to the races.
Have a Plan
Once we get things scheduled out, it’s important that we have a plan in place for whatever we’re scheduling. Say I’ve got a workout for Tuesday morning. In the interest of maximizing my time, I’ll already have what I’m planning on doing in the gym figured out before I get there. This lets me show up, get it done, and get home. There’s been times in the past where I’ve burned 10-15 minutes trying to figure out what I want to do that day in the gym. That doesn’t work these days. Getting workouts done at home is even better, because there is no drive time involved.
And then we need to touch on actually getting into the field. In the past, I have admittedly been fairly lax. I was more of a wanderer and would often get sidetracked never getting to the things or places I wanted to check out. Well, now having a plan before I go is essential for making the most out of my scouting trips. I’ll mark several areas on the map that I want to get to, and that becomes my focus instead of going where the wind takes me. Before this, I’d just go scouting every other day and eventually get to predetermined spots. Scouting every other day just isn’t in the cards right now. I’ll also take that same mindset right into my archery practice and work on things that I need to work on. Mindlessly shooting your bow isn’t going to fix something like target panic. Working on fixing target panic fixes target panic. Stay focused.
Something else that has been really helpful is prepping things like gear beforehand. Having everything I need for a trip already loaded up and waiting to be put in the truck saves time come the morning. I’ve also started gassing my truck up the night before and loading up the cooler with ice for the hopeful harvest the next day. Preparing some type of easy breakfast and setting the timer on the coffee maker has also become a regular occurrence. Overnight oatmeal is a fantastic breakfast that takes no effort in the morning. I just grab it out the fridge and go. Now, I literally have to make no stops on my way and can head straight for the mountains. Before doing this I’d probably waist 30-45 minutes and was often late to my hunting areas.
A common phrase that I hear more and more these days is “I don’t have the time for that.” We’ve all been there and I’m no exception to it. These modern lives we live are fast paced and jam packed. The fact of the matter though is, we usually have more time than we think. It just comes down to prioritizing that time. If you really want to do something, you’ll make it happen. For instance, I know that between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. my wife and daughter are sleeping. So, now I get up at 3 a.m. in order to get my workout in, as well as smash the keyboard to get some work done. By doing this, I’m ready to spend some time with them once they do wake up, as well as help my wife out with kiddo.
Along with prioritizing our time, what we do with that time is also a factor. Having a few different hobbies tends to spread said time pretty thin. I used to be like that and realized that I needed to focus on something. For me, that something was hunting. And while I’d love to go on some more fishing trips throughout the year, hunting is just more important in my eyes. It’s what makes me tick. Trying to include family in my “hunting chores” is also really important to me. Bringing my wife and daughter on future scouting trips is definitely something that I plan on doing. It’s a great way to spend quality time with them, as well as be out in the field. Not to mention showing my little girl what Daddy is passionate about outside of his family is pretty cool too.
Being someone that spends, what I’d call, a more than average amount of time in the field, it’s made me have to reevaluate my time. Scouting, physical prep, gear prep, and shooting all still need to happen before hunts. I also need to be a Husband and Father though. It’s been interesting negotiating through that, but enlightening as well. It’s shined light down on some flaws that exist on my part. Turns out, I wasn’t as efficient with my time as I thought. But, we live and learn right? And from our flaws we can learn and grow into even better people. Life may look a little bit different now and again, but Father Time is always up for a chat. Where that conversation goes is up to you. Make it happen.