Between shopping, wrapping gifts and family dinners, it’s hard to balance your time and still get in some hunting during the holidays. Here’s how to make it work.
The four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the busiest of the year. There’s cookie making, gift buying, holiday decorating and family get-togethers. But it’s also prime hunting time, and you don’t want to miss out on the big buck you’ve been watching all fall.
Don’t worry. There are ways to do it all and keep everyone in the holiday spirit. With some planning and preparation, and a little compromising on your part, you can find a way to get everything done and still spend some quality time in the woods.
Here are seven ways to keep your life balanced so you can still go hunting during the holidays.
1. Get Your Chores Done
Before you even think about heading off to hunting camp, make sure your obligations at home are done. Have the house and yard winterized, the bills paid, and then tackle anything else that is typically your responsibility. If the weather looks bad, make sure the snow blower is in running condition and the generator has gas in it.
You don’t want everything to hit the fan while you’re gone because you’ll have to deal with the wrath of your wife when you get back.
2. Get Ahead at Work
If you can, get as much work done before you leave to go hunting. Clear off your desk, return calls and respond to any emails that are lingering in your inbox. That way, when you get home from the woods, you aren’t tied down to getting caught up at your job.
Nothing will make your girlfriend angrier than you hunting for 10 hours just to come home and be on the phone and computer for the next four hours. Get done what you can, and then leave the rest for another day.
3. Set a Schedule
Hunting really isn’t a spontaneous sport. You know when the seasons are and when you typically hunt. At least a few months before the season starts, mark your calender for when you are planning to hunt. This way, the people in your life know too, and it won’t be a surprise when the time comes.
Setting a schedule also helps you plan out your holiday season better. If you’ve got friends coming to town or dinner at Aunt Trudy’s, you’ll already know the days that are free and those when you’ll be in the woods.
4. Be Honest
If you know you’re going to be in the woods until dark, don’t tell yourself or your partner that you’ll be home at noon. You’re setting yourself up for failure and just asking for a fight. Instead, be realistic and overestimate your time frame. If you plan on being out of the woods by noon, say you’ll be home at 2 p.m. That way, when you show up at 12:30 p.m., everyone’s happy to see you.
By being honest with yourself about how long you’ll be hunting, you can plan the rest of your time accordingly and won’t have others waiting around for you.
If you go to hunting camp during the holidays, or are planning a big hunting trip out west, keep in communication while you’re gone, especially if you aren’t going to be home during special holiday events. By calling your kids, your girlfriend, or your mother, you can show them they’re on your mind even though you’re hunting.
It keeps tension down and improves the mood of both the hunter and those at home.
As we grow up, things change. Sure, when you were in your 20s, you could take two weeks off work and spend them with your buddies at camp, hunting deer, drinking beer and cutting up. But now things are a little different, and that’s okay. You must learn to compromise with those in your life, especially during the holidays.
If that means you only get to hunt two saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s what it means. By compromising, you not only make those in your life grateful, you’ll also look forward to your days in the woods and appreciate the time you do have.
7. Straighten Out Your Priorities
If you don’t really care that your wife’s not talking to you, and your non-hunting father-in-law badmouths you in front of the kids because you’re hunting during the holidays, it’s time to change your priorities. Yes, hunting is important. Yes, there is nothing like a day in the woods. But it’s not everything. Your family and friends need to hold priority in your life. And if that means you have to take a few days off of hunting, it will be okay.
By planning ahead, making a schedule and compromising with those in your life, you can find a way to balance your life, your loved ones and hunting during the holidays. Yes, you may have to make some changes to your priorities, but it’s well worth it in the end, especially when there are hugs and kisses Christmas morning instead of cold shoulders and headaches.