Here's the go-to list for how to use your tax return for your hunting benefit.
Different people have different views: some will include it in their ongoing budget; others will save it for a rainy day. Still others will splurge every penny like it's an unexpected bonus. So, what's the best choice?
For hunters, we've got a few good ideas for the hard-earned cash you just got back from Uncle Sam.
Upgrade One Piece of Gear
Or more. That's fine, too. Shoot, blow the whole thing on gear and equipment upgrades. Just make sure to rule out the rest of the list first.
Arguments can be made against this, but a good rule of thumb in regard to hunting equipment, gear, and clothing is that you get what you pay for.
Now, hear me out. I'm not saying everyone should own a $600 jacket. But putting small amounts of extra cash to work by upping your gear game is a great way to keep your closet full of top performing equipment.
For example, consider where your current clothing falls short. Could you use something that's more lightweight? Maybe something that packs easier for those mountain hunts. Better yet, what about warmth or moisture concerns?
Find the piece of clothing you think could use an upgrade, sell it (or donate it to a new hunter), and get yourself a more capable replacement, like these pants.
Save for That Next Big Hunting Trip
There's nothing like getting out and hunting a new area or going after that first bull elk. If you're like most hunters and want some variety in the landscape and animal you're pursuing, but can't afford a big trip each year, your tax return could be the ticket.
Between out of state tags, fuel, food, and lodging, not to mention different equipment, distant hunting trips can be painful to the pocketbook.
How to do it: Set up an additional account at your bank and drop a few bucks in there from time to time. Don't ask for a debit card and ignore any statements on that account. Just let it sit there in its own little world out of sight and out of mind.
When your tax return comes, take a small portion of it (or a large one if your spouse agrees), and pad that account with some extra cash. Over time you'll be able to turn those hunting trips from once in a lifetime to once every few years.
Spoil Your Spouse
I've said it before and I'll say it again. As passionate hunters, our mind is often consumed with thinking about that next time out, the next trip to the tree stand, or how to prepare for the upcoming season. All too often, we forget how much of that nonsense our wives (and husbands) put up with. Between the amount of time you're gone hunting and the amount of money you have tied up in gear and equipment, you're probably overdue to thank your spouse for letting you celebrate your other devotion so much.
It doesn't matter whether its done as a thank-you for putting up with me last season or a way to store up some credit for the upcoming season. This tactic is almost always a win and has literally zero known side effects. At least, not until next tax season.