I wish I had more time to spend woods. I would go hunting, but I just do not have the time. I really like to go hunting, but the fall is such a busy time. My calendar is just too full. I would hunt, but I have to take care of my kids. I love to hunt, but my job and my boss, I just cant get away. Does any of this sound familiar? Do you make these excuses? Do you hear your friends talk like this? I do and it drives me crazy. If you want to spend more days in the woods this year then sit down and make a plan. Here are some ways to create more time to get yourself in the woods.
If you work a job that has flexible hours talk to your boss or supervisor about working four ten hour workdays, instead of the traditional eight, and taking one day a week off to spend in the woods. When I do this, I normally work Monday and Tuesday, hunt Wednesday, and then work Thursday and Friday. Why Wednesday? The woods are empty because everybody else is at work. I have also manipulated my schedule this way and taken Friday or Monday off, turning each week into a three day weekend. Your boss may not let you do this every week, but if you can work it out so that you can do it five times over the entire hunting season, you have now given yourself an extra week in the woods.
Most jobs come with paid vacation time. Again I say most, not all. When planning out how to use your vacation always try to use a few days, or more, during deer season. I get 15 paid days off per year to use. I always use ten of those days, vacationing and spending time with my family. However, I take five of those days for hunting during the exclusively during the rut.
Another thing that I have done in the past is to telecommute while the family was on vacation at the beach. You can do this anywhere, I just normally do it from the beach. This may not possible with your job, but it is an option for some, and it can help you save valuable vacation days to use during deer season. How does it work, while the family is out playing on the beach, or hanging out by the pool all day, I would sign into work from my laptop and work my normal eight hours, before joining them on the beach in the afternoon. I have even telecommuted from deer camp where I work from 6 am to 2 pm and then hunt in the evening. That normally puts me in my stand by three in the afternoon and it is a great way to unwind after a stressful day.
The last tip I have, is the most important, and that is to take your kids hunting with you. My daughters have been going bow hunting since they were three. They enjoy putting on camo and playing dress up with daddy. And no, they have not been shooting animals since they were three. It is very common for us to load up into the truck and hit woods with iPads in tow and go and sit in the blind for a couple hours together. Sometimes more, sometimes less it just depends on their mood that day. The girls generally take turns running the camera and filming the hunt, and playing games on the Ipad. Now that Campbell is seven, she gets to hunt turkeys and squirrels, which thrills her to death. The more time they spend in the woods, and the better they get at running the camera the less time they spend wanting to play games. They are beginning to learn about how things outside the blind work in nature and they are developing their own sense of place in this world. The camera work is comical at times, but is well worth the experience and the films provides memories that will last a lifetime. They often miss the important shots necessary for TV, but that does not matter. Sharing the hunt with them is truly all that matters. They have been the cause of numerous deer running away snorting, but each time it happens they are able to identify what caused it and they learn from the experience and become better hunters for it. The most important thing is that WE got to go hunting and share that time with my together which was way better than the three of us sitting at home arguing over what we should be watching on TV.
For me it is all about trying to figure creative ways to spend more time in the woods without neglecting my responsibilities as a dad, husband and employee. These solutions may work for and they may not. Do not ever be afraid to talk to your boss about a flexible work schedule, and it they seem a little hesitant to agree to the deal, you can always sweeten the pot a little bit by offering to share your harvest.