We all probably have a bucket list, in some form or another. As the name implies, it’s made up of all the things we hope to do before we kick the bucket. For hunters it usually includes one or more hunting trips that, for the time being, we can only dream about. I have plenty of bucket list hunts of my own, so I guess I’m reassuring myself as much as anyone else when I tell you that these dream hunts can be fulfilled.
As a resident of Alaska, I am afforded with a lot of opportunities. I don’t take them for granted, but many of those hunts take deliberate initiative and planning to make them happen. You’ll hear any number of motivational speakers tell you the first step to realizing your goals is to make them. We all know how easy it is to put things off, so writing down a goal and formulating a specific plan is a much better way to accomplish them than to spend years never moving beyond the daydream stage. Even if you’re an average income guy (like me), intentional planning can bring the hunt of your dreams within your reach.
Step 1: Make the Goal
Before any bucket list hunt can begin, you have to decide you are going to do it. This is the hurdle that 90 percent of people never clear. Obviously, there is the time, the expense, and so on, but this is your bucket list we’re talking about. If you never decide you’re going to do it, no matter what you have to do, you most assuredly won’t.
Step 2: Pick a Specific Hunt
Sure, we all have a lot of hunts we would like to go on before we’re pushing daisies, but I think everyone could narrow it down to one species and/or place if forced to choose just one. The majority of us will likely never be able to afford to go on all the hunts we would like to, but picking one suddenly makes it more attainable. Write it down, tell your buddies, start researching—do whatever you have to do to commit to this goal.
Step 3: Make a Savings Plan
It’s easy for people to say that they could never afford this hunt or that hunt. This translates to, “I don’t have that kind of disposable cash lying around.” That may be the case, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save up. If we look at how we spend our money, I’d be willing to bet that many of us could find regular expenses that we could easily do without. Even if you can consistently put away just $25 or $50 bucks a week, that’s still something. It may take 5 or 10 years to come up with all the money you need, but, hey—that’s better than never doing it, right? Maybe buy a nice used truck for half of the price of a new one, and so on. It will add up quick. Figure out a ballpark number of your total hunt expenses and keep track of your saving progress so that your goal is always in mind.
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Step 4: Plan Your Hunt
As you get closer and closer to saving up to your goal, you need to begin actually planning the hunt. If you are hiring an outfitter, many of them are booked out more than a year in advance. Begin researching areas and outfitters to find out what will work best for you, and what else you need to do to prepare for your hunt. If you’re trying a DIY hunt, keep in mind that you can typically make some arrangements much closer to the trip than you might expect. On trips I take within Alaska, I often have to book charters almost a year in advance because they fill up quickly, but I can usually book commercial flights less than a month ahead of time. Now is the time to figure out what gear you may need, what will be involved in traveling to your destination, and so forth.
Step 5: Enjoy Yourself
Now, when you finally go on your hunt, don’t let anything keep you from enjoying and savoring it! You will have worked hard and spent a lot of time looking forward to that experience, so make the most of it. Try not to get bogged down or stressed out with weather delays, the rigors of traveling, or adversity during a hunt. Make sure you take the time to soak up this goal of yours that you will be experiencing.
I firmly believe that we can accomplish just about anything if we put our minds to it. Even for myself, I wonder what more I could experience if I only made up my mind to make it a reality. If there’s a hunt that you want to do, you can do it if you’re willing to work and wait for it. And I think that, in the end, it will be worth it.