Today's blog post comes from my good friend and guest blogger Michael Kurtz. Michael introduced me to both waterfowl and crow hunting when we were 13 years old. Even though he currently resides in Indianapolis, we still make time to call each other every day to talk hunting. It's that time of year: the off-season. We spend these next six months or so looking through piles of photos of our harvested game from the previous season, telling stories of the hunts to friends, and making a mental list of all the new toys and gadgets we want to purchase for next season. But when you are making that list this year, think to yourself, “Do I really need this?”
I think the majority of us have fallen into the trap, at least one point in time. I'm talking about the trap of wanting to buy the “latest and greatest” products to make it to the market. Every year, big name manufacturers of products are coming after us outdoorsman and outdoorswomen with their product. The fastest trigger speed of any shotgun; the newest call with freeze-proof reeds; the most comfortable waders to ever hit the market; the most realistic decoys a sportsman will ever hunt over. The list goes on and on. Even if you are able to say no to buying the product after seeing the first commercial on television, you may begin to change your mind and become more tempted after seeing that same commercial a dozen or so times.
Falling into this trap is often very expensive. I can say first hand, because I fell into it! A couple years ago, I got into this mind-set that I needed to start converting my collection of shell goose decoys into full bodies. Every hunting show you watch and every picture you see in the magazines has a spread of fresh-off-the-press full body goose dekes. And all those decoys are hauled into the field in an enclosed trailer. Because I have been goose hunting for several years now, and like to consider myself as someone that knows what he is doing, I thought that I needed to catch up with modern times and go purchase the newer style of decoys. I didn't want to be left out!
But here I am, only a few years later, in the process of selling both my full body decoys and the trailer that I used to haul them around in. Why am I doing this you may ask? Well, there are a few reasons. Most importantly, I realized how purchasing full body decoys can have an impact on the billfold. Can I afford it? Yes. Do I want to though? No. When looking at my harvest numbers over the past few seasons, there has been little change. I haven't killed any more geese now that I am using full bodies versus a few seasons back when I was using shell decoys. So why spend the money on something I don't have to?
The point of this blog wasn't to talk you out of using full body decoys. All I am saying is decide what is right for you. Don't fall into the trap of spending loads of money on stuff just because “everyone else is doing it”. If you do not want to spend the money on full body goose decoys, don't! Spend your hard earned cash on the things YOU want.
For example; about half a dozen seasons back, I went to a banquet of some sort, and won myself a brand new Benelli Super Black Eagle. I don't remember exactly what those were selling for at the time, but if I recall correctly, it was somewhere in the ball park of $1400. I won the gun on a $10 raffle ticket. Otherwise, there was no way I would have ever owned that gun. At the time, I was a hard working high school student and simply did not have that kind of dough. Now though, I have a good job and can afford that shotgun. When the time comes for me to buy a new shotgun (currently I am still using that same Benelli I won a few years ago), you can bet I am going to buy another Benelli. Not because I want to be one of those guys that has the best of everything, but because I LOVE THAT SHOTGUN! But if I were to lose my job or decide to spend my money elsewhere, I would more than gladly pull out that trusty $150 Mossberg and keep shooting geese, just like I did in my high school days. Why wouldn't I give up until I could buy the new Benelli? Because I know that my Mossberg does the job just as well!
Just as I will, I know all of you reading this blog will be doing the same during this off-season; thinking to yourself, “What should I buy now?” There will be plenty of new items to hit the market in the upcoming months. You will watch plenty of commercials, television shows, and read articles by big-name companies telling you that you NEED to buy their product. But it is up to you to decide what is right for you and where you want to invest your money. So whether it is camouflage, decoys, guns, or calls, think to yourself, do I really need this?