The bass are starting to spawn, elk and deer have dropped their antlers, the rainbows are spawning, turkey season is in full swing, and bear season is just around the corner. It’s time to shed that case of cabin fever and hit the outdoors. Regardless of your passion, there is something going on right now and getting off the couch will extend your life. Staying in shape and enjoying the outdoors is the key to a long and happy life. Longtime Sportsman’s News fitness writer, Dan Staton, delivers some insight in this issue about fitness for life and making sure you stay in shape. It is all about a way of life and what it takes to make sure you can give your all, each and every day, during the hunting season. Make sure you read this article. It is written by someone who practices what he preaches.

This time of year, I field several phone calls a day from people asking about where to apply for a hunt. Some people spend a half a lifetime building bonus points in all the western states in hopes of having an easy hunt and killing a trophy of a lifetime. I tell each and every person the same thing. You are better off to find a unit that you can hunt each and every year or possibly every other year so that you can learn the traits of the animals. If you build points for twenty plus years and the year you draw a tag is the very first year you will spend in the unit, you are severely handicapped. Having the knowledge of water sources, roads, feed sources, migration patterns, other season openings causing excessive pressure, and a vast list of other things are only acquired by spending time in the unit. It isn’t like these units don’t get hunted each and every year either. Other hunters have had this tag every year since you started applying. So, if you are set on doing one of these types of hunts in the future, I highly recommend you visiting the unit during the hunting season as many years as possible. It is amazing how much information other hunters will share with you when they know you don’t have a tag. I make it a point to visit with as many people as possible when I make these unit visits each and every year during the seasons. You might find out that the unit you have been building points for isn’t worth a fraction of the points required to draw them. It usually has more to do with the amount of public property available to hunt than being managed for trophy quality. Best of luck to all who apply for those coveted points and tags each and every year.

Draw odds for most of these coveted tags aren’t anywhere near as good as the odds of winning a trip with the Sportsman’s News Pro Membership Sweepstakes. The last drawing we held had just over 700 members and we give five tickets to each and every member with their membership. A quick glance at the center page spread of this issue will show you all the great grand prizes we will be giving away over the next twelve months. When you sign up, you are a member for a full year which means 36 grand prize drawings. We give something away every 10 days and if you aren’t lucky enough in the state draw systems, it gives you something to look forward to each and every week. In addition to these grand prizes, we always give away four or five bonus prizes which consist of binoculars, rangefinders, knife sets, range bags, packs, and even a bunch of guns throughout the year. The majority of the winners of these great trips get the opportunity to be on an episode of SNTV. As I write this article, I’m in the warmth of Mexico with a bunch of Pro Members. We are enjoying the warm weather, camaraderie, and some world class sheep hunting. We are having great success and have more happy members. All members will get the privilege of seeing this great hunt on a future episode of SNTV which is mailed to your house as part of your membership. It will also be a future article in Sportsman’s News, which is also mailed to your house. A visit to the website will show you all the great benefit of being a member.