The checklist is surprisingly short:
1) Build a tower blind to replace the open buddy stand we erected this year. Angus is going to be growing bigger, and between his weight and mine, we will outstrip the buddy stands in another couple of years. We need something he and I can share. Moose and I staid in the buddy stands together to the bitter end when he turned 16, but Angus is bigger. I've got lots of scrap wood and a 4 -pack of these: Steel Elevators
2) Either relegate the Remington 7600 to shorter range or put a new 3-9X scope on it. There just was not enough magnification with the 1.5-4.5X for me to pick up that it was a button buck and not a doe. Normal people don't have this problem, but my eye glass correction is horrendous. Middle Age sucks.
3) Two more sets of Guide Gear Poly-Pro underwear
in 2X to share between Moose and myself. One more set of farmer-johns for Angus. Good, cheap, warm, cheap.
4) Order up a few more nylon duffles with backpack straps
so all of us have one. You stuff your outermost layer into this and carry it on your back. No sweat. No overheating. Once you're up in the air, the duffle clips to the shooting rail and becomes a waterproof gear holder.
5) I am done buying snacks at convenient stores. Starting this year, I now buy snacks at the grocery and divvy them up into sandwich bags. This year, I had 10 bags made up with pepperoni slices, individual snack cheese, and pretzel sticks-- cost 1/3 of what it would have at Gas-n-Gag.
Was I up to it? For a 50+ old fart, yes. I can still drag a buck out of the ravine by myself, and still lift it into the back of the pickup solo. I hunted in a little snow and a little rain and sat for 5 hours at a time in the stand-- no problem. I feel better than I did at 30.
However. . . I am on a new regimen. I will no longer ride the 90 minutes back from the farm without stopping for at least a 5 minute break. I finally figured out why I was coming home so crippled I couldn't get out of the truck. Duh!!! All these years, I've been getting up every half hour on the tree stand and stretching-- never dawned on me that I needed to do the same thing in the truck. Middle age sucks.