Every Hunt Is A Lesson: Expectations vs. Reality
Welcome back everyone. Its been awhile since I've posted a blog and apologize. Between work and reduction bow season, I have not had a whole lot of other free time. During my last few sits in the stand I have been thinking about how every hunt is a lesson, which has inspired me to write this post.
More times than not I think people give up on hunting because of the ruthlessness that is often thrown at them. Hunting is hard and being successful in terms of “bringing home the bacon” is not always possible. It’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and imagine harvesting animals every time you go out, but the harsh reality is more times than not, you will come home empty handed. To keep your morale lifted, it’s important to set boundaries between your personal expectations and the reality of meeting those. Soak in all the knowledge the woods has to offer and remember just because you aren’t harvesting game on every outing doesn’t mean the hunt was unsuccessful.
The Trophy Image
I know I know it’s true… Everyone wants their name in the record books but for many the opportunity will never come. Not harvesting trophy animals doesn’t make you a bad hunter as there are many reasons why a person might never mark this off their bucket list. Maybe you only get to hunt a few days a year or you don’t have the access that many other hunters have. Whatever the reason, don’t let scores, weights and numbers get you down. Set real life expectations for your hunt and work towards goals that are actually achievable. Doing so will boost your confidence and in the end make you a better hunter.
You Will Fail
Any hunter that tells you that he or she has never failed at a hunt is surely lying. During your time in the woods it is certain that you will miss shots, spook game and wait hours, sometimes days without seeing a single animal. There will be times that you will solely debate selling off all your expensive gear, guns, bows and taking up golf as an alternative. At times you’ll be frustrated, you will lose sleep and you will be angry with yourself when you miss the shot due to bad judgement. Every failure is a lesson to be learned. If you miss a shot, you’ll be so torn up about it, that you will do whatever it takes to figure out what went wrong. If you spook game, you’ll teach yourself how to better play wind and strategize your approach. In order to be a successful hunter, you have to first be a failing one.
I honestly can’t count the number of people who blame being unsuccessful hunters because of their lack of expensive gear and the latest technology. Seldomly do I buy into the gimmicks, but I know a lot of hunters who feel like if they aren’t geared up as well as the Russian Army then their season is already over. The truth is you don’t have to have the newest and most fancy camo pattern, the year’s newest bow model, or a set off 2000 dollar decoys to be successful. Buy what you can afford, spend the most you can on comfortable clothing (comfort ruins a hunt faster than anything) and get out there and hunt. Being in the woods and observing what is going on around you will bring you higher euphoria and more success than any materialistic item will. Work towards your goals of purchasing more expensive gear every season if that’s what you want to do, but don’t let the absence of those items keep you from what you enjoy. Be realistic with yourself on what you can afford to spend on gear for the season.
At the end of the day, remember to have fun during your quest of hunting. Do your best to be successful, but don’t be too hard on yourself when you are not. Learn from your mistakes and teach others so they can carry on the tradition. Keep expectations low and stick with a plan and in return you will be a happier and more successful hunter. Stay safe!