Dang! I know what you’re thinking…here it is the beginning of hunting seasons for most of us and I’m already being negative and talking about failure. Truth is if we understand the reasons why we might fail it better enables us to achieve the success we ultimately all seek while hunting.
1. Lack commitment. There’s a big difference between acting committed and actually being committed. It’s not always enough to just go through the motions of being outdoors and carrying a firearm or a bow. The hunter needs to embrace an attitude which at times requires patience, perseverance and persistence. It’s never easy to rise at 4am on a day off and drive to the deer woods for the early morning hunt…but to consistently sleep in and only hunt the twilight hours shows a lack of commitment by the hunter.
2. Failure to prepare/plan. The hunting season might only last for two months…but what do you do for the other 10 months of the year? Quite honestly the effort you put into your hunt during the off-season might be nearly as important as what you do during your hunt. Everything from clearing shooting lanes, scouting out new hunting territory, even developing a specific game plan for achieving success. The level of effort you put into your hunt is often directly proportional to the success you will eventually derive from those preparatory activities.
3. Improper focus. Just like the quarterback heading into the big football game who needs the proper mind-set to perform, the hunter is really not much different. Certainly keeping focus is not always easy because life throws so many potential distractions at us, yet the hunters who can maintain their mental edge will likely see and hear more game in the field.
4. Expectations set too high. This has become a big gripe of mine. Back 35 years ago most hunters ventured outdoors more for the experience of–well, being outdoors. Today things are different. Society has developed a certain entitlement mentality whereby everyone has certain expectations that are sometimes difficult or even downright impossible to attain. Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with setting big goals and working hard to reach them. The problem is too many hunters feel they are owed a certain experience during their hunt. These hunters are often guilty of measuring their success afield to celebrity hunters on TV or even their hard-core hunting friends. The hunter who enters the season with realistic hopes is the hunter who ends the season content no matter what transpires during the hunting season.
5. Missed opportunities. The reasons are varied…but the results are always similar. Some hunters are lazy and fail to capitalize on their given situation. A good example is a deer hunter who knows they need to move their portable deer stand but chooses to leave it be. Another example is the pheasant hunter who gets tired and doesn’t push the entire length of the slough before heading back to the truck. In both of these cases the hunters knew what they should be doing, but chose to give up prematurely. On the other hand, opportunities can be missed for reasons unknown to the hunter and out of the hunter’s control. Bottom line is the successful hunter needs to seize the opportunities they are presented with and learn not to fret about the ones beyond their control.
I understand how being critical as to why we sometimes fail is not always a gratifying task. In fact, doing personal introspection like that is never easy or fun. Still, it’s important for every hunter to understand they must own their hunting experience…and they will only get out of it what level of effort they choose to invest into it. Make your hunting season a good one by avoiding these mistakes.
©2011 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.