How do you measure success? Is it the physical award at the end or something more mental/emotional? With an outdoorsman it can be both. My second season of whitetail hunting on my little 27 acres saw a lot of off-season work, creating improvements. I have 2 old friends, closer than brothers to me, that were finally coming up from Florida to see the property and hunt it for the first time. We were going out opening days of archery season and neither of them had much experience with archery hunting. I worked extremely hard on food plots, stand placements, shooting lanes, walking paths and a plethora of other things to ensure as easy and successful a hunt as I could make it.
While anyone that hunts can tell you, there are no guarantees, there are things you can do to up your chances. They take planning and hard work. No matter what your passion or hobby is you want to see hard work rewarded. I got to see that.
Continue reading “Measure of Success”
I’ve been recently reading a book, written in the 70s, by a well know outdoor writer. It’s about the most popular North American game and tactics to hunt them. In this book the author writes a section on turkey hunting and starts that section off by saying that he has never turkey hunted in his life. As a reader I have to say, it does not inspire confidence when the author has never done what he or she is writing about. That being said, I’m writing about turkey hunting. In the spirit of transparency, I’ve only shot 1 bird in the 4 years I’ve hunted them. So, what makes me an expert? I’m not. I’ve done it for 4 years now and I’ve got 4 years of experience on how not to do it. I’ve got 4 years to become completely frustrated and enraged, all while still being driven to keep trying.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you how or when to call. Nor am I going to tell you when and where to look. If I knew that information I’d be writing a different story. Instead I’m going to tell you why I keep chasing these insane birds. Continue reading “Why I Hunt Turkeys”
They say “Patience is a virtue.” However, if you read the Bible you learn that it’s a virtue that’s hard earned. Deer hunters know this all too well. Wait for the bigger buck and eventually it will show up. It took me a long time to learn this lesson but I did and it did finally paid off with a great buck I was not expecting.
A little backstory is needed here. I’ve been hunting since I was 16 years old, but my lessons were not from a seasoned family member. They were learned the hard way, trial and error. My family didn’t hunt. We fished, a lot, but never hunted. I was interested and a friend in high school introduced me to squirrel hunting at 16. That was all it took. I lived in Florida for a total of 20 years and spent the first 10 years of whitetail hunting braving the public game lands in the sunshine state. On Florida public lands, the only legal game is a buck with over 6” of antlers on both sides. This means there are a ton of malnourished does run around these woods, with most spike bucks getting shot before they ever have a chance to grow. (Poor game management in my opinion, but not the point to this story.) What all this means is that I never had an opportunity to even shoot at a deer until I moved to North Carolina in 2012. At this stage I had been hunting for 16 years, in my early 30’s, without any success. I have paid my dues and to say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Finally, in 2014 I successfully connected with my first deer and harvested a spike buck. A trophy to me that will forever have a place on my trophy wall. Since that year I have shot at least 1 deer every season, progressively getting better bucks.
Opening day of 2016 set the tone for what would be a great season for me. I was able to shoot my first deer with a bow that first evening taking the normal pressure to get meat off my back and giving me confidence with my abilities. I saw deer over 50% of my sits and passed on several. Taking a meat deer first off meant my family eats and I could now focus on something more substantial. If you are as obsessed with deer hunting as I am, you watch the hunting channels rather religiously. I’ve drooled over these shows where they had so many deer coming in that they can sit, watch, count and make the call as to what is worth taking. I had never experienced this until the 2016 season. It was marvelous. By taking that pressure off myself I learned first hand what everyone had been telling me. “Be patient and wait. If you wait and let the little ones go, bigger and better will come along.” I learned a lot about deer behavior and patterns that year. I learned a lot about the hunt itself.
Continue reading “Patience is Key, but Hard to Learn”