Every fall is welcomed with growing anticipation as I dream of what hunting experiences are in store for me. I obsess all year about the bucks that I passed the prior season and make a pre-season hitlist in hopes of crossing their paths. I watch videos and listen to hunting podcasts about hunting strategies all year, racking my brain to develop my personal strategy and become a more effective hunter.
However, with all this mental investment and obsession over the new deer season at hand I find myself every year being discontent with my season while it is happening. Almost as soon as deer season starts I begin thinking about the next season and hoping that it will be even better than the season I am living. These daydreams of the “perfect season” of the future plagues me every year and causes me to be less focused on my current hunting opportunity. This is an unfortunate truth on my hunting mentality that I wish to change. So, following are my thoughts on the subject and a pep talk for myself and any others that have these conflicting thoughts.
My Trail Camera Card Pulls Are Lame
Last year was one of my worst yet for having mature bucks on trail camera even though it was my best yet for having opportunities at mature bucks. Regardless, I found myself being discouraged all fall because of the lack of mature bucks on my cameras.
This year I want to focus on hunting less based on camera data and more on the pre-season scouting I have done. Also, when I am sitting in my more traditional stands that may or may not have a trail camera posted nearby I must focus on the reality that trail cameras miss deer all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen bucks while hunting that I had no trail camera pictures of, or watched deer walk past my camera only to find later that the camera missed it completely or only photographed its butt. With this in mind we must focus our hunting energy less on what has walked past our trail cameras in the past and more on what we believe will walk past our treestand in the future.
The Bucks Aren’t Old or Big Enough This Year
We all dream of having large antlered mature bucks using our properties during the fall during daylight. However, this is often not the case and this causes me to always look toward the following season, as all the young bucks I’m currently seeing will be a year older and hopefully just as visible. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, as some of these bucks are killed because of their ignorance to hunting pressure and the ones that do live another season are a year smarter and usually less likely to be visible for harvest by me.
To fight these thoughts this fall I am trying to focus on the bucks I can hunt NOW, not those that I dream of hunting in the future. I plan to focus more on aggressive hunting tactics that can make the current mature bucks on my cameras more killable and less on the pipe dream of a mature buck sauntering down the food plot I usually hunt. And instead of focusing on the frustration of having few bucks frequenting my trail cameras, I plan to jump between public hunting lands to increase my number of fresh treestand sits and chances of finding a shooter buck.
The Rut = A Time of Disappointment
It never fails that every rut I hunt is not nearly as action packed or successful as I have fantasized all season about. I believe this is due to all the hype from social media that portrays the rut as your only chance to tag a mature deer. It simply is not so, and by nature the rut is very hit or miss. You can be sitting in one spot and have the hunt of your life with dozens of deer running past you, including mature bucks! On the other hand, a ridge a few hundred yards away may have no deer because they are all running around your stand. Simply put, the rut is a time of feast or famine that can be incredibly fast paced or slow as molasses.
This year I will mentally prepare myself for the disappointing long sits that are characteristic of hunting the rut. I will try to enjoy every phase of the hunting season without wishing the rut were already here. When it is rut time I plan to hunt hard, stay focused, and continue to hunt aggressively to keep myself in new areas with new deer.
Deer Season Is Here
Deer seasons are open or about to open across the country and anticipation for this season is at an all-time high. The early season is probably one of the most exciting times for me as I have the rest of the hunting season still in front of me. After reading about my internal struggles I hope that you, like me, can apply these thoughts and relish every second of this hunting season by living in the moment and making the most of every sit!