By Alex Comstock
A good attitude can go a long ways. It can even affect decisions you make, and ultimately the results that you have in a particular aspect of your life. No matter what it is, attitude can play a big role, and have a larger impact on things than you may think, and deer hunting is no different.
If you're anything like me, during the winter months I spend a lot of time reflecting on everything to do with deer hunting. How I hunt, how I scout, what my goals are, how I'm going to accomplish those goals, and the list could go on and on. Often times, I find that attitude and having a positive outlook can make a bigger difference that you ought to think when it comes to all of these things.
What I find so unique/fascinating is that for most hardcore deer hunters, we absolutely breath whitetails right? At some point during each and every day of my life, I do something related to whitetails. Whether I'm hunting during the fall, reading something, watching a video, you name it, I'm consumed by deer. And I'd venture to guess many of you reading this are as well. With this said, you might think it'd be natural to always have a good attitude when it comes to anything deer hunting related. But in all reality, sometimes even though we love what we're doing, there are certain aspects of deer hunting that can get to be a lot of work. There's also times when it's easy to get down on yourself after a mishap, or if something doesn't go your way.
So here's my challenge to you, and something I'm going to challenge myself to as well. No matter what test you may face, take it on with the best attitude possible. Below, I want to detail a couple examples that stick out to me as far as when a good attitude helped me succeed in a particular instance, and also a time when a negative attitude hurt me. I think this will help get my point across, and hopefully will stay in the back of your mind the next time you need to face a challenge head on.
Bad Attitude Example: A few years ago I sometimes struggled with my confidence shooting my bow. I would easily get down on myself and it clearly led to my continued struggles. I more or less suffered from target panic, and would always hit the target low. One day stands out to me though above others. It was late September, and I was getting ready to head out to the stand. I was hunting just a few minutes from my house so I went out to the yard to let a few arrows fly. All of my shots hit low, and instead of picking my head up, having a good attitude and shooting a second round before leaving, I pretty much said screw it, and headed out to hunt.
Now this may seem pretty cut and dry, but I think the issue went deeper than you might think. Because of my bad attitude towards my proficiency, I let that get to my head as I headed out to the stand. I was in no position to truly harvest a deer. Well that night, I was presented a shot at a doe, and that's what I was after. This doe got to 20 yards and was broadside, and I pulled back and let the arrow fly, and missed. The arrow sailed right under her stomach and she took off. It may not seem like a big deal, but I strongly believe that if I had a better attitude when it came to my shot, I would have worked harder to overcome the target panic, and ultimately I could have ended up with venison that September evening instead of letting a doe slip through my fingers.
Good Attitude Example: The best example I have when it comes to having a good attitude is definitely my 2016 season. Going into the year I still had not harvested my first North Dakota buck, and I was determined to do so. In November, I had a chance at a mature buck, and messed up the shot. I hit him in the shoulder, and it was a non lethal shot. It was still difficult though, as I didn't know at the time if he would die or not, and I searched for him for three full days. It would have been a very easy situation to let it get the best of me, and for me to foster a negative attitude towards it.
But rather than be a Debbie Downer, I picked my head back up, stayed positive, and had a good attitude. I kept at it, and knew if I kept that good attitude and stayed working hard, eventually I would get another chance. That year, I ended up harvesting a beautiful mature buck a few weeks later, and among other things, I attest it to keeping my good attitude and staying positive after such a negative occurrence happened.
Conclusion: By no means does having a good attitude all the time automatically mean you're going to harvest buck after buck just because of it. But you combine that good attitude with everything else, and I assure you it will make a difference. More so than you may ever think.