By Alex Comstock
This year has been an absolute grind already for me. And we're not even into the month of November yet. I haven't had an encounter with a shooter buck since September 23rd. That's 16 sits in the stand without seeing a mature buck. You could say it's easy to be down right now. I have numerous shooters showing up regularly on most of my trail cameras, just nothing in daylight. It could be easy to not be mentally ready to see a shooter buck, but it is critical that you are, or you just might mess up your next opportunity.
Don't Be Surprised When It Happens: The biggest thing is to not be surprised when you have that next big buck encounter. It can get extremely difficult after hunting for a long duration of time without seeing a shooter. But every time you head out to hunt, if you are hunting for a mature buck, then you should expect to see one. Obviously every time we head out to hunt, that doesn't happen, but it's what you should be ready for. Your first thought when you do see a shooter buck should be, "Here we go", or "Time to make it happen". That first thought shouldn't be "Oh, s***".
Mentality Can Dictate Success: The major problem with not being ready for an encounter is that you are far and away more likely to screw that encounter up. Have you pre-ranged spots you think a buck could walk by? Have you envisioned a shooter stepping out from an area you would expect? Are you ready for it to happen at any moment? Have you practiced drawing your bow in the stand, knowing where and where you can't get a shot off realistically? These are all things you need to be doing, to be as prepared as possible when hunting mature bucks, no matter how long it's been since you've seen one.
Conclusion: A hunting season can change quicker than you think. A bad season can turn to a great one in seconds. That's all it takes. Think about that for a second. You can be having a really tough season, and literally in seconds, a mature buck encounter can change all of that. The question remains, will you be ready for it?