By Alex Comstock
What was the last goal you set when it comes to hunting? Did you achieve that goal? If not, why didn't you? If you did achieve it, how were you able to? I asked myself these same questions, and it led to me to examine a few things in particular that revolve around goal setting.
People love to set goals every season. I'd venture to guess that most hunters have some type of goal going into a given deer season. Some goals may be lofty, some may be small. Either way, I'm going to make another assumption, and guess that a lot of goals are either forgotten about, not achieved, or not pursued to the fullest. Something that I want to start doing, and I think others should to, is to make goals be more important. If you set a goal, write it down, and work your tail off to make it happen. There are fundamental differences between setting goals and achieving them, and the people that are able to consistently accomplish those goals usually know how much harder they can be than people think.
How do I know what to set as a goal?
The beautiful thing about a goal, is that it can literally be anything when it comes to deer hunting. It doesn't necessarily just have to be an end goal either, such as shooting said buck. I like to set what I think of as incremental goals, or goals that will help me reach my end target. Setting goals is the easy part. But, once you set something as a goal, don't forget about it. Make it happen.
How are you going to achieve your goal?
If you look back on your deer hunting "career", when have you achieved goals, and when have you failed? When I do this, I feel as though there are a few commonalities that surface among my achievements.
Attention To Detail: Paying attention to the small details can often make or break whether or not you succeed. Whether your goal is to shoot a pope and young buck, or even to have more encounters, paying attention to the small details can help make that happen. One of my goals for 2017 will be to harvest a buck that I've been hunting for a couple years now. I know that there is a zero chance of that happening if I don't pay attention to every little detail.
A Desire To Succeed: This may be the most important ingredient to achieving your goals. In my mind, it's simple. Don't set a goal if you only kind of want something to happen. Just like anything else in life, you set a goal because it's something you desire. If you truly desire something to happen, you'll be much more driven along the way.
An Ability To Adapt: There is going to undoubtedly be things that happen that are out of your control throughout a year. This is where being able to adapt comes in to play a huge role. For example, last season I set a goal of harvesting a buck I called "Shaq." He was the most mature buck I knew of, and presented a great challenge. Opening day of rifle season, he was shot. I adapted by transitioning my goal to harvesting a mature buck that I thought was 4 years old or older. Ultimately, I succeeded, and I credit that to adapting to what I was presented.
Grinding: The term grinding seems to have become quite prevalent and popular these days. I hear of a lot of people that are "grinding" year round. Doing some whitetail work every few weeks for an hour and taking a snapchat video claiming your out grinding in the off-season isn't going to get you very far. When I think of grinding, it's putting your head down, and working until you succeed. One thing I've learned in the few short years of being a hardcore deer hunter is that nothing replaces the work you put in. After all, what you put in should be what you get out of it.
Final Thoughts: These were only a few of the ways to help you achieve a goal, but my objective with this blog post was to get you to reflect on past goals, and how you can achieve future goals. I think setting goals is a great way to keep you motivated, and striving towards something throughout the year. I highly encourage setting them, and don't let anything stop you from accomplishing them!
What are your goals for this year? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or on the Facebook post for this blog post!