By Alex Comstock
As a hardcore deer hunter, I'm always looking for an edge or a way to get better as a hunter. There's usually a list of things I could be doing to get better as a mature buck hunter, but inevitably, not all of them are going to get done. As I was thinking of things to accomplish this summer, two have rose to the top of the list, and by accomplishing both of these, they'll hopefully lead me to a better chance of a big payoff come fall.
Work on Self-Improvement
Among the many things you can do to improve as a deer hunter, one that gets talked about seemingly less than others is self-improvement. Usually, what's getting talked about is how mature bucks move, what weather conditions elicit daylight movement, trail cameras, and other things that you can understand or interpret to become a better deer hunter. All that is great, and I write a lot about all those other things here on WhitetailDNA as well. But, this summer take some time to focus on what type of self-improvements you can make that will in turn make you a better deer hunter. Where are your biggest deficiencies? Is it your lack of confidence with your bow? Maybe it's something simple such as discipline. Knowing you shouldn't hunt a stand because of given conditions, but doing it anyway. Have you been lazy and waited until two weeks before season to start getting all of your prep work done such as hanging stands and clearing lanes? All of these things are 100% controlled by only one thing, and that's you. There's nothing outside of your control when talking about these factors that could ultimately decide how your deer season goes. This summer, I challenge you to identify you biggest downfalls that are completely in your control, and aim to make those self-improvements. It will only lead to good things.
Don't Worry About Others Expectations
In this day and age of hunting media being distributed in a so many different ways, it can be very easy to take what someone else expects and translate that to yourself. This can be a tricky line to hover over, as there are a lot of good lessons out there to learn from others, but at the same time, that doesn't mean you have to shoot or hold out for something that another person would shoot or hold out for. For as great as hunting media is, be your own hunter when it comes to expectations on what you want to harvest.
Now you may be wondering right now what this particularly has to do with a big payoff in the fall. My logic is this. If you can this summer come to the realization of what your realistic expectations should be for harvesting a buck this fall, everything else will fall into place much more naturally. For instance, with me living in Minnesota now, my expectations will be dramatically changing from years past while living in North Dakota. I won't be holding out for a buck like I was chasing last year in Kobe. For some, it may not be easy to "back track" and set what some might consider lower expectations. Yet, in my case, if I can accomplish the realization that where I'm at in Minnesota, the quality of hunting is lower and the number of hunters are higher, having "lower" expectations aren't really lower at all. I'm just presented a different situation, and thus my expectations will be changing. By not worrying about anyone else's goals but my own, and accomplishing that BEFORE deer season, I will be in a much better position come fall, and if you do the same, so will you.
The goal of this short blog post is for you to take a look at two things that don't get talked about as much as other tactical things in the deer hunting world. The above isn't groundbreaking material, but my hope is for it to resonate with you, and hopefully have a positive effect on your hunting success a few months from now.