Hooray, we lived to see another year! Anyone who values the infinite miracle of life will appreciate a shiny new year.
Now is a great time to reflect on the future, and ensure mistakes of the past don’t interfere future opportunities. More specifically, I’m talking about new deer’s resolutions.
Since bowhunting is my life’s passion and purpose, I set the same goal each year: shoot a 200″+ buck with my bow. Sometimes I get close, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually done it.
This year I’m aiming higher.
Goal #1: Shoot a 220″ buck with my bow.
Yeah, 220-inches sounds lofty, but given enough time and scouting, I know I can find a 220-class buck. Maybe he’s in my general unit, or perhaps outta state, but I’ll find him.
Goal #2: Stay healthy enough to hunt big bucks.
You can’t hunt if you’re dead, so health is priority #2. I’m not talking about fitness and exercise, but overall wellness. As the years fly by, wellness is quickly becoming a major hobby of mine. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Here in the far-flung future, we live in a toxic environment. Our air, water, and especially our food is full of toxins and devoid of nutritional value. This will inevitably break us down and kill us.
Avoiding disease and death is product of a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system is driven by three major factors: diet, sleep, and stress.
My advice: Grow your own food, harvest your own meat, drink clean water, and avoid environmental toxins. In the mean time, get 8+ hours sleep per night–come hell or high water–and avoid chronic stress at all cost.
My plan is to put off the inevitable by becoming self-sufficient and living off the land…hopefully a land far away from all this toxic sludge!
Goal #3: Make enough money to afford time afield.
Work is the great necessary evil of life. Most unsuccessful hunters think they can blame their job for failures afield, but it’s really misplaced priorities.
If hunting is your passion, and your job doesn’t allow enough time to hunt (say a week or two), then you have a crap job and severely misplaced priorities.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working. Work affords hunting, food, and shelter. But in a hundred lifetimes, I’d never allow the almighty J.O.B. to shave off even a single day afield. And it doesn’t…
…but at what cost???
…probably millions of dollars. I earn about 1/4th what most of my family and friends do. I don’t have dollar one set aside for retirement, and most times I feel like I have nothing to show for a whole year’s worth of work.
But I wouldn’t change a thing. I have a room full of fantastic trophies and trophy experiences, all worth billions to me, and all afforded by time afield, not time at work.
What are your new year’s resolutions? Is there a big buck in your future? Well, it’s yours for the taking, assuming your priorities are in order.
My advice to fellow hunters:
Dream big, avoid distractions, stay healthy, put in the time, and be grateful for past accomplishments.
Preface: Yeah, I know this is a bowhunting blog, but fishing is hunting–underwater hunting to be exact–and many of the same hunting concepts apply.
Every Fish in Utah
Way back before video games and cell phones, when I was a little kid growing up in Northern Utah, we farm kids wiled away our time in the outdoors. Some of my earliest memories were time spent trout fishing with my family. My love for fishing continued strong into my teenage years and pretty soon I was dodging work to go fishing any time I could.
It wasn’t long before I began exploring new waters with exciting, new fish species ranging from bass, to sunfish, and weird stuff like arctic grayling and tiger musky. I guess variety truly is the spice of life because I loved catching a new fish way more than the same old boring trout.
Somewhere along my angling path I picked up a DWR fish regulation booklet in which was printed dozens of full color fish pictures. I was pleasantly surprised at just how many fish species we had living in Utah, due primarily to the wide range of temperatures and elevations this state affords. In a nanosecond I decided to catch every single fish before I died; it was my life’s goal. As an aside, I had no interest in catching the wide variety of trash fish (carp, suckers, and chubs) so I left them out.
Throughout my troublesome twenties, I systematically checked off fish after fish. It was quite the adventure. Some fish, like the white bass, pike, and tiger musky, existed in only one or two lakes, which forced me to make several surgical strikes along the way. Not only did I end up exploring countless new waters, but I was learning all about specific fish behaviors and special techniques for catching them. I talked to dozens of fish shop owners and DWR officers over the years and found the whole process to be fascinating.
Only Five to Go
As I neared my thirties, my list of remaining species had shrunk to only five species: walleye, whitefish, striped bass, and northern pike. This is where things got complicated. The DWR, in their infinite wisdom and biological prowess, began cross-breeding several species to produce entirely new species of sterile hybrids. These included tiger trout, splake, and wiper bass. It seemed that every time I crossed a fish off my list, they added a new one. It was frustrating, but fun!
The tiger trout was the craziest fish I ever met. The first one I hooked actually took of “running,” or skipping, across the lake surface. I lost several before finally landing one. There’s something about crossing a brown trout with a brook trout that brings out the crazy.
The toughest fish was the elusive walleye. This silver-eyed, nocturnal bottom-hunter exists in just a few Utah lakes, the closest being Willard Bay. For five long years I researched walleye, bought piles of walleye-specific lures, and beat the waters to death trying to catch one. I fantasized about punching the walleye in the snout if I ever did catch one. Finally, one cool and dark evening on the shores of Willard bay in 2000, I landed an 18-incher on a white curly tail jig. I didn’t punch it, but made a delicious walleye dinner instead.
The whitefish–an ugly, bottom-feeding fish resembling a cross between a trout and a carp–fell next to my fly rod on the Weber River. One freezing, winter afternoon I bounced a nymph along the bottom and BOOM, caught and photographed a whitefish, then tossed it back. Only two fish left!
The Lowly Burbot
Nope, make that three… Around this time, some ass-clown, bucket-biologist tossed a ling cod (aka burbot) into Flaming Gorge and it just took off. This ugly fish, which resembles a cross between a snake and a living turd, exploded in the vast waters of the Gorge and now threatens to wreck the entire fishery. Nonetheless, it was placed on my hit list. In the winter of 2011 I signed up for the Burbot Bash Fish Derby and caught an ugly burbot the first night out. I almost didn’t want to touch it, but man was it delicious!
Only Two Left
In spring of 2011 I made a solo trip 400 miles to Lake Powell to target striped bass from shore. I’d amassed a huge pile of striper data over the years…none of which really helped me, that is, except for chumming. Shad lures were the purported ticket: buy a bunch of white and silver lures and throw ’em till you catch a striper. I chummed the water with a pile of cut-up shad pieces and then casted and reeled and casted and reeled to no avail.
An hour later, with nary a bite, I was rummaging desperately through my tackle box when I spotted my secret weapon: a 4-inch, green tube jig with red flakes. This unsuspecting lure had caught more fish than any lure I own. In no time I was fighting a big ‘ol striper bass to shore…and then 12 more! Amazing! Only one more fish to go: the northern pike.
Pike occur in abundance at Yuba Lake in Central Utah, which just happened to be on my way home from Powell. Could I actually do it???
Nope. Runoff was high that year, and the lake was flooded and freezing cold. I wandered all over the limited public access shoreline while tossing everything I had into the water to no avail. Then I went home empty-handed.
2012 was a great year, not because the world didn’t end, but rather I got several days off with my wife for a second round at the northern pike. My goal was simple: Fish all day, every day, and NEVER come home till I’d accomplished my life’s goal.
It was a warm and calm day, the 22nd of May, 2012. We loaded the old green canoe on the roof of my truck and headed south. (NOTE: You definitely need a boat when fishing Yuba. A canoe will work.) We canoed around while tossing spinners into likely pike areas…I think…though I’d never actually seen a pike in reel life. ANYHOO, I got good tug, set the hook, and reeled in a small pike, but a pike nonetheless.
I was ecstatic! Well, I was ecstatic for about 2 minutes. After taking pictures however, a deep emptiness set in. It caught me off guard. All I could think was, “Now what!?” I guess I didn’t believe it would actually happen. Now what?
After 30 years, I’d fallen in love with the chase even more than the fish. Each new species was an exciting new adventure. Countless nights I’d stayed up late studying fish behavior and learning new tactics. Each new fish was accompanied by an adrenaline surge and a great sense of accomplishment. And now it was over.
Such is life.
I have since set newer, bigger outdoor goals. I probably won’t live long enough to reach them all, but I now understand that it’s the pursuit I love most. Moreover, it’s the people who support your goals and accompany you on your crazy adventures. (Special thanks to my wife, Esther, who supported me whole-hardheartedly through my mad, mad life.)
Without goals we flounder through life and get lazy. Mediocrity sets in. Give me adventure, give me passion, give me conquest, or give me death!
Conclusion – The Art of Zen Fishing
The most valuable single piece of information I gained from my quest is fish Zen. No matter where I fish, I can pretty quickly get a feel for when, where, and what the fish are biting on. As my lure moves through the water I can almost visualize where the fish are and how they’ll respond to it. Infinite knowledge and experience is archived in my subconscious and conscious mind. I make my next cast and retrieve based not on speculation, but infinite data points, some of which I’m not even conscious of. What does it all mean? I’ll never starve. There’s a simple, primal, and invaluable confidence in knowing that you’ll never starve.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now it’s your turn, if you so desire. Utah has 30 game fish species strewn all over the state, and I’ve never met another person who’s caught them all. Close, maybe. So why not try it yourself! Send me any questions you may have and I’ll be glad to help you out. Truthfully, I’m sitting on way too much fishing information to just take it to my grave.
Have you set your New Year’s goals yet? It’s not too late. Maybe I can help.
Everyone has different priorities in life: health, career, education, family, etc. For me, bowhunting big bucks is priority one. Nothing in this ridiculous life brings me more satisfaction (and venison) than bagging a big buck with a bow. Therefore, everything must either support that goal, or be discarded. Simple.
My New Year’s goals:
Harvest a 200″+ buck with my bow.
Be healthy enough to hunt giant bucks in giant places. This includes eating healthy, avoiding sugar and processed foods, regular exercise, reducing exposure to environmental toxins, and reducing daily stress.
Earn enough money to take the entire bow season off work.
Avoid distractions as much as possible (TV, Facebook, unsupportive people, loser jobs, unnecessary projects, etc.).
Help others accomplish their New Deer’s goals through education, study, writing, etc.
That’s it folks. Nothing more; nothing less.
The best way to accomplish your greatest goal is to keep it present in your mind at all times, keep it simple, and make sure all other people and activities in your life also supports that goal.
WOW, a brand new year is upon us–already–and that means new goals, opportunities, and resolutions.
After months of pondering and soul searching, I finally settled on my number one new year’s resolution for 2017. Can you guess what it is?
That’s right: A 200+ inch monster muley with my bow. WHAT ELSE?!
I know, I know, it’s the same thing every year. But there’s nothing more challenging and rewarding than pursuing the ultimate prey with your bow (even if you come up a few inches short).
Keep in mind that accomplishing such a feat not only requires tons of work in the off-season, but a major change in lifestyle. Basically, every decision you make concerning life, work, and relationships MUST support the ultimate goal or you will fail! It’s not for everyone because if you can’t commit to the goal, then you can’t set the goal.
As a result, my three other resolutions are to:
Maintain my health and fitness necessary to conquer steep mountains.
Make enough money to live in the mountains all season long if necessary.
Study and meditate daily on the hunt…and that means tons of new BLOGS.
Last year I came out of the woods with a veritable wealth of new information and now I’m going to share it with you.
Part of my New Year’s resolution is to write at least one blog article every week. In doing this, I firmly believe it will help both of us advance closer to our lofty hunting goals together.
Stay tuned for exciting new information. It’s gonna be an amazing new year!
The bowhunt is a only a few days away and the anticipation is making me crazy! How bout you?
The question that continually haunts me is how big-a-buck should I pass up? My goal is always a 200-inch buck, but what if a 195″ walks by? What about a great 170″ drop-tine?
Most bowhunters are just happy with any mature buck. Novice hunters might be happy with a spike or forked-horn. Others would be fine just putting meat in the freezer, horns be damned.
In order to make the decision to pass easier, I’ve compiled a short list of things to consider before you loose an arrow:
Are you more concerned with meat or horns? Maybe both? After all, meat comes with horns–it’s an added bonus. I don’t believe in killing deer simply for horns. To me, the meat is sacred. That being said, the bigger the buck, the more meat. A big, mature buck can weigh twice as much as a yearling, making trophy hunting a meat-wise prospect.
How many days are available for your hunt? If you’re seriously limited–like just the weekend–then any buck is a great buck! But if you really don’t need the meat, then holding out and eating the tag is quite okay. There will be more deer next year.
When I first started bowhunting, I only had four days to get it done. My system was easy: First day 4-point, second day 3 or 4 point, third day 3 point, fourth day anything!
Are you hunting a quality area? If so, you can expect multiple opportunities. So it just makes sense to hold out for a quality buck. If your area sucks, then any buck would be great.
If the buck in front of you is good, but not great, ask yourself, “Will I be happy with this buck once it’s down? Is this buck worth blowing my entire season on?”
These are important questions, especially for the seasoned hunter. You’re not getting any younger. If the buck doesn’t meet your goals, you may have serious regets for the next 12 months.
Many years ago, I would be tickled pink with any mature buck. For the longest time, I would pull an arrow at the slightest hint of a buck. Now, in order avoid year-long regret, I refuse to pull an arrow until I’ve summed up the buck and am absolutely sure it’s the one I’d be happy with. Once my arrow is nocked I’m in killing mode and it’s a lot harder to let the buck walk.
In the end, the decision to shoot is completely yours and should be based solely on your own personal goals. Pressure to succeed should come from one’s own desire to progress as a hunter, and not from your ego or desire to impress other people.
The deer hunt is less than a week away, and not an hour passes without thinking about giant bucks.
Bowhunting is the only reason I get out of the bed in the morning. It’s all I care about; everything else in the world is secondary. I’m hopelessly obsessed!
Fortunately it’s a healthy obsession. You see, at this point in my life I’ve come to realize that although I’m good at several things, I’m really only GREAT at one thing: chasing down giant bucks with my bow. Don’t be mad; I didn’t choose it, it chose me.
Now that I’ve come to grips with this curse, I have only three goals in life. They are:
Shoot a monster buck over 200″.
Live a healthy and fit lifestyle so I can physically go about chasing 200″ bucks.
Work my butt off during the off-season to afford as much time as necessary to shoot a 200″ buck.
Pretty simple, right!?
Whatever you’re doing in life, I urge you to find your healthy obsession. We’re not born with magical gifts, rather we must search our passions and fight relentlessly to achieve the seemingly impossible prize.
I’m a trophy hunter. On average I spend around 23 days a year beating myself up in the mountains just for a shot at a giant trophy buck. Most years I come home empty-handed or with a “settlement” meat buck. What can I say; I just love giant bucks! I love big bucks primarily because for the great challenge they provide to a seasoned hunter like myself. I also think they’re beautiful, cunning, and beyond exciting to chase with a bow.
Anti-hunters hate trophy hunters. They think we target big bucks strictly for their headgear and with little regard for meat or sustenance. This may be true of a misguided few, but for me every ounce of meat is considered sacred, and great pains are taken to pack it off the mountain.
This negative attitude towards trophy hunters isn’t just held by ignorant liberals, but by some hunters as well. I was conversing with a hunter last year about the decline in big bucks over the years. Knowing that I was a ‘trophy hunter’ he said, “Well, if people wouldn’t shoot all the big ones, there might still be some around.” At first I thought he was kidding–which he wasn’t–and then responded, “Uh, isn’t that the point? To take the biggest buck you can?” I don’t remember the ignoramus’ response…
Anyhoo, this got me thinking. While in the woods last season I asked myself, “What are the pros and cons of trophy hunting? Overall, is it more beneficial to target trophies, or more harmful?”
As it turns out, trophy hunting is very beneficial, both to the deer herds AND to non-trophy hunters. Here’s the list I came up with:
Trophy hunting does all of the following:
Provides larger, more mature animals which better fills the freezer and feeds the clan.
Removes old, declining, and territorial bucks from the herds which allows greater opportunity for younger bucks to mature. In effect, this allows greater opportunity for non-trophy hunters AND expansion of the deer herd.
Research shows that 80% of bucks 5 years and above will die of old age, NOT harvest. Since these bucks are essentially un-huntable, then trophy hunters don’t compete with non-trophy hunters.
Trophy bucks provide a far greater challenge to seasoned hunters who choose to pass up small bucks–often every single day–for an opportunity at a trophy. Since trophy hunters are most often UN-successful, this leaves more animals in the woods which means greater opportunity for other hunters. This also allows younger deer to reach maturity. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Instead of shooting the first buck he sees, a trophy hunter passes up many bucks. Consequently he spends many more days afield. This equates to a longer season and many more deer encounters, and in my opinion that’s the best part of hunting.
Don’t be a “baby killer!” Being a trophy hunter means you’re not killing yearling or two-year-old bucks. Young bucks haven’t gained enough experience to effectively evade predators and hunters yet. It doesn’t seem entirely fair to kill these “babies” before they have a fighting chance. Several years ago there was a kill-anything mentality around our elk camp. On the last day of the season I had a young elk calf approach me unsuspectingly at 20 yards. I drew my bow, but then took one look at it’s cute, fuzzy face and just couldn’t release the arrow. I got some razzing back at camp, since “calves have the most tender meat,” but for me it just didn’t feel right.
Oh, and let’s not forget the greatest benefit of trophy hunting: A big, beautiful rack displayed on the wall in magnificent glory to serve as a lasting reminder of an unforgettable hunt! Nature really is the BEST art.
In conclusion, I can’t think of a single disadvantage to trophy hunting; well, other than frequent failure. But oft-found failure is easily overshadowed by the occasional harvest of true monster-buck.
My brother, Russell, had some great comments regarding hunting goals. His comments and my reply are worthy of it’s own article.
“Making goals that you really set in your heart and are realistic is critical. My heartfelt goals this year were to help my daughter harvest her first big game animal. She harvested both a buck and an elk. It was awesome. I was perfectly happy with how the season went, even though I did not set any lofty goals for my own hunting, as I was concerned about the time dedication. I did manage to harvest my best buck to date, although that’s not saying much. Gotta really think about my goals this coming year. Might be time to harvest a really decent bull elk.
I think you’ll get it done in Utah this year. But i am curious, which state(s) are you going to add to your schedule that will still allow you the time you need for the Utah general hunt?”
I wrote :
Good points, Russ. Here’s some clarification:
Last year I set a goal to shoot a 200″ buck AND help Esther with her limited-entry hunt. Turns out you can’t do both. So really I sabotaged my goal from the start. But that’s okay; I wouldn’t trade Esther’s big bull for any buck! It’s WONDERFUL to help people. There’s nothing more noble than setting a goal to help someone with their goal, especially family.
My lofty goals are deemed ridiculous by most people; I mean, how can I expect to shoot a 200″+ buck on public land with a general tag?! Am I setting myself up for failure? Am I setting unrealistic goals? NO, because I’ve done it twice already and I know the secret recipe; unfortunately that recipe takes incredible resources, mostly time.
It’s important to realize that in setting a ridiculously high goal you must do something every day to get closer to it: physical training, shooting practice, map study, scouting, scouting, and scouting. Most importantly is to acknowledge your goal every single day. Keep it in the forefront of your mind. Format your mind to focus all possible energy and decisions on your goal, and you’ll find a way to reach it.
As for out-of-state hunts, I only have one in mind: IDAHO. I am a man of big vision and little means; a po’ folks po’ folk. For this reason I refuse to pay into the yuppie system of buying points in multiple western states, especially while Utah has such great bucks, even on publc land/general units. In my opinion the point system is evil. It might seem fair, but it really takes away opportunity from young hunters and new hunters, while catering only to the rich. Many of my archery students ask me how they can get started in hunting. They assume they can just buy a bow and an OTC tag for any game species. Imagine their surprise when I explain they must pay into the system for decades just to draw a decent tag!
I paid into the system for years, earning points for multiple species for my son. Now he has no interest in hunting. Where’s my refund? My wife’s ex-boss’ dad paid into the system for 15 years and finally drew his moose tag. It arrived in the mailbox shortly after he died of old age!
That being said, I need more opportunities, and since Idaho is one of the only states that doesn’t have a draw system, it’s my best chance at getting a tag. Also, Idaho has several general deer hunts that don’t conflict with Utah’s season.
Congrats, Russ, on your biggest mule deer last year and good luck with your big bull goals. Dream big! Remember, elk are EASY!
Actually it wasn’t too horrible, but I sometimes accuse myself of being overly critical. Call me a pessimist, but I’ll argue that although it’s unhealthy to be too self-critical, the only other option is to be overly accepting of mediocrity in which case I would never achieve my lofty goals and instead recede into the apathetic quagmire of an aging inflataperson.
I entered 2015 with one goal: to shoot a 200″+ mule deer buck with a bow. It didn’t happen. I failed for three primary reasons:
First, because there are so many people in the state of Utah now, I drew my 5th choice general deer unit and right away lost my inspiration.
Second, I failed to scout my 5th choice unit because of work, and work sucks, and work kept me in the smoggy city when I should have been out scouting for giant bucks.
Third, I spent half of the general hunt helping my lovely wife with her L.E. elk hunt in Southern Utah where I didn’t even carry a bow.
After all that, I entered the Wasatch extended hunt, where I’ve never even seen a 200″ deer, and failed there too.
So 2016 will be different. I’ve mentioned many times on my blog that SUCCESS IS A DECISION. Last year, while wandering endlessly down empty game trails, an annoying inner voice insisted that success is NOT a decision; that there are simply too many variables working against me, and therefore I can’t make that decision. By the time the season ended, a stronger voice confirmed that success is in fact an easy decision, so long as you are willing to do whatever it takes, which means putting in the time and effort equal to the lofty magnitude of a 200″+ monster muley…and I did not do this.
So, this year I have one resolution and one goal only: a 200″+ mule deer buck with a bow. This year I will make it happen and here’s how:
I will decline any and every job/work/responsibility that conflicts with my deer hunt.
Whatever crappy unit I end up drawing, I will scout every single week starting in spring and leading up to the hunt. I’ve always believed that somewhere, in every single general unit in the state, there’s a huge 200″+ buck. If you are willing to put in enough time you will find it.
And finally, I will hunt out-of-state. The problem with Utah is you only get one tag and that equals one opportunity. I need more opportunities.
That’s all folks. I hope all of you are setting high resolutions and standards for this coming hunting year. Remember, success is always a decision as long as you’re willing to do whatever it takes.
P.S. You can expect much more new blogs and information here in 2016. In 2015 I received tons of hunting related insights and revelations and took tons of notes in the field. All of this will be shared here in 2016.
I didn’t shoot the photo above; I borrowed it from the Utah DWR. However, it perfectly captures what goes on in my mind 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, 366 days a year.
The Utah archery deer hunt opens this Saturday! From there I’ll have 4 weeks to accomplish the one thing I live for: harvesting a trophy buck with my bow. In this article I’m goint to talk about goals and priorities and how they relate to hunting and life.
Each bowhunt I go through the same process: A grand, ritualistic prehunt meditation that consumes my being. My mind is being reformatted. Time expands to include the present, past and future simultaneously. As I sit here typing, I’m already in the woods. For the last couple weeks I have become useless in every facet of my life. My soul is set upon a nearly impossible goal that consumes every minute of the day. My phone rings, people talk, and I walk around, but it is all background noise. I can’t focus on anything but the glorious task ahead of me.
As the hunt nears, I also become overly hopeful. Last year my goal was to shoot my third 200+ inch deer in five years. I hunted harder and put more days in than ever before, and I didn’t even see a 200″ deer. The biggest was maybe 180″.
Half-way through the season I started to realize that any big four-point was the best a bowhunter could hope for these days, mainly because there just aren’t that many big bucks left. Thanks to greater and greater human expansion into Utah’s winter range–not to mention a whole new onslaught of statewide poaching and highway casualties–fewer and fewer bucks live to maturity. So the odds of success are always declining. Does this mean I should set the bar lower? Maybe; I’ll wait for that deer to step out and then decide.
Being a professional photographer, archery instructor, taxidermist, and writer has made this the busiest year of my life. I worked every single day in July, mostly out in the hot sun, sometimes ten hours without a break. As busy-ness began winding down, I was discussing work with an associate of mine. He remarked, “Hey, at least the money is good, right?” I said, “You know, the only reason I work so hard is so I can take the entire hunt off work if necessary. Bowhunting is all I care about. Every single thing I do–the whole reason I even get out of bed in the morning–is so I can hunt. Everything else is secondary. When my wife asked me to marry her, I tried to warn her, but she married me anyway (ha-ha). I know my purpose in life…”
There’s a saying: People enjoy what they’re good at (and despise what they suck at.) A couple years ago I had an epiphany: I’m good at lots of things (archery, photography, music, taxidermy, etc.), but I’m great at only one thing: Bowhunting. I didn’t choose it; it chose me.
Not too many years ago I stunk at hunting, so I only committed to hunting three or four days a year. Now I commit several weeks, mostly because I know that quality bucks take a lot of time, skill, and yes, even luck. And the best way to be successful and lucky is to be in the field, not at home, not at work, not golfing, etc. I set a very lofty goal, then do whatever it takes to achieve it.
I also know a whole lot of very unsuccessful hunters, some whom are close family and friends. Most of them say that I’m lucky and they’re not. Maybe they’re right, but I’ll tell you right now: while I’m alone in the woods from Tuesday through Friday, or trudging five miles up some frozen canyon in three feet of snow, those people are sitting at work or in front of the television, waiting for me to get lucky. And then I stumble into some unsuspecting giant…
Long story short, trophy hunting isn’t for everyone. Most hunters would be happy with any deer, or at least some sort of consistency from year to year. But it’s hard to achieve even moderate success when we put so many other priorities ahead of hunting.
I believe everyone get’s ONE THING; one big thing that you’re great at. That’s the great mystery of life; finding that one thing! Unless that “one thing” is hunting, don’t expect a trophy deer too, because in the deer woods it’s all or nothing. You either commit 100% to the task loooooong before the season opener, or you’ll likely fail. The season blows in and out, haphazardly.
This blog is about one thing: Successful trophy bowhunting. I truly believe that success in hunting is a decision, and anyone who sets their priorities in that direction will accomplish it year after year.
When I was just starting out as a photographer, I made a conscious effort to learn only from the greatest photographers and study only their methods. There were tons of “good” photographers out there, but great photography can only be learned from the greats. The same idea applies to hunters.
I don’t know that I am a great hunter. But I do believe in the methods I’ve developed and follow. I also believe that the greatest teacher is the woods itself. I know there is a natural law and how to follow it. I know how a mountain lion hunts and survives by successfully taking a deer every ten days or so all year-round. Lions are the “greats” of the hunting world.
Lastly, I believe that the road map to success is fully integrated into the text of this blog and my book, Zen Hunting. I don’t think I’ve left anything out, but I will keep trying to help.