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Well my archery season is essentially over unless I am able to squeeze a few days in during the late season. A years worth of scouting and three weeks of vacation is in the rear view mirror and I wasn’t able to put my hands on a set of antlers. It was a tough season for me with a lot of ups and downs and now I am back to the grind. Being that many of my coworkers know why I was off I am continually having go through the painful ordeal of telling them that I didn’t have any luck. One coworker mentioned that she saw a deer get hit by a car and instantly thought of me thinking that I would of wanted it since I didn’t get anything. Have another “friend” who was successful sending group texts about how glad he is that he is done and doesn’t have to hunt in this cold weather. Yesterday he sent a picture of deer steak and eggs in the morning. May seem harmless to the naked eye but there is definitely a underlying superiority tone to it. The rest of those involved in the group text agreed. Anyhow I know some of you will say who cares what others think. To a degree I will agree with that. At the same time it’s not easy to admit defeat. Especially when it comes to something you’re so passionate about. I could soften the blow by giving excuses to all those asking me if I “got one” or use them in a response to my “arrogant” friend but I won’t. To me there are no excuses no excuses in hunting. Sure my kids were sick causing me to miss several days but that doesn’t mean I would of got one if I was able to go. Had my drop away fail on a buck at 10 yards but that doesn’t mean I would of hit it good if it didn’t. I also could of chosen better equipment with a less likelihood of failure. I could go the macho route and let everyone know I passed several legal bucks holding out for something bigger but the end result is I still came away empty handed and wasn’t able to get in kill range of a bigger buck.
Fact of the matter is I just wasn’t good enough this year to get it done. Traditional hot spots were void of sign and I hunted them anyhow in hopes something would materialize that in all likelihood was not there. I also pushed myself too hard in the beginning of the season getting into hard to reach places without much success in regards to deer sightings. This resulted in frustration and sloppy hunting. Also over hunted locations educating deer in the area but had the misguided approach that if I hunted it enough something would eventually come through. At times I also found myself getting bored and frustrated while on stand and as a result I was not paying attention like I should be or moving too much. Lastly there were a few occasions when I hunted the morning with plans to move to a new location in the afternoon only to find myself roaming the woods endlessly looking for the perfect set up that never came about. Actually bagged a few evening hunts over frustration and exhaustion. With all that being said I still actually did have a lot of fun but there were definitely some low points to my season. There were times I was on point and hunted well and there were other times I was hunting like a greenhorn. When the dust finally settles and I have time to reflect on this season hopefully I can figure out all my flaws and rectify them. Also it’s not over yet because for the first time in 15 years I have a full week off for rifle season. Maybe I am destined to shoot a big one then or maybe I won’t. I just hope I hunt a little more efficiently than I did in archery season and no matter the outcome there will be no excuses.
 

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I'm with you steel. It was a rough season. You're a better man than I am with the group text. The "why didn't you get one?" questions get old really fast. You're not alone. I was grinding this year. Our daughter was born last September. Our son isn't quite 2. Time wasn't my friend this year, but I still thought I had a pretty good plan going into the season and I guess in a sense I did. I saw more bucks, and nice bucks at that, the first two Saturdays than I can remember seeing but nothing close, or setting up playing the wind and doing it right, only to have them go against the book and come out where they shouldn't have. I was grinding, rushing, pushed for time, basically just not having fun. Then the next three sits not seeing a deer when I know they should have been moving and finding does. Rubs popping up, scrapes everywhere, cameras saying they were there but not when I was. I had finally had enough. Yesterday my Mother in Law took my son for the day and my wife prodded me to go enjoy the afternoon in the woods. In my mind I thought there was no way I could enjoy it but she wouldn't understand the reasoning. So I grudgingly went through the process of dragging myself out of the house after work and hit the woods. As I was getting my things together at the spot I planned to sit and I realized "hey idiot. You get to hunt. You get to spend time in the woods. Enjoy it" I don't like being away from my kids and almost feel guilty doing so, but my spirits lifted for a bit and I thought i'm going to give it a shot and just enjoy it today. 20 minutes later it happened and I arrowed one. My sons face made it all worthwhile when I dropped the tailgate on the truck. You're not alone buddy. Keep grinding, keep pushing, because when that buck comes out in front of you in Rifle season and the gunshot cracks the silence, you will forget about the questions and the juice will be worth the squeeze. Its why we hunt brother. Keep your head up and know that the hard work you're putting in will pay off. Maybe not today, tomorrow, this season, or next. But it will pay off.
 

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A tough year makes the drive for success even greater. We have all had them. We hope to never have them but with the fickle sport we enjoy called hunting, it is part of the equation. Keep your head high. Realize success is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Sometimes, the cake is better anyways when it is all said and done.

It isn't over just yet. But, you certainly did all you could to make it happen.
 

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That's right there is enough to be thankful for.I've only had a chance to blow two afternoons off all season and I ended up taking the dog out for birds.My desire to kill deer has really decreased the last few years.Once my son started to hunt 7 years ago,my time with a weapon was severely restricted.It kind of bugged me the first year but I had so much fun feeding off his enthusiasm that killing a deer was no longer important.Now if he can't hunt with me,I don't feel like going.I killed a deer the first morning and have logged about 10 hours total in the stand this year.I've had deer within range most times out but I haven't even picked my bow up.Tomorrow we have a west wind for a spot I want to hunt so I may leave work early but my wife wants to take our son Christmas shopping.I'm not sure if I'll go or not.I've let a lot of deer walk by unscathed the last several years and it's weird but there's something satisfying about it.I may pick up a recurve this winter and go completely traditional just to put some excitement into it again.I don't know what's happened to me but my predatory instincts seems to have slipped.Once he's grown,I may become a full-time bird hunter.
 

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The only question need asked is "Did you have fun?" If you check that box the rest doesn't really matter unless you think it's a competition.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The only question need asked is "Did you have fun?" If you check that box the rest doesn't really matter unless you think it's a competition.
Just competing with the deer and myself and I lost on both accounts. I did have fun but would be lying if I said there weren’t moments that I wasn’t.
Basically the gist of what I am getting at is when it comes to hunting nothing is a guarantee and it’s easy to make up excuses when you’re not successful. To me excuses are just a temporary bandaid and really have no validity to them.
 

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I may just be getting old steel but I really don't care about success anymore.Maybe it was too many years of taking it too serious or that I'm sensing my own mortality.I will say,when I started to feel that way,I started to enjoy it more.You go through several levels as a hunter and eventually you won't feel any pressure.Once you start hunting with your kids,your entire outlook will change.Several years ago,it was the last afternoon of flintlock season and it was the first time ever that I hadn't killed a buck.I spent the entire season mentoring my son and even though he had a good year,I'd be lying if I said it didn't bug me.I hadn't seen a deer all day and right at last light,a decent buck stepped out and I killed him.It was more relief than anything.It was almost like I had to prove something to myself.Last year almost the exact same thing happened.It was new years day and I still had a buck tag in my pocket.About an hour before dark,a very nice buck worked his way to me.He was behind some brush and two more steps he would give me a wide open broadside shot at 40 yards.I had the wind perfect and was tucked in between two tree.Nothing could mess this up.It was a cold still day and when I eased the hammer back,he heard the click and looked in my direction.I sat there frozen,thinking he'd forget about in and take the two steps I needed.Nope,he turned around and slowly walked away,never giving me a shot and crossed into the open about 80 yards away.I thought about taking that iffy shot but let him walk.He won and it really didn't bother me.About 30 minutes later,I thumped a doe that came out in the same spot and burned my tag on her.On the way out,I wasn't the least bit disappointed for some reason.
 

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It may be tough but there are a lot of reasons we hunt, and part of that (sometimes a big part) is to meet our success goals...I get it.
But, don't let anyone else rain on your parade. You're not hunting to please anyone else, just you. Keep enjoying God's great gifts like you have been doing. Enjoy the successful seasons as well as the "not as" successful seasons....there will always be both.
Now get ready for gun season!!!
 

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1. A season shouldn't require killing a deer in order to be judged successful. If you enjoyed the pursuit, the scouting, just being in the woods, then the season was a success.

2. The guy who gets one and comes off as better than you really isn't. He either had a better location or (in most cases) just plain got lucky. Those favored by random chance aren't superior to anyone. Just luckier. This time.

3. It sounds like you made a serious effort. I have more respect for what you did, than I do for the guy who blunders out of his car on the first day and shoots a nice buck in the first fifteen minutes (in other words, by being totally lucky). Killing a deer isn't always about hard work. And the hard work should be the fun part.

4. If it makes you feel any better, I bet most of us envy the amount of time you spend in the woods. You were probably out more this year, than I get out in 4 or 5 years. Be glad you had that opportunity. We don't all get it.
 

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You hunted a lot and had fun. Nobody likes not getting a buck after putting the effort in but bow hunting is challenging and that's what makes success so sweet. Maybe you should try and mix it up a bit and not bow hunt so hard. I enjoy bow hunting even more now because I mix it up. Until the last week of October I don't pound the deer stands. Fall has lots of things to do small game, ducks, fishing etc. This helps keep deer around and uneducated and I don't get bored with day after day sits. I will remember this season the rest of my life because I blew it on a monster buck this year but it was great season with lots of hunts with family and some meat in the freezer.
 

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Well, I didnt get one either, So my theory is, There are not many smart deer around, I go into the woods and hide!!!

Now and then a Smart Deer shows up and I get him.

So not one smart one found me yet but 2 days left!!!

Good luck and Be Careful.

Stant
 

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The only question need asked is "Did you have fun?" If you check that box the rest doesn't really matter unless you think it's a competition.
Exactly what I was thinking when I started reading this thread.
My success is measured by the feeling of being in the outdoors and enjoying nature in it's fullest unimpeded by my presence....
Now that may seem like an old man's way of thinking and I'm no old man.
I am genuinely happy for friends and family who are successful....
Now my 17 year old son is on a mission, he gets so frustrated when he doesn't see anything and he all but lives in the woods since the 1st day of the early season....
For now I am happy living vicariously through him and sitting in my stand behind the house while he is hunting any one of his 5 spots he acquired waiting for my phone to ring and have him say " Dad, I got one" like he has done in years past....
I have good deer on our property and one of these days one will walk by during legal hours and I will harvest him, till then I just love this time of year.....
 

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I havent killed a buck since 2016. Doesn't bother me a bit. Could have killed one many times over but I'm picky. If your that worried about getting a deer shoot a doe. I do every year and I make some awesome jerky with it. If your gonna be upset and worry about your buddies rubbing it in because you didn't get something then you better find something else to do. Its called hunting and not killing dor a reason. Sounds like your friends need to grow up and be true friends and support you whether you get a deer or not.
 
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