“Almost”…..The most used word in Bowhunting
The most used word in archery hunting is probably the word, “ALMOST.” “I ALMOST filled my tag this evening!” “The bull walked right instead of left and I ALMOST had him!” How many times have you heard something along those lines or said it yourself? I hear it every single season and say it myself every year. I think this is why I archery hunt though. It’s the chase. The journey to the goal. Every engagement with an animal where you ALMOST are successful holds a lesson. Another tool in your toolbox and the next stepping stone to your objective. Even a failed stalk is a successful one.
Another thing I have heard is, “Why do you hunt with a bow? It’s so hard.” Yes, hunting with a bow and arrow is extremely hard. It is also extremely rewarding though when it all comes together. Taking an animal with archery equipment is not something to take lightly, whether you shoot a doe or a bull moose. Your patience, instinct, and physical/mental well being will be tested to the max. Just finding animals can be hard sometimes. After that, the fun part begins though. A game of chess in which you are ALMOST always outwitted. There is that word ALMOST again. Your quarry can also ALMOST outwit you.
No matter how “hard” hunting with a bow can be, the only way to fill your tag is to be out there trying to do so. Things can turn around out there in a hurry and if you aren’t there to witness it, I feel sorry for you. It is truly a magical experience when you finally send an arrow through an animal’s vitals and to not give it your all out there would be doing yourself a disservice. I think a lot of folks get frustrated and head back home dreaming of rifle season after having a frustrating bow hunt. There have been many times where I have been tempted to do that as well. What good would that do though?
This past season, for me, was filled with more highs and lows than a weather forecast. Whether it was not being able to find animals, my hunting partner getting sick, getting smoked out by a controlled burn, or just plain bad weather, it was a tough hunt mentally and definitely took its toll on me. Out of all of the lows though, there was that occasional high that just seemed to stick with me and fuel my drive to succeed. Those little triumphs kept me focused and engaged. It could have been something as little as, me finding a big track. Remember these small victories, because they can inevitably lead you to a big one.
For me, I have to know that I gave it my all and I did all that I could in order to fill my tag. This can be hard, especially in the middle of a rough season. We get tired, lazy, and negative thoughts start stewing within us. The easy thing to do is to give up and go home. I am guilty of that. On the very few occasions that I have done this though, it ate at me like a parasite afterwards. Hunt hard, hunt all day, and NEVER GIVE UP. If you do throw in the towel, you will never know what could have been.
Let’s hear about some of your hardest hunts and how you dealt with them down in the comments! Maybe, you filled your tag? Maybe, you didn’t? I want to know!