Post Season Success
As I write this, January 2015 is coming to a close along with the AZ archery deer season. It has been a LONG season that started back in August for me here. August filled my mind with hopes and desires for bear and deer. The only thing August didn’t fill was my tags. That season ran into September. After that it was back to the bears in early October, followed by scouting in November for the archery deer hunt the coming December/January. January also held an archery javelina hunt, which is a tag that I was fortunate enough to fill. If I had to describe how my season went, it would be a long stretch of rugged, up and down mountains with some valleys scattered throughout. It’s a good thing that I enjoy rugged mountains.
Now, that my hunting season is over, I find myself looking back at it all. There are two things that stick out to me about the 6 month journey. The first: Wow, that went quick! The second: What did I learn? Far too much to share with you in this blog post for sure. What is even more important though is that I apply the lessons I learned last season to the upcoming ones and to set new goals for myself.
I think this is a pretty common goal for people to have after hunting season. We want to get better with our weapons of choice. For me, that is my bow and rifle. There were two opportunities that I had where I very well could have filled my deer tag if my effective range was extended a bit with my bow. Extending my effective range will definitely be something I will be working on with both my rifle and my bow. Another thing that was an eye opener for me pertaining to archery was how much different it is shooting at animals rather than targets. Because of this, 3D archery shoots are going to become a normal thing for me, plus they are super fun. If you have not tried one out, I highly recommend it. It is the next best thing to bowhunting.
This is something that has been weighing heavy on me a lot lately. I am by no means “out of shape,” but it never hurts to be more physically fit, especially out west. There were a few times last season where I felt like I would never get back to camp, due to my exhaustion. Carrying a backpack up and down mountains all day can be pretty physically taxing. With high hopes and plans of elk hunting this year, improving my physical fitness level is something that is going to be on the front burner. My wife and I have already signed up for a gym membership and have been going regularly. It seems like the act of actually getting up and heading to the gym is the hardest part about it. Once we are there though, and after our workout, we feel great. Along with working out comes eating right. That is another thing that we have really been trying to stay on top of the past couple of years. The importance of being physically fit for hunting and just life in general will probably get a whole post dedicated to itself later in the year.
Ah, patience. This was and is a big one for me. Sometimes my mind runs a mile a minute and choosing what to do next ends up scratching at my brain like a caged rat. The need for patience was especially evident when it came to stalking game, something that I am fairly new to. As much as I was always worried about whatever I was stalking leaving the area, that was never the case. Taking your time is imperative, if you want to be a successful spot and stalk bowhunter. Animals don’t really have an agenda like we do. They do all have one goal in common though and that is STAYING ALIVE, which they are very good at. If we can all agree on something, it should be that the game we pursue doesn’t commit suicide. Does a mountain lion just barrel in on the prey it seeks? No. They stalk silently and methodically. When the time is right, they strike. That is the trick there. Recognizing when the time is right and the only thing that can teach me that is experience. Having patience, along with having the wind in my favor, seem to be the two most important elements to spot and stalk hunting. The same is true for stand hunting as well. Back during the August hunt, I sat in a blind for 4 days without seeing a thing. As you might have guessed I started to lose my patience. I had loads of trail camera pictures of deer coming through there though. The day that I decided to not sit down there, deer moved through the area. Go figure. Having the patience to really give that treestand or blind a shot is the only way that I will know if it will or will not work, but having the knowledge to recognize it being the best option in the first place is equally important in its own right.
Even though it seems that the season flew by in the blink of an eye, looking back at the mass amount of knowledge that I gained during it, makes me realize just how long it actually was. I grew as a hunter and as a husband. As long as I keep doing that, I am headed in the right direction. No, I did not fill all of my tags last year, but I did fill my brain with more useful tools for the future. That by itself, I would consider “Post Season Success.”