THE RUT ROLLER COASTER – DEALING WITH THE EXTREMES
In this episode, the dandy 10 pointer I am hunting narrowly gives me the slip. Why? Who knows. There was no reason for him to go the way he went. That very same evening only a few miles away my friend shoots a nice buck on a great hunt. Bowhunting is a roller coaster ride, so buckle up – this will not be smooth!
Dealing with the Dips: I used to be almost afraid of the emotional swings that can come when bowhunting. The dips were so disappointing (I have had some really big deer get away over the years) it was tempting to avoid committing too deeply to the contest in order to keep from hitting the skids if the plan fails. And, unfortunately, the plan does fail much more often than it works.
If you don’t invest much, you won’t feel as bad when it goes south. But that is not the answer either.
How do you think Chad felt when that buck got away that we watched in the last episode? I am afraid I know only too well how he felt. It can be devastating. I was seriously bummed when the only buck I was excited about hunting going into the 2015 season was off the table before I even started hunting him.
It can definitely be tempting to avoid the pain by avoiding the commitment. But here is where the balance comes in: you have to keep things in perspective. They are just deer. This is what we do for fun. If you start losing sleep worrying about a deer or losing sleep staring at the ceiling saying, “How did I mess that up?” you have lost perspective.
In reality, we are going to fail more often than we succeed. It is just part of the game and why success is so rewarding. Like our daughter recently told me, “Without winter, we would never appreciate summer.” Without the inherent failures of bowhunting, we would never appreciate the successes.
I am not saying that we accept failure without some self-examination and an attempt to eliminate it. I don’t want to fail. It still stings for a while – just not as long as it used to! We still need to learn from each failure or we are just fools. But, we will never be so good at this that we never fail.
Disappointment is part of bowhunting. Don’t obsess it; accept it and move on. Just know what your up against going in and you won’t take the dips in the roller coaster ride as hard as you would otherwise. You learn to enjoy the journey no matter how it twists, turns and dips.
Dealing with Peaks: What do you mean “Dealing” with the peaks? Maybe handling would be a better term. Knowing that the successes are not going to come your way often, you need to really soak in the encounters and the kills. Don’t hurry through them. Slow down and soak it in. Remember the smells, the sights, the feel of the wind – all the stuff that makes the experience so enriching. Burn it into your memory so you have something to reflect back on during those long, tough days when the bucks are moving.
It is a lot more fun to deal with peaks than dips, that is for sure.