By Mark Kenyon

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”  – Winston Churchill

It was a difficult moment. The kind, that while in the big picture seems nominal, feels monumental in the present. My resolve was about to crumble. My faith had eroded. My dreams were quickly fading. This wasn’t going to happen…I was going to fail.

It was my 12th day in a row, hunting from dawn til dusk almost each day. And as had been the story all season, another close encounter had come up just short. This wasn’t going to happen… I was going to fail.

Hunting deer shouldn’t seem so life and death, but for me at that point in time, it felt that way. I quit my day job this past fall to pursue my entrepreneurial endeavors with Wired To Hunt, and being a whitetail hunting writer requires you kill whitetails. It’s kind of an important part of the gig. Unfortunately, you’d think I had missed the memo. I hadn’t killed anything this year. Not a thing. Every time it seemed I would close the deal on one of the bucks I was chasing, something would go wrong. It just hadn’t come together. And after hundreds of hours of work and preparation in the off-season and about 30 unsuccessful hunts to that point, I had reached the end of my rope. Me? A professional hunting writer? I can’t do this. Who was I kidding?

This wasn’t going to happen… I was going to fail.

Or was I?

Yes, I was nearing the end of my rope. But as they say, when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And so I did. I held on.

And so should you.

Hunting Is A Challenge

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

I love hunting. And I enjoy it, so incredibly much. There are so many wonderful things about hunting deer, but we’re not talking about that side of the hunt today. If you take hunting mature whitetails seriously, you know that it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Plans fall apart. Opportunities slip through our grasp. Hard work doesn’t always pay off the way we think it should.

The reality of hunting mature whitetails is that it’s a damn hard thing to do.

And more times than not we’ll be made out to look like fools, clutching blindly at our so called expertise, wondering aloud what in the world went wrong. It happens far more often than I’m sure any of us care to admit.

If that’s not tough enough, the pure act of enduring the hunt itself is enough to discourage many a grown man from even stepping outside their door. 3:30 AM wakeup calls for days on end, double digit hours in a tree, and sometimes endless monotony. Frigid temperatures that could freeze a phrase on the tip of your tongue, winds that howl like banshees, biting sleet, blinding snow. If you’re serious about hunting mature whitetails, you’ll see all of this and more. And I don’t care what kind of tough guy or gal you are, it’s not always fun.

Hunting mature whitetails is a challenge. It’s a marathon. It’s a struggle.

But if you’re serious about it, you need to accept that challenge. You need to run that race. You need live through that struggle. One step at a time, one hurdle after another, you need to keep at it. Even when you don’t have the strength, you need to keep … on…grinding.

Keep On Grinding

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In that moment mentioned above, I had reached a low point. An assumed slam dunk had instead turned into a blocked shot, a steal and a score on the other end. I had reached the end of my rope. But I decided then, in that next moment, that I would not fail. I could not fail. I would hold on. I would keep at it. I would keep on grinding.

For if anyone, me or you, is to succeed in this crazy game we call hunting mature whitetails, we will need to grind it out.

We will need to live through those days on stand where nothing shows. We’ll need to learn from those hunts when our plans falls apart. We’ll need to cope with the jealously we try so hard to mask when our friends score on the kind of bucks we dream of. We’ll need to tough it out through the early mornings, the long days, the miserable weather, and the mental minefield that is a whitetail season.

The only sure thing about hunting mature whitetails is that we’ll encounter our fair share of failures. But this reality then begs the question, will you rise up when you fail?

When the going gets tough. When your hope is fading. When you’re just fed up, disgusted, and depressed with this damn deer hunting obsession. Will you throw in the towel? Will you give in to your doubts?

Or … will you rise?

I hope and I pray that you will. I hope that in those toughest of times, you will take a moment, breathe in that crisp fresh air, and appreciate your opportunity. You have an opportunity to rise up. And you will. You will keep at it. You will keep on grinding.

When you reach the end of your rope, you just tie that knot, and hold on.

If I can do it, so can you.