By Mark Kenyon
Every summer, deer hunters across the country start getting the itch. We can feel it deep down in our bones and all the way out to our finger tips – kinda like sitting in one of those full body vibrating massage chairs – but inside our minds. Hunting season is approaching. And with that glorious light at the end of tunnel, we start telling ourselves stories, little white lies, about what we’re going to do this year leading up to opening day.
We’ll be better. We’ll work harder. We’ll follow through on that “thing.” We’ll get the big one. This will be the year.
But will it? Really?
I’m not so sure.
Here are 5 of those summer lies that a whole lot of us deer hunters are guilty of telling ourselves.
(And when you make it to the end, I’ve got a little secret to share about all this…)
1) I’m going to shoot my bow earlier and more often this summer: This is the year, right? With the warm weather of early spring and summer arriving, hunters grab their bows out of storage and head to the backyard with high hopes and big plans. “This is year I’m going practice three or four or seven times a week. All the way from May through October!” Great idea. But what ends up happening for most of us? After a few practice sessions in May, the bow gets set aside in the garage and ends up forgotten while bass fishing and barbecues and beach days get all the attention. In the middle of July the bow is pulled back out, we swear to be better, but late August arrives before we know it, and now our bow has cobwebs on the cams. “Next year, I’m going to shoot more…”
2) I’m going to kill the giant buck I have on trailcam: Trail cameras are out and soaking in July and when we check that first SD card, we nearly crap our pants. A heavy antlered twelve pointer with flyers off both G2’s! “This is the buck I’m going to kill this year!” Pictures keep piling up through the summer and anticipation is running high, but when September arrives, the bottom falls out of the plan. Flyer Phil has disappeared, and unbeknownst to many, that’s because he’s relocated to his fall range a mile or so away. For most hunters, that’s it. The summer dream fades. Few if any are willing to pick up the search again in September, glassing crop fields in the surrounding area until they find him again. Even fewer are willing to knock on doors all around that new area, doing anything they possibly can to get a crack at Phil in his new core range. “Next year I’ll kill a giant …”
3) I’m going to check my trail cameras less: We all know this, be honest. We shouldn’t check our trail cameras so often. We know it spooks deer, we know it’s educating our local bucks, we know it’s hurting our chances of getting future pics and in-field encounters. But damnit, it’s just so much fun to check those cameras! “Just this one time, I’ll check them early. I’ll let it soak longer next time…”
4) I’m going to hang those extra tree stands: Every year there’s a few of those spots that you know you need to finally hang a tree stand. They’ve been in the back of your mind for a couple seasons, and this year you’re going to get them hung. But shoot, you’ve got to get the kids to soccer and then the lawn has to be mowed of course. And Saturday mornings, come on, that’s the only chance you get to sleep in, right? Everyone deserves a break once in awhile. “Next week, I’ll do it next week.” And then it’s October 1st. “Next year, I’ll do it next year.”
5.) I’m going to get a new property to hunt: You can never have enough properties to hunt, right? If you don’t own ground, you just never know when you might lose your lease or lose permission on that farm down the road. We know it’s good to have more access and this year we’re going to get it. Next month, you’re going to finally do some door knocking. But next month arrives and you’ve got a big project at work that’s got you stressed in the evenings, you don’t need anymore stress, screw the door knocking, it can wait til next month. Now it’s August and there’s the vacation rental on the lake for a week, and then you’ve got to deal with cleaning your garage when you get back, and then you’ve got to visit the mother-in-law the next weekend, and then there’s that project recap you need to present. “The back 40 will be fine for this year, I’ll door knock next year, I’ll definitely have more time then …”
Any of this ring true?
Obviously, we’re not all guilty of all of these every year. But don’t BS me. I know you’ve been guilty of a few. We all are. The vast majority of us know what we should and can be doing to better prepare ourselves for the upcoming deer hunting season. We obsess about this stuff all year round, it’s just a matter of getting the work done. But inevitably, many of our best laid plans get pushed to the side. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes simply because we got lazy. It’s easy to do.
But here’s the secret. The real kicker. These don’t have to be lies. These can be declarations and clear steps towards a better hunting season than ever.
This year I want you to take one step towards changing these lies into reality. I’m sure you’ve got a list of projects or goals for this summer leading up to deer season. And as we go through the next couple months, you’re going to hear that little voice in the back of your head reminding you that some of those goals are slipping away, getting lost in the clutter and the chaos of daily life. But this year, don’t silence that voice by focusing on something else. Give that voice the attention it deserves and make it a priority to at least get one of those projects done. Wake up super early on a Saturday and make it happen. Suck it up, shake off the nerves and do something you’re not comfortable with. Be patient when needed, and tenacious when necessary. Do the extra work. Make the extra time.
You and I talk a big game about how much we love deer hunting and how much we put into it, but now we’ve got to follow through. We’ve got to do the work. We’ve got to execute.
Takes these lies and work them into truth.