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How to enjoy the journey???
I just spent a great 5-6 days in Kansas. I spent two days checking deer stands and setting up a few new ones. I am very excited about bow season this fall.
Then, I hunted turkeys nearly all day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I left after the morning hunt on Thursday.
It was a great hunt. I was in cool place and had fun chasing turkeys. I saw many flocks. I had jakes pushing around my DSD jake. I had 4 birds nearly attach me with a Heads Up decoy. I had two big toms gobble a hundred time while coming in from several hundred yards away.
But, I shot at two turkeys and missed them.
The trip feels like a bit like a failure. I know I should be happy and delight in the fun that I had. But...
So, how do you just enjoy the journey? How do you keep from defining the trip by whether you tag out?
For me, the journey is cool, but the end game is success. I've had some great hunts that didn't result in an an animal but I'm not getting up early each day for nothing. I don't dwell on a tag not punched, but that drive or flight home can sting. Less if the hunt was just plain boring or non eventfull due to lack of game, more on missed or bad shots.
Mad, I used to be just like you. I'd define my enjoyment of the trip by how big of buck I came home with or how many turkeys, etc. An unfilled tag felt like a failure. I think what changed that outlook for me was honestly taking our kids out hunting. Seeing through their eyes all the amazing things mother nature shares with us as bowhunters every time we are in the woods. All the little things I had been overlooking in my pursuit of horns or hooks were things they kept pointing out to me. It really made me take a step back and reevaluate my priorities and get them in order. The past of couple of years I have enjoyed myself in the woods more than ever and success has been redefined as the experience, rather than the harvest.
I'm in the same boat as you are. I've missed more animals than I've tagged. One time I even missed 5 turkeys within 15 minutes. I panicked because I had too many birds to choose from, normally an awesome problem to have. I've gone to Colorado to hunt elk 6 times and I've only seen elk on 2 of the trips. Most of the time for me I consider a successful trip if I see animals or not.
If I actually fill my tag that is a bonus. But it is frustrating to be such an avid hunter but mostly get pictures of sunrises/sunsets and scenery then I do animals.
I shut it down when I shot under a nice tom last year. Really I just ended the day's hunt since our season structures only allow for a couple days of hunting if you don't have extra vacation from work.
If everything was easy and everyone went home with trophies all the time they would call it "The mentality of 21st Century America" instead of hunting. ;^)
Realistically, issues like this make a lot of us work harder or at least stop and think what we could do better. It makes things all the sweeter when we connect after putting in the effort. Some guys just plain get it done at every chance they have. Some are lucky, but some are just good and work harder than everyone else.
Probably not a good answer to your question, but I think you will come to enjoy the memories on down the road when the sting wears a bit.
Journey - I don't get it...?
Hey, time away from work, spent doing what you love,not much better than that. The only sting I would have is if I crippled a bird off with no recovery. Sounds like a great time, if you need to tag out break out the shotgun. I went to strictly bow hunting turkeys a few years ago because it made me work harder and I was able to spend more time out hunting instead of shooting. I'm jealous that you had birds on your HUD. That would have made my trip! Most important for me is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Good luck in the fall on those bucks!
Mad-Angler....Really great post and I'm glad you asked. Many guys have been where you are. I went through this for a few years. I've shot at and missed way more animals be it elk, deer or turkey then I care to admit. For every possible reason I screwed things up once the moment of truth came. It should be noted, it was never for lack of effort during the hunt or during the offseason. I put in tons of time on the range, in the gym and scouting on the computer and in person. I just kept coming home empty handed. after a few years of doing that I started to realize, if I NEEDED to kill something then I would have quite a long time ago and went back to my rifle. Why am I still doing this?? I realized I loved the challenge and I wasn't concerned what others thought about me or my success rate. I really did just enjoy being out and the challenge that a bow in your hands brings. If you need to kill to be successful, you should hunt with a gun. I'm in it for the challenge and that is what I enjoy. Just being in the woods and being close to the animals is what trips my trigger. Don't get me wrong, I'm ruined for a bit after a miss but by the time I'm home....its all good and I can't wait to get out for redemption. Hope you can get back to what brought you to bowhunting in the first place soon. Good luck with the rest of the season!!
Don't worry, Mad...Bernie will take one of the toms TBM drove to Nebraska to shoot, and give it to you....
Hey, I hunted this morning and didn't fill a tag, though passed on some easy jakes. Also found where a pop-up blind had been vandalized and a trail camera stolen.
Catching a 4# smallmouth on a fly rod later in the morning helped, though...
It can be discouraging. And turkeys can be tough to hit!
I can kill a big bugling bull elk ice cold veins, but miss a little turkey multiple times.
Keep working at it! Failure makes the success even sweeter
Only one thing wrong with your hunt Mad. You don't get to eat any turkey breast. Otherwise, it was a great trip !
Thats hunting! Yes we all want to be successful, but bow hunting is a challenge and each of us try our best to be successful. As Glen StCharles put it getting the shot is the cream. And I agree, if I never missed, I would quite tomorrow as the challenge would be gone. Your hits when they come will be all that much more enjoyable and memorable. After 50 plus years of bow hunting I know a little about missing! Its the hunt that matters. Yes the journey is important, and the misses are part of it. it keeps you humble and practicing! Enjoy it all!
Like everything else in life. Perspective
For me, hunting has always been about hunting, not necessarily killing. Of course, it helps if you kill on regular basis. ;-)
Anyone who has hunted for some time understands both the journey and the satisfaction of filling a tag. But, part of the journey for me includes the eventual enjoyment of some fine tablefare....so yeah I always like to tag out. For me it has nothing to do with bragging rights, antlers, etc. On the other hand, if I wanted to just observe nature I would drift a river armed only with a lunch and couple of cold beers...
Postscript to my post : I don't want too many of those armed excursions strung together, if you know what I mean......they do not contribute to a full freezer.
Mad, a quote from Fred Bear a hunt based only on trophies falls short of what the ultimate goal should be. Forrest
"One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted." - Jose Ortega y Gasset in Meditations on Hunting.