Editors Blog

Whitetail Wisdom: Did You See Anything?


Whitetail Wisdom blog post by Dan Schmidt. It’s super easy to get distracted by our desire for instant gratification. We not only want to fill our tags, we want to do it NOW. Perhaps that’s why we gloss over the wondrous when we check in at the end of a day’s hunt.

Read the above headline one more time. How many times has someone asked you that question during hunting season? And how many times have you answered it the same old way: “Nothing.” Or, “A squirrel.” Or maybe, “Ah, just a couple of does.”

Inwardly, we’re hoping for that day when we get to report something of substance. “I saw a huge buck! He was coming in from the (enter direction here), and stopped just outside of my shooting lane. Man … just two more steps and I would have had him!”

We all do it. After spending months preparing for the season — scouting hunting spots, prepping treestand sites, shooting our bows and guns — we’re so amped up that visions of success cloud our subconscious. It becomes so top-of-mind that we miss the subtle things.

Here’s a suggestion: The next time you’re on stand make some mental notes of everything that’s going on around you. I can’t guarantee you will find it as exhilarating as I do, but I bet you just might come away with a new appreciation of the natural world.

Study that fox squirrel. Observe how he holds that shag bark hickory nut in his front paws. Notice how he systematically rocks it side to side while looking for the weakest part of the shell. Marvel at how he stops periodically and goes stone still when he hears another sound on the forest floor below his perch.

Enjoy watching those crows do their field work. Next to geese honking overhead, the crow’s call is an autumn orchestra that includes the rhythmic sounds of crickets in the evening and shimmering aspen leaves on a brisk morning.

There’s so much more to see. Such as the shafts of sunlight piercing through a pine thicket’s canopy, or the flittering antics of blue jays, dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees and downy woodpeckers.

Study the deep coulees, moss-covered surface boulders and dilapidated homemade treestands from bygone deer seasons.

No matter how small or relatively insignificant, every woodland sight has a purpose and a story. Marvel at each and every one of them. They’ll add a colorful backstory to each one of your hunts.



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