Editors Blog

Become a Student of the Whitetail

It’s easy to get distracted by our desire for instant gratification these days. We not only want to fill our tags, we want to do it now. Perhaps that’s why we focus on the woeful while glossing over the wondrous when we check in at the end of a day’s hunt.

Gauge your hunts by the enjoyment you derive from merely spending time afield, and you’ll find yourself much happier with the end result. (photo by GettyImages.com)

It wasn’t that long ago when the whitetail bowhunting season was considered nothing more than a novelty among American sportsmen. I vividly recall the days when my older brothers sent cedar arrows into piled-up haybales in preparation for the September opener. They were deemed “ready” when they could consistently hit a paper plate at 15 yards. This was during the 1970s, mind you, and no one rarely, if ever, got that close to a deer when the season rolled around.

Instead of success stories involving dead deer, they came home with reports such as, “I saw one in the distance while on the way to my stand.” Or, “There were fresh tracks in the muddy cornfield!”

Each report oozed positive vibes. There was always reason to hope for tomorrow and, more importantly, to relish in the small things they saw along the way.

My goodness, have times changed. How many times do you recall someone getting excited about merely seeing a deer track in the mud? Today’s reports are too often focussed on the disappointment of not “killing something.”

I’m not pointing fingers, because we all do it. After spending months preparing for the season — scouting hunting spots, prepping treestand sites, shooting our recurves, compounds and crossbows — 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. So much to discover. 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 every one of your hunts.

 

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Pursuit Channel Saturday Night Deer Camp

Each Saturday, Deer & Deer Hunting TV kicks off Deer Camp at 10:00 p.m. EST, followed by Destination Whitetail at 10:30 p.m. EST, Land of Whitetail at 11:00pm.m EST and Mossy Oak GameKeepers at 11:30 p.m. EST. 

Tune in to Pursuit Channel on:

  • Dish Network Channel 393
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  • www.pursuituptv.com