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Willing to Move when Bowhunting
Nobody likes to ponder what might have been, but looking back you may realize that you’ve wasted two whitetail seasons trying to force a particular treestand to work in your favor. During that time, you might of had a couple of close calls with two of the largest bucks you’ve ever seen. Ironically, on both occasions the final outcome hinged on one thing….locality. A few steps here, or a couple of yards there, and you likely would have loosed an arrow instead of watching each buck walk out of your life forever.
Unfortunately, you are not alone in your regret. Each year, droves of optimistic bowhunters spend their season in a treestand that is “almost” good enough; certain that the spot simply needs a little more time to produce an opportunity at a shooter buck. However, the harsh reality is they couldn’t be more wrong.
Instead of sitting in your treestand, lethargically waiting on fate, or lady luck to step in and turn things around, you needed to get up, literally, and make your own luck. Yet, while that may be sound advice in its own right, for many bowhunters, the willingness to move can often be the toughest challenge faced in the whitetail woods. With that thought in mind, let’s take a closer look at the reasons why and what can be done to combat this all too common bowhunting dilemma.
Certainly, when it comes to the reasons why bowhunters tend to stay in one particular treestand, when they know we should move....there are many. However, most of these reasons typically fall under one of three categories; Pride, Effort, or Uncertainty. All of us have fallen victim to of these traps at least once. And, while all were equally harmful in their own way, perhaps the very first one deer hunters struggle with was pride.
You see, pride can be a double edge sword. For instance, taking satisfaction in every facet of your pre-season preparation is a good thing which will only make you a better deer hunter. However, arrogantly thinking that you’ve somehow managed to learn all there is to know about bowhunting whitetails, will only stifle your ability to learn and grow.
For example, years ago one hunter hated the thought of moving a treestand. To him it was a sign of defeat. It was like admitting that he was wrong, not only to himself, but to all of his deer hunting buddies. He didn’t want to do that because, in his mind, he wanted to be the guy who knew what he was doing. So instead of accepting the fact that perhaps his treestand wasn’t in the right spot, he quickly pointed his finger toward any number of things for his lack of success. Some of his scapegoats included lousy weather conditions, intruding bowhunters, a partner’s carelessness with scent control, and hunting equipment failure.
Thankfully, after maturing a great deal, he realized that moving a treestand location was actually a blessing in disguise. Not the admission of failure you once thought it was. You see, not only does moving to a new location bring about the opportunity for something better, it also reveals those areas that you don’t have to waist time or effort on again….with little to show for it. Eliminate enough bad treestands, and sooner or later the only ones left will be the good ones.
Anyway, keep in mind that admitting that a stand site isn’t working simply demonstrates that you know enough about this game to realize when you should change strategies and move on. To do that takes a higher level of thinking. Anyone can sit in a tree like a vulture and wait, and wait….and wait. However, it takes a certain set of skills to understand and adapt to the ever changing conditions we all face in the whitetail woods. Don’t let your pride get in the way of obtaining those skills.
Some like to think that they are nowhere near “past their prime”. However, you eventually get to the point in life where you can sense middle-age sneaking up on you. Knowing this harsh fact has forced many deer hunters to focus on hunting fitness even more these days. Chasing whitetails takes a lot of physical effort. Especially in hill-country, where relocating treestands can be a back-breaking chore. One you will approach with apathy if you’re overweight, and out of shape. One deer hunter learned the value of this lesson and how it can directly influence one’s success many years ago after returning from his honeymoon just prior to deer hunting season.
Getting in shape for his summer wedding paid big dividends when deer hunting season rolled around that fall. He quickly found that not only was he willing to go anywhere in his pursuit of whitetail bucks, but because of his conditioning, he was able to go anywhere. If an area wasn’t working out, he didn’t hesitate to pack up and move on; giving the effort involved little more than a fleeting thought. Consequently, he always seemed to stay one step ahead of the deer.
In contrast, he has also spent some time on the other end of the fitness spectrum. There were deer hunting seasons when he was carrying a few extra pounds and it proved to be tougher than usual. Sure, he had plenty of zest coming out of the gate, but it didn’t take long for him to run out of steam. As a result, he spent plenty of days sitting in an unproductive treestand, like a slug, trying to convince himself that things were going to magically turn around. Honestly, he just didn’t feel like moving. So, he conjured up any excuse he could think of not to move.
Clearly, being mobile and moving as often as the circumstances dictate demands a good deal of effort. If you’re physically unable, or mentally unprepared to meet such a requirement, you will definitely find any reason not to move, just as this deer hunter did.
Most deer hunters have found that when success becomes routine, it’s easy to get complacent. You see, while success may be the desired outcome, it can also have a direct affect on your knowledge regarding deer activity “outside” your primary hunting spot. In other words, it can actually bring about a degree of uncertainty on the subject.