By Kevin Reese
For two months I watched and for two months they showed up. I can’t say I would have set my watch to them but their adherence to a schedule, as wild animals go, was pretty impressive. I cataloged hours of video footage as they rolled in on a string, one after the other, as they filed in like a school lunch line, one, two, three... nine, ten, eleven - all here! Yes, I watched eleven does show up one day after another, well weekends anyway, but if they did that on Saturdays and Sundays, one could reason they were doing it Monday through Friday as well, right?
The alarm clocked delivered its unruly whine precisely at 4 a.m. and I slithered out of bed, across the bedroom and living room floors and managed to pull myself to my feet when I reached the bathroom sink — even on the first day of deer season, 4 a.m. comes way too early for me!
I followed the usual routine of controlling my scent throughout the standard hygiene process and threw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. I had a wonderful breakfast with my fellow hunters, albeit, even too early to eat as far as I was concerned but we were on a schedule!
We pulled out like a caravan in the starlit Texas night and headed for our honey hole. We pulled in with plenty of time to get into our stands; I sprayed the breakfast scent off and pulled on my scent-free hunting clothes. I checked my gear, grabbed my bow, flashlight, knife and trusty ThermaCELL and headed towards my favorite spot.
I slipped into my heavily concealed ground blind, setup my video camera, nocked an arrow and did everything else a bowhunter does to get ready - the list, at times, reads like we’re preparing a plane for takeoff!
I was as ready as I’ll ever get. Checking the watch, I noticed I still had over an hour before daylight. As I sat in my blind and pondered the natural drum roll of acorns pelting the roof, I started “gambling” with myself, guessing what time I’d have my first deer of the season on the ground.
Finally, darkness began to recede. That moment between darkness and Mother Nature’s alarm clock means “Go Time” in Bowhunter-ese! Checking my watch, the seconds were encroaching on that special time where the “train typically pulls into the station.” I waited a bit longer.
I checked my watch again, twenty minutes swept by quickly. “Those does are fashionably late! Ugggh!” By 10 a.m. my brain had caught up with reality. Those does weren’t late at all, they were absent! I scratched my head - an early warning sign that I was both frustrated and perplexed. I was faced with a dilemma that scores of bowhunters encounter and many never overcome.
How do I deal with hunting? A better question is, “How do I deal with adversity in hunting?” I don’t have a magical elixir that affords me the luxury of taking animals every time my happy butt meets a stand. I don’t have any tips that will blow your mind. What I do have is a formula I think works!
Fellow outdoor writer, Jim Zumbo, once told me you need three T’s to succeed in the outdoor industry, Time, Tenacity and Talent. I’ve applied that lesson to many facets of my life, hunting included. You see, I meet hunting head-on with time and the tenacity I was blessed with, and then force talent into the mix; Lord knows I wasn’t born with it!
Sure there is a level of experience, strategy, common sense and even some guesswork involved but none of those would reach their full potential without those three T’s; you have to be willing to invest the TIME it takes to put an animal on the ground; TENACITY follows closely behind — have a never-give-up attitude; lastly, you must possess TALENT — at least some minute pocket of ability to draw a bow and consistently hit a grapefruit at 20 yards or more; talent is either God given or it isn’t. Don’t lose hope. If God didn’t give it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. I believe many people can “purchase” it through time and tenacity before hunting, in other words, year-round practice. The fact remains, however, the three T’s exist even in preparation.
Hunt hard, hunt often.
Kevin may be reached for questions, comments and suggestions at email@example.com.