Advice on hunting
The purpose of this article is to get you to think, not about what you can change, but what will you do with today and tomorrow? How will you live the rest of your life? Consider what is important to you and pursue that, Chase Your Mountain.
Stop caring about what others think
I don’t like to admit it, but I was heavily influenced by the TV Hunting Culture the last couple of decades. It almost feels like a dirty sin that I need a cleansing of, and no doubt it caused me to burn out on hunting altogether for a period of time. But why? Why do we feel like we have to kill certain animals to be accepted by our peers? Better yet – Who cares!
Do you want to kill only mature bucks, or do you just want to provide food for the family? That is up to you, and only you. Don’t hunt to please others, and please don’t miss out on opportunities to be happy just because others might look down on you. Would you hunt if no one was watching, if there were no pictures to post on Instagram? I am betting you said yes, so did I – now let’s forget about what others think.
Kill More, Learn More
When beginning your journey as a hunter there are real benefits to not killing every deer that walk by your treestand. If you pass on younger deer and watch them in their habitat you can learn a great deal more than if you kill everyone that walks by. Yet if you are continually passing on deer, and never killing one you are missing out on gaining experience.
If you really want to shoot big deer, then you better get some practice at shooting deer- period! Once the big one walks by you need to act like you have been there before, and have a game plan on how the shot sequence should take place. You only get this by practice, and practice makes perfect.
Also, the experience you gain from butchering is second to none. If you are not that interested in butchering your own meat right now I am willing to bet that you will be one day. If you are killing more than 1-2 deer per year, you have an extremely high butcher bill! Learn while you are young, and take advantage of those hunting mentors around you to gain the experience you need for the future.
Find a mentor
I was fortunate to grow up in a family where almost every single male was experienced hunters. I am not just talking about guys that liked to go and hunt every once in awhile, I am talking about the real deal – these men knew what they were doing. I will never measure up to any of the men in my family when it comes to hunting, and especially butchering, but have someone to learn from really helped the maturation process.
Beyond someone helping you get started I believe that you need to find someone that is where you want to be as a hunter. Find that person that is doing what you want to be doing and do what you can to become close to that person. If getting close to that person is not an option, read the books they write, watch the shows they produce – consume everything you can get your hands on and emulate that.
Go West – work with an outfitter
I’ll never regret the fact I joined the USMC. I’ll also never regret the experiences and friendships that came from it, but if I could do one thing in life I would like to have experienced working for an Outfitter. As a guy that hunts whitetails, and lives in the South, I dream of living in the Rocky Mountains and chasing elk throughout the fall.
If you have a chance to do this, you can really gain some life experience your peers will not have. Learn the craft, learn to be self-sufficient, learn to deal with people and serve them even when it’s hard to. Go when you are young when your ambition is high and back is strong.
Put in for preference points
I’ll keep this short. If you are not putting in for preference points in states that you want to hunt – stop making excuses and just do it. This is one of my biggest regrets, and embarrassments because I had good instruction to do this!
Invest in someone else
The life you have been given is much bigger than you, it’s bigger than me. Why not invest in someone else? Do you know of someone else that is just getting started, or that would like to be where you are? Now is a good time to pass it on and help someone out. Whether that is giving them a place to hunt, or teaching them a skill, it really feels good to help others.
How about you – Is there anything you would like to tell a younger version of you? Or maybe you’d like to share something with a younger hunter. Comment below or start the conversation on Twitter @Chasthemtn