With each passing year, something continues to happen more and more with my pursuit of whitetails; it matters less.
Now I don’t mean that in the sense that deer don’t control my mind any less; I mean it in the sense that the urgency which surrounds deer hunting has changed and selfish motivations to succeed shrink more and more with each passing year. Hunters today are bombarded from every angle on what kind or level of deer they should pursue…how they should pursue and what they should use while doing the pursuit.
It’s all RUBBISH (the polite way of putting it).
The whole lot of the hunting industry is seemingly getting infected by the mindset of hunters needing the approval/recognition by others OR how about the ignorant fools selling themselves to companies solely for discounts or monetary reasons; their opinions are hollow yet influence the entire hunting community dumb enough to consume it.
So, perhaps what I mean isn’t that hunting means less to me, but that there is simply less factors or boxes I feel I must check in my pursuit to deem it a success. My success is achieved solely by whether I deem an occurrence as such; not by the standards of the age or score of the harvest, or even if there was a harvest at all. For me personally it has become more about the memories made in the pursuit of specific bucks, the innumerable moments which when added together still don't guarantee you even get a chance let alone a successful one if you do.
When I squeeze my release any fall anymore it is with zero care in the world for whether someone else would. If in the moment I would deem the harvest of that animal a success to my goals and standards then I let it fly; if it is a two year old or eight year old - a 180 incher or a 100 incher it makes no difference. If before you make that decision you wonder what another person or group might think when they see the harvest photos of it - YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS. If you feel it necessary to place "Not my biggest but..." at the beginning of your texts to friends or posts sharing on social media your celebration YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS.
I promise one thing, when you begin to care less about outside inputs for your decisions, you will begin to enjoy it all more!
This fall I dare everyone to stop hunting with any thoughts other than their own. I know it might sound obvious, and many will pretend they already do this - however for most that is a lie. Refuse to let any expectation or thought process of another sway you into passing or shooting any animal - so long as legal and ethical, let only YOU make the call!
When presented with a chance this fall, if you'd be happy wait for the first ethical shot and SEND IT!
God bless, and good luck out there!