Oh, what a season it’s been! I mean really, as I am about to reach the end of my fifth month of bowhunting from September of 2020 to late January 2021, there is no question that my current ongoing bowhunting season has been and continues to be THE greatest bowhunting season of my life!
Can you truly grasp what I am telling you here? The greatest bowhunting season of my life after nearly 70 years of pursuing game with my bow and arrow, most of which qualify as off the charts wonderful, thrilling, exciting as can be, and this one is the best ever?
Glory glory hallelujah sayeth I!
Let us review to my way of thinking the magical ingredients that identify just what it takes to be a great hunting season, at least for me, shall we.
I think the most important element is quality and quantity of time afield.
What determines quality time afield in my estimation would be the always stimulating and certainly hard earned close range critter encounters and the efforts and strategies that produce such encounters.
Equal to the up close and personal encounters with wildlife would be the actual number of such magical moments.
On both counts, after a lifetime of trial, error, missteps and often painful lessons learned, I consider each and every precious encounter a direct result of increased knowledge of the critters based on the increased stealth and predator consciousness we learn after much time dedicated to our reasoning predator capabilities.
Boy, that was a mouthful, but a very accurate assessment I do believe.
There is no question that my intimate understanding of animal habits and habitat have taught me much about where, when and how I setup my ambush sites for each morning and afternoon hunt.
Slowing down a little bit more each year, I have come to realize that animal sightings will increase not based on how much ground we cover, but rather how observant we are on less, better ground covered.
Sneaking around the deerwoods slow, quiet, cautious, ultra-alert and stealthy is really the only way to see a deer before they see us. Such increased observations and encounters better prepare us to choose deadlier ambush setups, and from deadlier ambush setups come the rewards of more and better critter understanding, which when applied to our predator desires can oftentimes result in more backstraps.
Is there really any better barometer for a happier hunting outcome?
Okay, so now we have accumulated a vast array of wildlife education, and though the ultimate happiness is often expressed as kill or no kill, I couldn’t disagree more, for in fact a good kill is the ultimate fruition of all that dedication to the pursuit, knowledge, understanding, connection and reverence for the amazing capabilities of the critters we hunt.
Each year since the roaring 50s I have accumulated much such information and improved tactics, so surely this season has been by far the best on all those counts.
But ultimately, as a bowhunter, all that hunter knowledge is worthless if we fail to aim small and miss small when we finally deliver our moment of truth mystical flight of our arrow into that deadliest of anatomical kill locations.
Which brings us to the final piece of my best hunting season ever, The Arrow!
I’ve been hopelessly addicted to the mystical flight of the arrow from a very young age, and thank God, that archery/bowhunting love affair has only increased at a breakneck pace every year since.
It could be the natural, instinctual survival mechanism to escape the relentless skull pounding bombardment of my beloved sledgehammer guitar music that the Samurai oneness with my arrow provides, but no matter the impetus, I shoot my Mathews bow each and every day of my life and the results of such repetitious dedication pays off rather nicely on the hunt.
Though luck is the ultimate big daddy of every hunt, all these various ingredients are all critical to the success of our backstrap dreams, and the failure or success of our hard earned moment of truth will be determined by The Arrow!
Of course, the same holds true for our firearm hunts as well, so it is always that instant triggertime moment when we unleash our deadly projectile that will make or break our happy meter.
For me, whether at the 3D range, stump shooting, or after game, every arrow is The Arrow! I drill that defined muscle memory shot sequence deep into my inner psyche so that each shot literally has of life of its own, ultimately subconsciously out of body.
So tonight, I head back to a special treestand or groundblind, bow and arrow in hand, cocked, locked and oh so ready to rock, doc!
I have big plans for The Arrow! I hope you do too!