Fresh tracks everywhere and no game, high aspirations and an empty game bag, scouting trips turned into hopeful preparation and then into long mornings staring at an empty sky. Sound familiar? Should have been here yesterday, it’s almost a platitude of the outdoors. The fish were ON this Saturday, couldn’t buy a bite on Sunday doing the same thing. The wind was right on Wed. and quick limits for the blind, only fired two shots on Thursday.
Timing, or convergence if you are a McManus fan, plays a big part in hunting. Asked if there are deer over on that hillside I recently replied “there sure are sometimes.” This is the very center of why hunting is at once frustrating and addicting. You can improve your odds by hunting better land or by hunting better, paying attention to the wind, noise, and animal patterns but still get totally skunked. Or you can pull up on your first morning of elk hunting and shoot a monster bull! You can have the geese patterned on a field all week and come Saturday morning they migrated and few or no birds even take a look. Or maybe the farmer two miles over just grained his animals in the field and the birds caught on.
There are two things that tend to overwhelm timing. They aren’t secret or sacred but they can be hard to accomplish. The two things are: Time and Belief.
Time is the natural enemy of low odds. If you have 10% chance of success on any given day then spending over 5 days in the woods evens the odds! Spending 10 days in the woods should really stack the odds. The trick is that on the eighth day you still only have 10% chance of making it happen today. Hunters who consistently bag game, particularly trophy game, STACK UP THE DAYS. Many hunt in multiple seasons and even multiple states when possible to take advantage of every chance.
The other thing that is easy to fall victim to is letting your belief in the possibility of success falter. When belief falters you either get sloppy or quit hunting entirely. Sloppiness can take the form of inattention or not putting in the full effort. Try to look at each individual hunt as your best opportunity yet. It can help to tune up the attitude needed for success.
Success in big game hunting is a matter of minutes or seconds. The trick is to still be out there and hunting when your minute arrives!