There actually is a bright side to an unsuccessful hunt, you just need perspective.
There are many elements that contribute to making a hunt successful, and sometimes they don’t all perfectly align.
Coming home empty handed doesn’t always signify an unsuccessful trip. There are many reasons that an unfulfilled permit or an empty bag can be considered a successful hunt. Here are a few.
Familiarization with the Land
Any time spent in an area you have interest hunting in is time well spent. Getting to know the area where your target lives and grazes provides information that will be helpful in the seasons to come, including:
- Finding the best areas that provide adequate cover.
- Learning where the hills roll in your favor to give you the best vantage points.
- Exploring where the best area to begin building your tree stand for next year is.
- Knowing where the grass grows tall.
- Finding the creeks that bring in big game.
- Knowing which areas leave you overly exposed.
Animal Migration and Behavior
Being in the field is a priceless experience to add to your tool kit, whether or not you bring home your prize. Trail cams — when placed correctly and in the ideal setting — will only provide so much information about your target. Being in the areas that game inhabit gives you a better sense of their routines, eating habits and daily migration patterns. Knowing where they go for water and food will enable you to relocate yourself and your post for the next season.
If you hunt for different varieties of game, be on the lookout for other nests and animal behaviors. You might get lucky and find next year’s duck blind while on this year’s elk tag.
Friends and Family
Even if you don’t fulfill your tag, the quality time spent with your hunting partner makes it all worthwhile. The camaraderie experienced in planning and executing a hunting trip is unlike any other. When you have another person as a resource, you also cover more ground and explore more area together, thus expanding your hunting grounds.
Remember to bring two-way radios to stay in contact with your crew. They can help convey information in a more timely manner, and enable you and your hunting partner to know what the target is doing after they have left your line of sight.
Daily life can be very busy. Cherish the amount of quality time that you get to spend with your hunting buddy while out in the field that wouldn’t be available any other time.
Exercise and Preparation
If hunting season is the only conditioning you get throughout the year, use your time in the field to your advantage. Even if you come home empty-handed, hunting allows you get to know your body better and what it is capable of. If you are exhausted at the end of the day, it may be a sign that you need to better prepare for the next season.
And when you do do tag that trophy, you don’t want to find yourself unable to bring it back home.