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What Can We Learn When Hunts Go Wrong?

Photos by Troy Rodakowski

Hunting woes, misses, and mishaps happens, but it’s what we learn from them that matters.

I just returned from a hunt that really special and very awesome. Actually, it was fantastic and I didn’t even bag a deer.

In fact, I totally missed one of the biggest bucks of my life and I easily could have walked away with my tail between my legs, so to speak. But there was so much more that made this hunt great.

Bagging that buck wasn’t in the cards or meant to be, but I did learn from the experience. Everyone should be able to get something out of a mishap; here’s what I got out of mine.

Learning Experiences

Every trip to the hunting field is a learning experience no matter the success. Whether or not you’re bringing home the bacon does not always necessarily mean the entire trip was  or wasn’t positive.

Quite often we are outsmarted by our quarry and usually learn from our mistakes. It’s kind of like going to school. We don’t like to fail, nor do we like homework and tests, but that’s what we are dealing with when hunts take a turn for the worse.


The weather can change quickly and put a damper on our fun. Hunting adventures can come to a screeching halt (especially if the weather does not cooperate). Again, we learn to adapt to the elements, ride out the storm and make the most of our time outdoors. This can be very tough, but it teaches us to be prepared even when we are not.

Broken Bones & Bruised Egos

When I was younger a good friend and I went hunting with his father. His father ended up breaking his leg very badly in the bottom of a draw when crossing a log. We quickly found ourselves splinting and packing him out of the drainage and hauling him to the ER.

The doctor quickly came in and complimented us on our first aid. “This is one of the best splint jobs I have ever seen,” he said. Yes, that put a damper on our trip. However, we did return to fill both our tags a few days later.

Falls from stumps, rocks or other elevated locations are just a few of the many things that can go wrong in the outdoors.

I have heard of people accidentally falling from treestands, burning down tents, and wrecking camp trailers. Calling for a Life flight choppers, an ambulance or search and rescue can make for some stressful times. These experiences can not only be hard on the pocket book but the ego as well.

Experiencing these hardships can help better prepare you for future incidents, and hopefully keep you safer and better fit for what life as a hunter throws at you.

Lessons Learned

Old Hunters Cabin Yukon Terrritory

We have all gone through some very tough experiences and survived tough times in the outdoors. All of these things have made us not only tougher people but better outdoors men and women. I have personally walked away from trips where everything went wrong. Yes, it was very frustrating. But, despite the tough memories and lessons we keep coming back for more.

Really, it is safe to say that despite things not always working out we can always find a way to “salvage” or learn from a trip into nature.


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What Can We Learn When Hunts Go Wrong?