Are you forgetting about these four essential hunting skills?
As hunters, we often think of ourselves first and foremost as marksmen, trackers, or butchers.
But while those skills are all important aspects of being a good hunter, they are also not all there is to it. A beginning hunter may spend hours at the shooting range until he can hit the bullseye every time, but that doesn't make him a great hunter.
No, to earn that distinction, innumerable skills must be mastered, especially the four that we have highlighted below.
In the modern age of smartphones and easy-access GPS, an innate sense of direction isn't important anymore, right? Wrong, especially for a hunter. Where a directionally-challenged person can easily get across a state highway system using Mapquest or Google highway directions, the woods are a whole other ballgame. There aren't exit or entrance signs, mile markers, stateline banners, or city limits signs out here; instead, you've got miles of trees and narrow pathways, maybe a few rivers and streams, or trail markers if you're lucky.
It's easy to get lost if you don't know the land well, and your phone GPS--if you even get service at your hunting spot--isn't going to help much. Always knowing which way is north and consistently taking stock of landmarks - these are as important to hunting success as any other skill.
2. Mechanical Knowledge
If you're the kind of person who always has to call someone to fix the broken things around your house, chances are you aren't going to do very well as a hunter. Every piece of hunting gear you own, from your rifle or your bow to your treestand, can malfunction or break and cause huge issues when it does. Being able to fix a jammed rifle, reattach a loose scope, remove a bow grip that's throwing off your aim, or tweak an unstable treestand can be the difference between a kill and miss, or sometimes, even between life and death.
To say that a mechanical understanding of your gear is important is an understatement. Using any hunting gear is like playing in a high-stakes poker match.
While some hunters believe that success is found by carrying everything they will need for a hunt into the woods with them, that isn't necessarily the case. There are some things you just can't plan for in a hunt, from unexpected weather turns to bizarre deer behavior.
As a result, a successful hunter is one who can roll with the punches and make up a new plan as they go. Being able to build a makeshift blind out of sticks and leaves can save the day if your treestand runs dry, and improvised baiting methods can often work as well as store-bought ones.
4. Time Management
Between work, family, hunting, and whatever other responsibilities you have filling up your life, hunting season can end up being a major test of one's time management skills. Spend all your time out in the woods by yourself and you will probably end up either divorced or fired. Commit entire weekends to family reunions or corporate parties and you are going to miss at least a few golden hunting opportunities. Being able to manage your time well and balance a wide variety of things at once will help you assure success in your hunting, personal, and work lives. Plus, time management while in the field cannot be understated. Use the most of your opportunities, and time your hunt so that you are where the deer are, when they are there.
You may have to make some sacrifices to attain a good balance, but as long as you and the people in your life are happy, the effort to attain that balance will be worthwhile.