PUBLISHED 8.16.21 by Eric Clark
The best part about hunting fails; they can be hilarious. For example, when you trip over a log, drop your gear from your tree stand and other shenanigans like falling into a river or a swamp sinkhole. It's one of the reasons we at Okayest Hunter leverage humor so much in our content. It's relatable and humanizing. We struggle to relate in a world where the publicized deer hunters seem to make it look easy or have gratuitous amounts of time on their hands because it's their profession. Though having a shot at and killing a 150" buck or more significant would be great, that's not the reality for most of us deer hunters.
Aside from humor and relatability, we focus on failure because it's not a focus anywhere else. The professional whitetail hunters forget to mention that their journey to killing 150" plus bucks is the failure that taught them the most challenging lessons. The best thing about failure is that it creates the most memorable and teachable moments.
Here are a few things we've learned the hard way, but we assure you we (hopefully) won't be making these mistakes again any time soon:
- Don't wear cotton as your first layer of clothing
- Use thin wool socks and bring along an extra pair
- Attach your bow release to your bow when you put it in your case
- Get a headlamp
- Study, study, study your maps
- Bring a compass. You're likely to lose cell reception for that fancy smartphone to work properly
- Never bring one of those loud ass nature valley wrappers into the woods with you
- Don't put your chocolate snack near your hand warmers
- Bring hand warmers
- The list goes on
Here's a concept to consider when trying to improve as a deer hunter we garnered from a multi-title mixed martial arts champion named Frank Shamrock, who uses a plus, minus, and equal system to train his fighters. Here's how we can attempt to apply this to deer hunting.
Find or identify someone that's a better hunter than you. As an Okayest Hunter, this shouldn't be too difficult. Hopefully, they'll match the style your after. For example, if you're a public land mobile hunter, look to see who has some notoriety in that space, or if you're looking to do better from the ground, perhaps Jarred Scheffler would be a great exemplar. The key here is to look to someone further along in their journey than you are and study how they're doing it.
In this instance, as an Okayest Hunter, you may think you have little to offer to someone as you're only okay at hunting. However, there's always something we can offer to teach others. Maybe it's just as simple as saying, "Hey, don't buy new gear if you're just starting, try getting some hand-me-downs, or go to rummage sales or Facebook Marketplace, etc." To become better at something and learn, it is also helpful to teach what you know, even if your knowledge base is limited. It helps to lock in that knowledge that you know and helps build a robust framework.
Find someone that's on your level as a deer hunter. By doing this, you'll help affirm that what you've been learning from the "plus" and teaching the "minus" is working. In the MMA example, this helped spar and built confidence. If the fighter were only to fight their plus, they'd get their ass kicked 100% of the time and would never feel confident. The opposite is true for the minus, insofar as they'd think they're way better than they are and would have created a false reality.
The main takeaway in all of this as an Okayest Hunter is to remain humble, enjoy the chase, the process of becoming an okayerer hunter, and having fun! If you ever stop learning or having fun as a deer hunter, you might as well hang up your bow and find a new hobby.