The Value in Post-Season Reflection
By Will Bowen | PUBLISHED January 16th, 2023
I’ve hunted for a couple decades now and when I look back on each year individually, I struggle to find any two that are exactly the same. Every hunting season tells its own story, everybody knows this. But the things you learn from previous seasons can always come in handy in the future. How do we make sure that we learn from each and every hunting season? You learn by stepping back and taking an analytical look at how it all went down. I call this post-season reflection.
This process will look different for everybody. An Okayest Hunter that expects very little from their hunting experience other than to just have fun will probably not utilize a deep post-season reflection. But someone who is a hardcore, goal-oriented hunter might decide to dive ocean deep. Either is perfectly fine. Reflection is for your benefit and not anybody else’s. If you are interested in a basic outline for your reflection follow along.
Did I Accomplish my Season’s Goals?
This is a valuable first question to ask because it sets the tone for the next steps. As you could imagine your course of action would be vastly different if you accomplished nearly all of your goals as opposed to none of them. There is more work to be done if you have failed miserably. Whether your goals are specific or broad, answer this question with a solid yes or no. If you say “no” you can move onto the next steps.
This is also a good time to assess your goals as well. Were they good goals and were they reasonable? If you set outlandish goals of course you aren’t going to accomplish them. Check the integrity of your goals and make sure they aren’t confidence busters. Goals are made to be achieved.
What Could I have Done Better?
Now is the time to get specific. Break your performance down into individual aspects and determine what you could have done better. For example, one area I personally can improve on is scouting new areas during the season. I’m usually good in this area but took a very lax approach this season. To put it mildly I paid the price.
Identifying your missteps and Okayest Moments is the first step at correcting them. All it takes is a little forethought and some work. Honestly one of the biggest hindrances to success is laziness. I know I have fallen into this before and trust me, it is the quickest way to end up eating a bowl of tag soup.
What Did I Do Well?
Reflection is not all about beating yourself up over poor performance. Analyzing what you did well is also beneficial and helps make the point to not slack in those areas in the future. Things like “did I shoot my bow consistently through the season” or “did I always plan my hunts based on wind direction” are great areas to fill the hole for lost success. Maybe your season didn’t pan out like you wanted it to but don’t forget about what you did well.
Knowing the areas you held strong in should only serve as confidence boosters for next season. You are tight in these areas, don’t let them falter. Remember reflection is not all about beating yourself up, it’s about building yourself up as well.
How Am I Going To Be Better Next Year?
You’ve assessed your goals, you know what areas you failed in, and you know where you’ve succeeded, now where do you go from here. First off, now would be a good time to set some new goals, while your thoughts are still fresh. Remember a good goal is to be reasonable and attainable.
Secondly, develop an action plan to address your lackluster areas. Weren’t in good enough shape for the hunting season? Start a workout plan. Didn’t scout enough or scout appropriately? Set a post-season and pre-season scouting schedule. Figure out your problems and address them. That's how you ensure better outcomes next year.
Finally, don’t forget the areas you excelled in. Maintain good practices and don’t leave them behind. We have a tendency to forget the old while working on the new. Don’t do that. Work hard and stay consistent. Before you know it you’ll become a better, more well-rounded hunter.