What did you learn?
By Will Bowen | PUBLISHED May 23rd, 2023
As my turkey season comes to a close, I’ve had time to sit and reflect. It’s been a unique season to say the least. Due to prior engagements and some much welcomed circumstances my days in the turkey woods were more limited this year than in past seasons. But thanks to a little bit of carryover knowledge from last year and some new found persistence I was able to have my best season yet.
In hunting, I’ve learned that while it seems success is always accompanied by a little luck, my most recent and most consistent success comes from learning and adjusting. To experience consistent success as a hunter, everything you do must be intentional, because without proper intention you miss out on opportunities to learn.
Everybody learns the hard lessons like being winded by deer and being picked off by a big Tom when moving too much, but very few hunters are intentional enough to learn from every hunt. I promise there is a lesson to learn every time. Are they all game changers? Definitely not, but there is a takeaway that can come in handy later.
In order to learn and improve, you have to ask yourself useful questions. Questioning and analyzing why something didn’t work in your favor is a good place to start, but make sure you are specific. “Why didn’t the deer move today like yesterday?” It could be a number of things like a warm front, poor barometric conditions, or the presence of weekend hunting pressure. You won’t know these answers if you don’t first ask the question.
The same question and analysis method is also useful for when you do experience success. “Why did the buck come down the trail I picked?” or “what made that Tom commit to my calling setup?” In success and celebration, we often forget to make an effort at learning. I mean I do understand that learning from failure often leads to future success, but I want to make success happen as often as possible. Good lessons can be learned from successful hunts as well.
I often use my dad and myself as a great comparison for this idea. He has hunted longer than I have and has tasted success at a level that I can only dream to catch. He still uses what he’s learned in the past to make decisions and often finds success at a higher rate than I do. In my eyes he’s uber-experienced, he’s a savant. But in his mind, he’s just an old guy that screwed up a lot in his younger days and has learned from it.
If you are a hunter, failure and success will both be familiar (often more heavy quantities of failure) but failure is not a bad thing. Failure can make you hardened and prepare you for future success. Ask questions, make an attempt to learn from every hunting situation, and be intentional with everything you do. Hunting is learning. What did you learn?