Rain has hit my little corner of Colorado hard over the last three days, which brought the once red-hot pronghorn waterhole action to a screeching halt. It’s frustrating, especially when you have some good friends trying to arrow their first speed goat over water, but one thing you must try and do – no matter the species and no matter the season – is not stress over the weather. It’s out of your control. My best piece of advice: Focus only on the things you can control.
I gotta give Joni and Nicky credit, they stayed the course and kept returning to the blinds. Both had some nice goats give them distant drive-byes, but none committed to water.
During our three days of spotting and stalking Scott and I found plenty of prairie puddles – most were littered with pronghorn tracks. TIP: I’ve preached for years that you must always be willing to adjust when Mother Nature gets temperamental, and this hunt just put an exclamation point on my weather sermons. Am I blaming Nicky and Joni for staying dedicated to water? Not at all. In fact, it was what I asked them to do. Both had limited themselves to 40 yard shots, and both are extremely ethical bowhunters. Water, because of their limited shooting distance, was the best option. I applaud them both for not getting frustrated and letting arrows fly at some of the 50- and 60-yard opportunities the drive-by bucks presented them. What I’m pointing out is the fact that if your equipment and shooting abilities allow you to change tactics when the weather is working against the tactic you’re currently using, try and make an adjustment.
Scott on the hand could shoot a tad further and we hit the prairies crawling. For three days we slithered across the damp ground – getting close on multiple occasions – at one point we had does less than 30 yards from us. It was awesome! It’s what I love about spot-and-stalk hunting – getting in close and giving yourself a chance and letting the cards fall where they may. We had a Booner at 80 yards, which was a heartbreaker, but we didn’t quit. We kept pressing…kept grinding. As is often the case, dedication lead to an opportunity, and on the last morning of the hunt Scott anchored a great buck. We’d crawled miles not yards, were beat down physically and mentally, but we got the job done.
Remember not to let weather control your hunt. You can’t control what the barometer does, but you can control how you react to it. Be flexible. Be willing to change. Be a successful bowhunter.