Failure? Yes. But if embraced, failure can fuel a bowhunter’s soul.

After starting off the season with an opening-day pronghorn kill, I’ve since blanked on a pair of elk hunts. Do I blame myself? Of course. I don’t make excuses and don’t point fingers. Yes, being on private property on this last hunt limited my room to roam, and there were very few elk to be had, but looking back, I could’ve pushed a tad harder, asked to hunt a new area … you get the idea. I always tell myself  that if I work hard and fight to the end on each and every hunt, I will earn the chance to let one good arrow fly, and 90 percent of the time this holds true. However, that didn’t  happened on these last two hunts, so in my mind, I simply didn’t work hard enough.

I won’t fully get over these hunts. In fact, I don’t think it’s good to simply get over failure. Failure can make us stronger if we use it as fuel, and I plan to use these past two failures as fuel as I move into my favorite and longest bowhunting grind of the year — deer season. I will be chasing whitetails in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas. I’ve also drawn my favorite close-to-home-tag — a Colorado plains archery mule deer tag. If I want to be successful on each of these hunts, something has to change. I’m starting with my preparation. Not my physical preparation because I’m at the top of my game there. I do, however, need to focus on my mental pre-hunt preparation. I need to look at my stand sites again and closely monitor my trail cameras without spreading unnecessary human odor. Most of all, I need to get back to expecting that I will kill each and every time I step into the woods and not just hope that  it will happen.

I was encouraged yesterday during my lunch hour when I pulled the SD card from my Cabela’s Outfitter 12MP IR HD Trail Camera. Not only did I have some respectable Colorado whitetails on camera, but my target mule deer was also there. More to come from the deer woods. Stay tuned.