I woke up this morning to go hunting. I was excited and nervous. Today was going to be a good day. It was beautiful outside. A layer of snow covered the ground. Snow-laden branches drooped with excess snow. Tiny icicles glittered in the sunrise. Snow came tumbling down as the wind whipped through the trees. Today was a damn good day. And then… nothing happened. Today, like every other day I’ve gone hunting in my life, was a bust. I got nothing, zero, zilch, nada.
Well actually I didn’t see nothing. When my dad and I pulled up to our gate, we saw the chopped carcass of a deer someone else shot and left on our property. It was a doe, and you could see where someone had cut off the hind quarters and the backstrap, leaving the front half and guts behind for the dogs. I’d include a picture, but its pretty graphic.
You see, I’m what you call “The One,” and no, its not like Neo from The Matrix. I’m the “The One” that all the bad stuff happens to. I have a chronic case of bad luck.
So this is me reaching out to my compadres, the other unlucky ones who just can’t seem to get it right. Here are some tips to make the endless waiting not so bad after all:
1. Sit back and relax. After all, you’re going to be there a while waiting for nothing anyways. I find this is best done with several layers of clothing and waterproof gear, keeping you dry and warm. I also suggest peeing and eating before you venture outdoors.
2. Practice listening. The biggest problem with never seeing anything is inexperience. You wouldn’t know what a deer even was if it weren’t for roadkill. If you ever go out with your buddies, make sure you know your nature sounds beforehand. If you swear up and down a big buck is coming, but all that comes around the corner is a scampering squirrel, you’re going to be really embarrassed. I suggest you take some time out of season to go listen to nature and becomes accustomed to the differences between deer, rabbit, squirrel, rain, etc. This can probably be done on the internet, but why not have an excuse to go enjoy the outdoors.
3. Learn the difference between a maple and oak. Actually, learn a lot of dendrology. (Virginia Tech is a great resource!) And ornithology too. I find that the two things that never fail to be in the woods are trees and birds. So why not identify a few while you’re waiting for nothing? The birds go by pretty quick, but the trees aren’t really going anywhere. Test yourself by identifying them from the stand then going back later for a close-up to see if you were correct.
4. Place your bets. Make bets with your hunting buddies about how many gun shots you’ll hear that day. This can be a certain number or even just an under-over bet. For example, I heard three shots today. Whether for money or just bragging rights (my kind of betting), counting the shots will give you something to do when not getting a trophy of your own.
5. Three words: 5 HOUR ENERGY. I know that hunting forces you to get up early, and the eyelids often start to droop, particularly when its boring. I use 5 Hour Energy so that I know if I’m unlucky its not because I was snoring.
Hope these tips help make your next wasted trip a little more enjoyable, and I’ll see you next time for another installment of MotherNaturesPen!