Enjoying the Hunt – Stay Focused On What Matters

Enjoying the Hunt – Stay Focused On What Matters

DSCN0619I’m fortunate to have quite a few people that I share the woods with often. From New York to Nebraska I’ve been very blessed to have hunted wild turkey, Canada geese, whitetail deer, and many other species. My true passion for the outdoors stems from hunting whitetails in eastern NC and when the weather begins to cool off it’s difficult for me to focus on anything else.

I am also a firm believer in quality deer management and know without a doubt there’s nothing as beneficial to whitetails, other game, and non-game species as QDM. In fact, it’s easy to get lost in the management aspects of hunting. What deer should we let walk, how many does should we harvest, checking trail cameras, etc. Sadly, it’s incredibly easy to drain the fun out of a hunt.

In 2016 I was hunting a very cool morning in late October with a great friend of mine. He resides in New York and rarely gets to hunt whitetails in NC. We had taken a few days off and we were hunting in Halifax County, NC. On the first morning he tagged a fantastic mature buck that I estimated to easily score in the 120’s. It was by far his best buck to date. The circumstances that led up to the shot and recovery were nothing less than amazing. In real estate terms, I believe we took out a 30 year mortgage of good luck and used it all in one morning. If we don’t shoot another buck for the next 29 years I can’t say I’d be surprised! The buck is currently at the taxidermist and the story of that hunt will be a favorite of mine for years to come. While the circumstances that led to the buck’s demise were incredible, it was enhanced by the fact a great friend of mine harvested the buck and I was there with him when it happened.

The same applies when I was hunkered down in a duck blind last December overlooking the Platt River in Nebraska. The first morning was sunny and 25 below. I loved every minute of it. Bag limits may or may not have been met, I cannot recall, but I can recall every second that led up to shooting my first mallard. Then a pintail…but especially the goose. The snow covered river banks, the way the goose slowly descended down to the decoys, the shot, and the retrieve by Wendy, a first class waterfowl dog. Every minute of it seems to be remembered in slow motion.

Your preferred game species may or may not be in season at this point, but it is likely it will soon arrive. It’s easy, too easy, to get caught up in worrying about shooting your limit, if a particular deer is old enough, etc. I would encourage you all to be thankful and enjoy yourself this fall. We never know when our time will come to an end, and there are never enough days spent in the field. This year, focus on what matters most.

Andrew Walters