There is an old saying that goes something like, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” While this holds true for many situations in life, it is definitely true when it comes to hunting.
Many hunters, myself included, love the nostalgia and traditions associated with hunting. We love using guns and gear that we’ve had success with in the past, or that have been handed down to us from older friends and family. Many of us enjoy returning to spots where we sat as a kid. Oftentimes, the people who took us to those spots can no longer hunt, or are no longer with us, and we feel a connection to them when we visit those places. The traditional aspect of hunting and outdoor activities is an extremely important part of the overall experience for many of us. But sometimes, if we are looking for a different type of success, we need to be willing to adapt.
It may be hard to face, but if you have been sitting on “Uncle Bill’s Rock” every opening day for the past 20 years, and have never seen a nice buck, it may not be a great place to kill a nice buck.
If you enjoy carrying Grandpa’s 100-year-old iron sighted 30-30, but have access to hunt a great piece of property with big clear cuts, food plots, and a powerline right of way, you might want to consider using a rifle more suitable for longer shots.
If you enjoy hiking through the woods while hunting, but only seem to see white tails disappearing in the distance, you should probably consider spending a bit more time sitting, and less time moving.
If the property that you hunt has never consistently produced any good bucks, and you want to kill a good buck, you might have to consider hunting somewhere else.
If the property you are hunting holds plenty of deer most of the year, but all of your friends and family roll in the weekend before opening day, sighting in guns and riding ATVs all over through the woods, and the deer seem to disappear, you might want to consider getting everyone on board with some different rules.
If you are trying to have bigger bucks on your property, you and your hunting buddies are probably going to have to stop shooting all of the small bucks. Every 4 point that you shoot is never going to be an 8 point.
We all hunt for different reasons. Some folks simply enjoy the traditions of hunting camp. Some are looking to put meat in the freezer. Some of us are looking for a big buck. Some just enjoy being outdoors. Most of us are probably looking for some combination of those things.
I’m not suggesting that anyone stop doing the things that make hunting enjoyable for them. As long as it is safe, legal, and ethical, do whatever makes you happy. But if you have been hunting the same way over and over and are not happy with the success you are having — no matter how you are measuring that success — you may need to try something different.
“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” Sometimes you have to Change Things Up!
Wade Shambaugh has lived in Morgan County his whole life and is a lifelong outdoorsman.