Posted on June 17, 2011
If you want to put success within reach this season, be sure to follow this time-tested formula.
There’s a formula that goes along with successful bowhunting. You may or may not be familiar with it, but it goes something like this: Skill + Time + Location = Success. Year after year, those who bag nice bucks or bulls will typically meet the necessary requirements in each of these categories. Let’s look at them.
Skill: This can mean a lot of things, but skill that is worthy in the field will feed your confidence. In other words, you must know your equipment well, shoot it well under a variety of conditions and have nearly no doubts in your abilities when crunch time arrives. If you are truly skilled, you don’t just think about the moment of truth, you thirst for it.
This means lots and lots of realistic-hunting practice during the off season. This also means being in good physical shape if you’re hunting rough, mountainous country or hilly areas where treestands could be a long way off.
Skill also applies to a positive attitude. If you don’t keep your chin up, you’ll come up short with the endurance you’ll need to stay focused and on alert all day, every day, whether you’re still-hunting, stalking or on stand.
Time: For most hunters, this is the toughest variable to conquer, and what it really means is “enough time.” To help combat this, don’t make the mistake of planning more hunts this fall; do plan fewer, longer trips. One long trip is often better than several short ones to the same location. Hunting is hunting, not shopping.
Review your past hunts. How many close encounters did you have before you got a shot? Probably a lot. Factor in worst-case scenarios when planning out your season: warm weather, lots of hunting pressure, little rutting action and so on. By doing this, you’ll set yourself up for success and not failure.
Location: If you goal is to shoot any size buck, naturally you’ll want to hunt where there are lots of them. If you want to shoot a monster-sized trophy, you need to go where there are big-buck genetics. It’s that simple.
A good location sometimes comes down to more money; there’s no denying that. But not all landowners “sell out” to high-price leasing. Ask, ask, ask, and see what happens. Some landowners grow tired of paid-hunting practices and often revert back to the ol’-fashioned way of doing things—letting regular bowhunters hunt for free.
For Western hunters, public land prevails, and finding those secrets nooks comes down to plenty of “field time” and glassing, so plan ahead and scout well before the season and a few days prior.
Also, always have a few backup hunting spots in mind, because even the very best spots can go sour—again, due to worst-case scenarios.