After six long, hard hours of running my guts out over hills, canyons, and sage brush flats, never stopping to rest, except to drink a little water and eat a candy bar… there they were, big as life itself, and still going strong in the sand. “Mr. Big’s tracks!!” They were fifteen feet apart and showing no signs of slowing down. As I wiped the sweat off my face and looked hard and long at those tracks heading down the hill into another hell hole, the sun seemed hotter than ever. My mind made a quick calculation, only four hours of daylight left, and we were five miles from the truck. There was a full moon tonight, I’m here, the hunt is on, he’s been here not too long ago, he went that way, the day is still young, so there is still lots of time left to bag this big old muley buck! As I looked at my two friends with me I could tell by the tone of their voices and they way they were talking that this hunt was over for them.
“Holy fetch Wintch, don’t you ever give up? Enough is enough. Can’t you see we are never going to catch up with that big buck? We have been going since daylight. If we were going to kill him, we would have done so by now. Let’s head back. We’ve got a death march as it is to make it back to the truck by dark. Besides, my food and water are all but gone.”
As I got up out of a sagebrush bush in full camouflage, I was starting to get a bad headache. I know I’ll need some Excedrin when I get back into the truck, but then after all, I had been blowing on my varmint call for two days and my eyes were strained from looking into the bright snow. I had been straining to see up every draw, hillside, flat, tree and bush for a coyote sneaking into my call. They tend to do that to me every time, but I thought to myself, if we hurry back to the truck, (as I started to run), we can make two more good calls before the sun goes down.
“Holy fetch Wintch, we have been calling for two days straight. We’ve made 26 stands, never even stopping to eat dinner both days. We haven’t even seen one coyote yet…nothing! Let’s get our butts for home, it’s just not going to happen this time!”
I remember how excited we all were to be on our way for this three-day bird hunt. We had all been looking forward to it for the last three months. Each of us had called one another time and time again to make sure everything was in order and we were not forgetting anything. As we loaded the truck with all our guns, gear, and bought all the good food we would eat for the next three days, everyone was in the best of spirits. We all laughed, told jokes, and guessed at how many birds we would see and get. As we arrived at my old camping spot and set up camp for the night, expectations were high, and the night meal was as good as it ever was. Wow! It doesn’t get any better than this. But, that was two days ago. My old trusty shotgun had not made even one sound. I still had all ten boxes of the bullets I had brought, and my legs were telling me they had walked way more than they were used to walking. We hadn’t even seen one bird for two days of hard hunting! “We need to change places. Let’s go over to another mountain range or two, and see what’s over there. We still have all day tomorrow to hunt, besides, I like to explore and find new spots and places to hunt.”
“Holy fetch Wintch, I’ve walked my butt of for two days. This gun is getting heavy to pack. I might even sell it when I get home. I thought you said we would see birds everywhere. I should have stayed home and worked. If I’d known this hunt was going to be such a pain in the butt, I would have never spent the time or money to even come!!”
Just three little stories of hunting, but I think all of us hunters can relate. If you can’t, well, you, my friend, haven’t been hunting very much. I can think of time and time again, hunt after hunt, that I’ve heard this kind of talk. The two words that I’m trying to point out here are “optimistic” and “pessimistic”. If you think I’ve killed all my many trophies by being pessimistic, well, think again. If you have any pessimistic blood in your veins, you, my friend, will make a darn poor hunter.
All hunting time is good time. You must put in the “time and hard knocks” to get the knowledge needed for success. You must be optimistic to be the best hunter and man or woman you can become. You must be optimistic in every hunting situation to become as successful on every hunt as you can be. As a new year of hunting and life is unfolding, and your hopes are high once again, and if you want to have a better hunt in every way, and if you want to climb a notch or two higher in success, try being optimistic this time.