1. Respect for Nature
There is nothing like arriving to your tree stand in the dark and waiting for the sun to rise. You develop a love and respect for nature that will grab a hold of you and keep you coming back over and over again. Cherish the beauty of all of God’s creations and learn to appreciate those smells, sights and sounds. Begin to understand – in a very real way – the circle of life, the cycle of the seasons, and how fragile, yet substantial, our ecosystems are.
Patience, patience and, oh yeah, more patience! It’s easy to let your mind wander after hours of sitting in a deer blind. There’s always a nice comfy couch and hot cup of coffee waiting for you back at home. However, in the deer woods, patience is rewarded with fridges full of venison steaks and trophy racks mounted on the wall.
It takes a special breed of person to be willing to wake up before the other 94% of Americans that don’t hunt to go sit out in the cold, dark woods. Nobody ever said hunting was easy though, and it’s entirely up to you to develop that drive and dedication to push yourself out of bed and into the woods.
Preparation is key to bowhunting. It’s early in the morning and easy to forget something, but it takes only one time forgetting that warm hat or pair of gloves that makes you curse yourself all morning for not being better prepared. You soon learn to lay out all the gear you need AHEAD of time and double check everything before you leave in the morning.
5. Story TellingThere’s just something about every bowhunter that makes them great storytellers. Bowhunters are fully engaged and can break down every little detail of their hunts, even down to the wind direction on the very day that trophy over his or her fireplace fell.
6. HumblingIf you’ve ever been bowhunting, you come to realize pretty quickly that nothing goes as planned. It can be the perfect morning – you know what I’m talking about – a slight breeze, a little frost covering the ground, you get right to your stand an hour before daylight, and you end up counting squirrels all morning. Nevertheless, bowhunters can find a positive in everything; being able to experience such a beautiful morning first-hand is truly remarkable. Bowhunters also learn how to swallow a missed shot, a lost trail or being winded by a monster buck before taking aim; in these circumstances, bowhunters must learn from their mistakes, reassess their strategy and alter their approach in order to be successful and outsmart that four-legged critter.
7. Decision MakingEvery bowhunter knows what it means to learn from your mistakes. Any little decision made in a tree stand can be the difference between walking out empty handed or loading a deer on your tailgate. Bowhunters often learn the hard way to make careful decisions. Even shifting to reach an itch can ruin everything you worked for in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, a bowhunter will be faced with a very challenging decision about taking a shot or letting one walk – which although extremely difficult, is critical to deer hunting.
8. Observance of Your SurroundingsBeing a bowhunter means that you must be fully aware of everything that is going on around you at all times. It’s the key skill that all hunters must possess. Deer are sneaky little creatures – silence is their best defensive mechanism – and no matter how many times you check behind you, they can still startle you at any moment. Bowhunting teaches hunters to expect the unexpected and roll with what is happening in front of you.
9. FocusWhen you tie all of these things together into one, you’re hunting my friend. It’s one thing to read about, it’s a whole different scenario when Mr. Buck shows up and decides to test you. Focus in on what you’re doing and what has to be done to accomplish your goal, and watch your freezer fill up.
10. CookThat’s right, we know our way around the kitchen. Hunters take just as much pride in the way their venison tastes as they do in tracking down their own dinner. Give us a nice backstrap steak and we will throw down with the best of them.
What do you think of the list?
How has bowhunting made you a better person?
If you’re ready to try bowhunting in Africa and be an even better person, then contact Dani Anderson at 208.322.5902 or [email protected] to book your trip Bushmen Safaris.
Portions of this article originally appeared on the Outdoor Hub website.