Defining Success

Joe Schuster | December 1, 2023

Resilience. The ability to come back and keep trying despite achieving success. Can you think about a time in your life when you failed at something but kept trying? Maybe at school, sports or something that you were just trying to learn. Perhaps it was even a hunting situation, and possibly this even happened to you this season.

Well, success can be defined in a lot of different ways, and hunting sure falls in to that category. To some, that success may be to shoot a trophy buck. To others, it could be to take a legal buck or doe. Either one will provide meat for supper. However, I’ve tried to instill a different level for rating success in the field. First, did you have fun? You might have seen a bobcat or fox prowling around. Maybe it was a red-tailed hawk swirling in the sky searching for a meal or an owl spinning its head seemingly half way around from its perch. Witnessing a beautiful sunrise or sunset or seeing the moon rise or set is always a successful hunt for me. Something as simple as watching a leaf fall and making its way down to its final destination can be so soothing.

I’d think that if you shot a game animal every time that you went out, it would get dull after awhile. It seems to me the excitement would be lost if you expected to harvest something every single time.

The second point to consider in success is whether you were safe. Did you practice firearm safety? Did you enter and exit your stand property?

If you achieved the first two of those, I’d say you were certainly successful. However, the last point of success is making a good, clean legal kill.

Among all that is also the ability to overcome a missed opportunity, whether that is a poor shot, an unrecovered deer or an arrow or bullet that struck a tree instead of the intended target. If you hunt long enough and often enough, you’ll probably miss a few. Well, I sure have. But consider those who go hunt after hunt and wait for a long time for a chance for a shot. Well, that goes back to achieving two of the three success goals I mentioned.

So have fun, be safe and good luck!  By the way, I missed with a low arrow shot—a clean miss—yesterday but still enjoyed the hunt! I managed the first two points I mentioned so my hunt was a success.

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