Realistic Goals And Expectations

It’s here, the day I have been awaiting for weeks is finally here! No, not the opener of bow season, but the day I get to check my trail cameras. Making it over two weeks without checking my cameras shows evidence of self control, but now I’m like that kid in a candy store. I race out to my trail cameras, swap memory cards, and I’m headed home to check the pictures. I blaze through the first couple of pictures knowing they’re just of me walking away from the previous swap,then it’s doe, doe, buck…. Nice Buck!


Every year I end up getting a nice buck or two on my cameras. Once this happens I automatically start planning on what needs to happen in order to shoot one of these big boys. This comes with a substantial lack of focus at work, lots of daydreaming, and non stop strategizing on how I can go about harvesting one of the big bucks on camera. I burn vacation days and sacrifice time with my wife, although she has started bowhunting, in pursuit of this worthy opponent.

Then the season ends with nothing more than a sighting of a nice buck or a blown opportunity. If you’ve been in this place come season’s end, you know the overwhelming feeling of disappointment accompanied by unfilled tags. I’ve been hunting for less than a decade and don’t have a lot of deer under my belt yet. Thanks to social media and hunting shows, it’s been easy to jump on the big buck bandwagon and pass on smaller bucks. I struggle to remind myself success is not measured by the inches of a whitetails rack, but mores o on what goals you set for yourself and what you did to achieve them. It took me a season of not only eating my tags in two states, but also not seeing a lot of deer during bow season.

It’s easy to lose focus on what hunting should truly be all about. Most of us don’t have our own hunting show, sponsors to plug for, and no real pressure to kill big bucks. Let me say that again, we don’t have real pressure to kill big bucks. We put that pressure on ourselves. If we aren’t careful we can end up deerless and wondering where the season went. As the saying goes, don’t pass on a buck today that you would shoot the last day of the season. Now some hunters are out there for a certain age and size, I’m pretty sure this read isn’t intended for them. Those hunters who pass on 150s because anything smaller than 180 isn’t a shooter, more power to ya! Maybe I’ll be there someday, but with MI as my home state, I highly doubt it.

Set yourself up for success with realistic expectations. It’s great to hunt for big mature bucks, just don’t hang the success of an entire season on whether or not you harvest one. Create a few obtainable goals that you can achieve throughout the season that don’t rely on uncontrollable variables. Remember, if you don’t have the big bucks on your property that you’re holding out for, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Set goals for yourself that you believe will help you harvest that big buck. Some of my goals this year include only hunting cold fronts during October, being as stealthy as possible during entry/exit, and practicing more with my bow during the season. These are great goals you can easily achieve too. At the end of the season, big buck down or not, you’ll be able to look back at the goals you met and know you did everything you could possibly do to harvest a mature buck.

Share This:

Share My PageShare on Facebook
Email this to someone



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.