by Steve Sorensen(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, April 13, 2013.)
wonder how some guys end up with a nice buck every season? Long ago, someone
told me it’s because of the amount of time they spend in the woods. Investing
time is part of the answer. The limited amount we learn from books, videos and
magazines will speed up our learning curve and help us understand what we see
with our own eyes, but nothing substitutes for time spent in the woods.
answer we hear often is “you can’t shoot ’em while you’re sitting on the
couch!” True. Couches aren’t part of our hunting equipment – though someone
somewhere has no doubt shot a buck while sitting on a couch in a comfortable
hunting shanty overlooking a well-used trail. In our day we have a problem with
inertia – a body at rest tends to stay at rest. So we spend more time on
couches than any generation before.
It’s deer season right now – time to learn and
whether in the woods or at home.
like another answer I heard this week. I was interviewing a couple of hunters
for a magazine article, and one quoted a Bible verse from Proverbs, chapter 28,
verse 20 – “A faithful person will be richly blessed.” He went on to say,
“Faithfulness is what builds character, and character is what pays off in the
long run.” Does that apply to hunting? He thought it does, and I do, too.
quoting the Bible, I’m not going to go all religious on you, because
faithfulness is bigger than religious faith. It’s not easy to be faithful as a
hunter, because faithfulness implies a long list of things to be faithful
start with game laws. Yes, obey them. When you stay within the law, you’re
being faithful to those who made the laws, to others who obey them, and to your
personal integrity. Faithfulness means disciplining ourselves to play within
the rules – and that’s true in any sport.
includes the hard work of scouting, whether you’re hunting deer, turkeys, or
something else. If all we did as hunters was go out into the woods on opening
day and think, “This seems like a good place,” not many of us would be
need to know where the deer are bedding or the gobblers are roosting. We need to
know where the food is. We need to know what time of day the trails are being
used. We need to know the habits of the animals – what they do and why they do
it. We don’t know these things unless we do our scouting.
need to improve our skills. Hunters who are better at skills such as calling,
still-hunting, evaluating the maturity of animals – these hunters are more
successful because they practice.
means opening day of hunting season is not really the first day of hunting
season. It’s only the first day it’s legal to shoot the animal we’re after.
Long before opening day the faithful hunter is preparing for that day.
sport is the same. Players aren’t ready to walk onto the baseball field on opening
day if they haven’t been conditioning, learning, doing drills, and improving
their skills. Months of practice precede opening day. That’s why, on the first
day we take our kids to baseball practice, it’s baseball season even though the
first game is weeks away. Likewise, it’s deer season right now – time to learn
and study, whether in the woods or at home.
also means doing our best to hold up all the other ends of our lives. We work,
we sleep, we spend time with loved ones. If you can’t participate in the activities
of your kids because you’re too busy hunting, you’re what one writer calls
writer who coined that term is a hunting pastor in Nebraska named Zeke Pipher.
He has noticed that men tend to be competitive, ambitious, driven for
adventure, and sometimes out of control in a very over-controlled kind of way. Even
if everything these “hyper-hobbied” men are doing are good things, they’re not
always the right things or the best things.
He has written about it in a book called Man on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life
. I think Pipher would agree – “A faithful person will be richly
wouldn’t be a bad motto for a hunter. Take a minute to check out Zeke's book.