I read an article years ago about a well-known outdoors author on his first successful Stone sheep hunt. He and his buddy had committed to getting a sheep. By the time they did, they had been in the mountains for 30 days and were living on ground squirrels.
Last year, my son got into fly fishing. I’m an indifferent fisherman at best. We went bass fishing down on the John Day River and the whole way down he was talking smack about how he was going to outfish me. When we got there, I let him choose the best looking water, and I went down to some slack water below. On my second cast, I caught a 3-pound bass.
We are all looking for that secret to being a more successful fisherperson or hunter. What is it that makes some better than others? After exhaustive research, I have discovered that the secret to being successful is to be out there doing. Big bulls are killed and giant fish are caught because someone was out there looking for them. It is true that hunting success in Oregon is not great. Most elk hunts hover around 12-20 percent success and great deer hunts hit 30 percent. That being said, the chances of success are absolutely zero if you are sitting at home lounging on the couch.
The rationalizations for not going out today are legion. I’m too tired. We hiked all over and didn’t see anything yesterday. The conditions aren’t right, and on and on. If you are like me, you develop a great game plan and hit it hard the first couple of days. If you’re not successful, you start sleeping in a little later each day. Maybe take a day off. Keeping at it day after day, cast after cast is hard to do and requires some mental toughness. Yes, there is an element of luck involved. However, remember the wise man who said, “I am a great believer in luck. I have found that the harder I work, the luckier I am.”
For most of us, the days we can get out in the field are limited by our commitments to work and family. When you have the time, make the most of it and get out there. Shake it up and try a new area. If you have walked your legs off to the ankles, find a spot to sit and glass. Nope, you won’t get lucky every time, but your luck will improve.
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